I've been very lucky in my writing career so far. I have a couple of writer friends who have been stellar critique partners and a small group of readers who are happy to give great feedback on early drafts. They are blunt and honest, but they are on my side, so their criticism is intended to make the book better.
The problem is, I don't want to take advantage of those few people. I believe my output is going to increase over the next six months, and I would like to line up just a few additional people who might be willing to step in and be a first reader. That way, the people who help out are having fun, and aren't overtaxed.
What's it take to be a first reader?
* You have to be willing to read, and pretty quickly. You don't have to drop everything, but a couple of weeks turnaround is a good target.
* You have to be good at something [grin]. What I mean is, maybe you're a great proofreader or great at continuity or great at analyzing characters and motivations or maybe you have insight into plot or theme. Or maybe you're really good at taking a look at the big picture and saying whether it works or not and why or why not. Any of those skills works (it takes all kinds). You don't have to be an English major or an editor.
* You have to be honest. Direct. I can hear what you like (that's kinda fun), but why you like it is more important. Even more important than that is what is not working, and you'd have to be able to tell me "This part sucks." That, actually, is the whole point. But you do have to be on my side. What does that mean? Much like a coach helping an athlete, a first reader's criticism is intended help the author improve the story. Your criticism should be direct, blunt, harsh...and constructive.
So there's the job description. With apologies, the pay is poor (a thank you, an acknowledgement, and a free paperback version of the final product is about all I can do right now), and it takes a certain kind of person to want to do it. If that's you, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And to those half dozen people who have been reading for me for some time now...you know who you are...thanks! There will be more coming your way later this year.