Beta readers, like writers, each have their own strengths and weaknesses. As writers, it can be hard to pick betas who best suit what we're looking for in critique. I personally am not picky about my betas because I appreciate and value any critique, but I have heard of writers (and writer's) groups who do. To each his own, and I can see the reasoning, but I know that I can't pick the people who would buy my (eventual) book, so why bother trying to make sure only certain types of people can read it beforehand?
Thinking about betas has recently made ma analyze what kinds of betas are out there, and what kind of beta I am.
I think there are these major categories of beta reader:
The commercial reader:
This reader reads your book as if they picked it up in the bookstore. They read quickly, and tend to offer over-arching critique instead of specific examples.
The helpful reader:
This reader gives lots of notes, and has lots to say overall. They may fix typos or offer story critique, but either way you're sure to have lots to sift through.
This type of reader goes through your manuscript meticulously, giving as near to line edits and continuity critiques as possible.
Of course, readers can be in more than one of these categories, and I've probably missed some. But my overall point is that different readers have different styles, and it's up to you to decide which type you want to be, and which tye you'd rather use as a writer, if any, though I will again say that there is value in all of them.
I personally tend to be a copyeditor toward the beginning of the story, drifting toward helpful and then commercial through the majority of the MS (especially if the story is compelling and interesting). Usually, this tends to come across as "I loved this" and not much else. It's certainly true! I do love, love, love the stories I've read. But I tend to get caught up in the experience over the writing and I know some high-quality writers, so there isn't much to make notes on, a lot ofe time. Still, I am trying to work on staying careful longer, and offer more helpful notes.
What kind of beta are you? Do you have any suggestions for types of betas I missed?
(Once again posted from my phone so apologies for any typos!)