I have been a recent beta, but as luck will have it I saw some very interesting things happen during the time. And here are some of them.
#1 Posts are meant to be read
Although it becomes easier for me to narrow down requests if I ignore those who simply don’t bother looking through my post, requirements and guidelines. If I’m feeling nice I’ll ask for the premise, and what your book is about.
Betas won’t write them for no reason, I do it because it is just much much easier for me to pick a book instead of going back and forth, and ironically helped to keep my requests from piling up if I ignore those who don’t read my posts other than the title saying I’m available. And my email which I listed there.
#2 Don’t give me a label
I have had people just give me YA fantasy, YA Historical Fiction, etc. These are not going to draw my attention and likely have me ignore your request. If you send it through email, they don’t have a space constraint, use the space. Same for messages on social media platforms. What does draw my attention? A premise, if I’m interested I’ll reply to you because of the premise and how it sets the book apart from the rest.
#3 Requirements are there for a reason
I prefer chapter by chapter as those tend to be much easier for me to continue and constantly keep the author updated. And not become a case where the author seems to have forgotten that I was a beta, which was what happened the original time. I picked up four requests, of which only one kept in contact with me and sent me a few chapters every time I was done with it.
It was the one who sent me a few chapters every time. The rest all stopped even when I was working hard on them, and never really bothered to check the state of things. I appreciate being talked to, and to be held accountable. It’s not just an effort on my side. It also allows the author to know what they are doing wrong as it is.
I want sample chapters so I can choose to drop a book if I feel that I’m not the audience. That is the truth for a lot of works now. Beta reading is hard, you have to analyse and critique a piece of work. Give encouragement, be objective and not to mention read it.
If I don’t like it, it is going to be hell for me. Which is why I want the said above-mentioned option. Drop it when I’m certain that the book isn’t to my taste.
This are largely my experience as a beta within a short time frame.