Actually there is no question: I have learned to my cost that an author should always have a novel beta read, by as many different readers as possible.
The problem I have is exchanging beta reads. I’ve done this on several occasions and I’m not sure if it’s worked out very well at all. One issue I had was an author who read my last novel and sent me feedback (which was greatly appreciated), before I had started on hers. When I did finish reading this manuscript it had, in my opinion, a lot of things that I didn’t think worked (plot, characters, pace, the quality of the writing itself) and I reported this back – as tactfully as possible.
My philosophy is that if I ask betas for their thoughts and they give them, I must take this on the chin. Some will like my work, others won’t, and if several betas are all of the same opinion about a something in my manuscript then I must bite the bullet and do some rewriting.
This author I have recently beta read for was not at all happy. After reading my comments regarding her novel, she then sent me an email telling me of all the things she didn’t like about mine. Why she didn’t tell me at the time she sent me the feedback, I can only guess…. She then proceeded to tell me that she hated vampire novels anyway.
So why read one??
Ok, rant over. I’ll talk about spring lambs and bunny rabbits next time. Promise.