For the uninitiated, beta readers are the first readers of a manuscript, long before it’s published, often in a raw format that may have errors and such since the point is to check on the story. Editing comes later. Betas are invaluable, and are also difficult to find. This is the biggest thing holding me back. Every writer believes in their work, making the writer of a piece the worst person to judge a story. I know what I mean to convey. I know how I see it in my head, and so may use less description since I can see it. Did you get what I tried to convey? Can you see what I see? Does this scene work for you the same as it works for me, or is it too fast or too slow or boring? These are some of the things betas can tell writers before writers put in a lot of time editing. Who wants to spent days editing a chapter that doesn’t work and has to get cut later?
Finding betas is hard. It’s a hundred times harder than coming up with story ideas (I have a folder with several more books outlined). What is a writer to do aside from asking people that writer knows, when the people that writer knows are almost all not into that genre, or at least not openly into it? Go send random messages to people on the internet and hope for the best? I don’t know.
If anyone out there may be interested, let me know. And let me see if I can sum this up in a few short-ish paragraphs:
Abandoned early in childhood, Lavinia Williams was raised by her best friend’s wealthy family. Patriarch Franklin Fillmore keeps her, his three children, and even his wife living in constant terror as he uses their love for each other to manipulate them. When his secret son, Byron, is sent to live with them following his own mother’s violent death, an already unstable household begins to implode.
Years later, when a blizzard forces her to take refuge in Byron’s home, she doesn’t expect more than civility from the man who treated her so ill as they grew up. Instead, they form an unlikely friendship built on shared pains of growing up abandoned, and they find an unexpected ease and enjoyment in each other’s company. Just when she thinks perhaps there could be more between them, he confides in her that his father is coercing him to remain in an unwanted relationship to secure a business deal with the woman’s own father, and to ensure that Byron obeys, Mr. Fillmore has threatened harm upon Byron’s two young nieces. Lavinia saw enough growing up to know that attempting to intervene in Mr. Fillmore’s plans will ensure disaster for the little girls she loves so dearly, yet she can’t abandon him the way his father did for sixteen years.
Before Lavinia can figure out what to do, Mr. Fillmore discovers his son has secret deep affections for her, and so issues Lavinia a threat of her own: Disappear from Byron’s life forever, or else Byron will take the fall for her murder.