Doing the occasional novel format myself, I wonder how you proceed for beta readers: Do you expect them to read and comment on the full length, or just whichever portion they can fit in? As I struggle to find suitably non-biased beta readers not at risk of doing me no favors by flattering, I take as much (or little) as I can get. How do you proceed?
@Troim Hiya! I only use second readers to catch me on technical things like typos, spelling mistakes, and obvious problems (like me goofing a character's eye color or whatever). I have a couple friends who are willing to look over my work for these things. That's all they're expected to comment on, so there's no flattery-risk. When one friend got sick and couldn't finish, I just asked a local friend to re-read for me.
I write mostly shorts, but the couple of novels I've done, I just make sure
@Troim ...to send them stuff that's more in their reading tastes. One friend is fine with gnarly horror or cynical work, the other likes the Hallmark-channel type stuff, or adventure stories...so if horror friend wasn't available, I'd probably be up the creek! X3 I don't have a lot of second readers at the moment.
They read through the whole thing and show me technical and usage errors.
My motto is: "The book (or story) is the boss", so I don't worry about whether or not someone else has problems with a piece (though I'm happy if they like it, of course). I'm driving the story bus. It's my job to learn craft and work on it with every story. And it's fun! :)
I hope that answered your questions.
tl;dr - I ask them to read through the whole thing. If something comes up, I find someone else to go through it.
But I only ask for Typo/Obvious Logic Patrollers, really.
@AesAthena Thanks a lot for your comprehensive feedback, very much appreciated! Sounds like we practice different beta reader approaches: I don‘t know most of mine in person, just ask people who sound like they might be interested in a specific WIP to give it a try, providing them with a link to my secure workspace. Not looking for proofreaders, a job that I prefer to pay for, just some thumps-up-or-down structured feedback, to help me improve my writing.