Desperately seeking betas

Desperately seeking betas who read more than five words per minute, know how to keep their red pen marks to a minimum, and are willing to laugh at my jokes (even if I have to point out where they are).
Who would write a want ad like that, right? In all seriousness, though, I'm at that point with Flora where I'm desperate to get a few people's opinions. Many of you writers out there are blessed with a few good betas, and my question is, how? How did you find them?

Now, before everyone raises their hands and blurts out the words critique group, I'd like to point out that, for many reasons, one being my fear of driving in large towns, going anywhere not where I live is pretty much out of the question. I read about writers singing the praises of their betas all the time, and can tell many of them have met over the internet.

So please, for my sanity, share the details if you feel even the least bit of pity. I'd love to learn how you out there met your beta peeps.

12 comments:

Summer said...

My crit group is all online, and they're really spectacular. We came together when one of the members advertised that she was interested, and then she hand-picked us from the "applicants."

Best of luck finding some!

Kat Zhang said...

Try this page--it's like a "wanted" billboard for critique partners :) It's had a great match rate so far.

http://letthewordsflow.wordpress.com/cps/

Lindsey C said...

Some of my betas are from my MFA program (we've built up rapport over the years) and some are peeps I've met over the internet (via twitter & the Absolute Write forums).

I find that there are people who'll say they're looking for betas and then I'll offer to read for them so that when I'm ready, they can return the favor. And so on and so forth.

Natalie Murphy said...

All of my betas were blog friends or Twitter friends before they became my betas =) I just asked people I trusted and it's worked out well.

Robyn Bavati said...

So sorry I can't help. I've also had trouble finding the right group, and I've made terrible mistakes in the past by thinking the 'majority' opinion must be the right one, when of course that's not the case. Try to find just one or two people whose opinions you value, but don't forget that you have the last word. Trust yourself.

James Garcia Jr said...

Hello, Jessica, from another Central California blogger/writer. I'm in Kingsburg. We know a few of the same people across the twitterverse. When I saw where you were from, I just couldn't resist in saying hello. I think I'll follow along, if that is alright with you? ;)
-James.
http://jamesgarciajr.blogspot.com/

coffeelvnmom said...

First off, thanks so much for everyone's input! I'm going to keep plugging along then, and I do know quite a few people on twitter... just wasn't sure how to cross that line from "hey" to "hey do you wanna...";)

My main concern is receiving reactions to the story itself. If a few people point out the same things don't make sense, for example, it may be time to revise again.

And James, hello! Welcome! I love meeting people from around here!

Lila Swann said...

Hi, Jessica! My tidbit of advice on this front is to find people who read the type of book that you're writing/editing. Sure, your writer friends might know a lot about the craft and plotting and everything, but ultimately, you have to make sure that your intended audience likes your book. And who better to tell you that than someone who reads your genre?

Kate Hart said...

I found my entire crit group on the Absolute Write forums.

Also, I love your owl background! :)

coffeelvnmom said...

Thanks Lila! I agree, they definitely need to read YA.

And Kate, I've been meaning to get over there. Thanks for the reminder!

Eric W. Trant said...

My betas are either people who ask directly to read my stuff, or people who I've read and they're returning the favor.

Either way, it's usually unsolicited. In other words, I'll approach writers I want to read, and vice versa.

That said... I have a chapter by my bed that needs beta-ing...

- Eric

Rowenna said...

First, love your username--coffeelvn :)

I found all but one of my crit partners/betas by connecting via blogs. That one is a real-life friend--and she's not a writer. Just a reader, but a wonderful, insightful, emotinally intelligent reader! I guess a reminder that your betas don't need to be writers--trusted friends who love to read and can be honest with what works from a reader's perspective can be just as or more valuable (unlike writers, they don't have the instict to fix what's wrong--just to point out that something isn't working, leaving you free to revise and reconstruct freely!).