There's an interesting post over on Pimp My Novel about beta-readers.
I've been a beta-reader. Writer Friend recently gave me a trilogy of fantasy novels to read, handwritten in hardback A4 notebooks, and my bus journeys haven't been the same since I closed the last one. That's the most extreme example, but I have read various bits and pieces for other friends over the years and I always enjoy doing it.
It is tough, though, trying to be honest but gentle. I find that trying to keep it as personal as possible helps - 'This bit didn't work for me,' 'I tend to find characters who do that annoying but it's just a pet hate, someone else might feel differently. . .' etc. Because to be fair, there are certain things in books that drive me nuts. Characters coming back to life drive me insane, but I'm sure there are times (apart from HP7) where I could enjoy it. And so far, none of my friends have inflicted that upon me.
Anyway, Writer Friend has agreed to beta-read my current project (and beta-read most of my last one), which I'm looking forward to. We read each other's work a lot, and I find it motivating - I need to get it finished so I can get feedback!
But I have heard horror stories about beta readers (one of my blog readers had their work plagiarised) so I think I'm really lucky to have several personal friends that I can ask to read my work - and trust. How do you guys feel about beta-readers? How do you choose them? Fellow writers, avid readers, loved ones, blog-friends, critique groups. . .? Do tell :)