Of course there’s another side to it. If you want people to help you, there are rules you need to follow, too.
1. Be polite.
This is part of the golden rule of be kind to others and treat them as you would like yourself to be treated. You want readers to be attentive to your work and responsive, right? Well, it’s a lot harder to ignore a polite inquiry than it is a note attacking them for not getting your characters.
2. Don’t overload.
They’re busy with their own lives just like you’re busy with yours. You don’t want to send them your whole book and wonder why they haven’t responded. Pick a schedule that they can keep up with and you can work with. This might be something like thirty pages per day or a hundred a week or even just thirty a week. Their own work has to come first, and I’ve heard some people have these “children” they have to take care of.
3. Be patient.
Again, they’re busy. It’s not just readers who should stick to schedules. You might be anxious to hear what they thought of your chapters, but don’t give them a nudge unless the deadline has passed.
If your beta readers ever ask for your help, the considerate thing to do is to give it. They took the time to read your work and you should carve out time in your schedule to do the same. Critiquing is a two way street.
5. And follow the same guidelines when you do.
It’s no good to agree to beta read and then ask for three times as much time or to refuse to give the detailed responses you asked for. Basically, when it’s your turn to beta read, you follow the guidelines I gave last week, too.
And those are my tips for being a good critiquee. Anything to add?