No, I'm not ready for beta readers. I've goofed off most of the summer. I guess there is a first time for everything.
Recently I was reminded again how lucky I am to have the beta readers I have. It took a bit of prodding, but they eventually understood that telling me they love every word wasn't helpful. I do want to know what they like and what works - so I don't change those parts, because after a couple of rewrites it all looks like crap to me.
What really helps is when they point out problems like they got lost in the dialogue or there was no transition to a location change, which was confusing.
Sometimes they will say, find another word (you're over using this one), this sentence needs changing (it doesn't make sense), or this paragraph is out of place. Usually when a sentence needs to be rewritten, there is no fixing it, it needs DELETED.
I'm not afraid of the delete button. I have been known to cut 5,000 words in a weekend marathon read.
The thing is, no one's first or second draft is ready to shop. The first few drafts are to bang out the story - from beginning to end. If an ms is shopped before its time, that lit agent or publisher has been lost. Once they reject an ms, they don't want it back - unless they say the story has merit, but rewrites are needed.
Usually I won't read for anyone who won't make changes or take suggestions. Why bother to read for them? It is simply a waste of time. All they want is to be told it is wonderful and frankly that is their mom's job, not mine.
Most of the time, when someone calls their ms their baby, they aren't ready for useful beta reads. Let's face it, we think our kids are wonderful. We aren't supposed to be objective and detached about our kids, but we are supposed to be objective about our mss during the rewrite stage.
So if someone reads for me and says it is wonderful, I either figure they love me very much and can't see the trees for the forest or they have no clue about writing. Same goes for crit groups when no useful suggestions are given or taken. It is a waste of time, unless it is serving the purpose of a feel good session - but it is also a set up for lots of rejection letters from literary agents.
It is a good mix to have reading maniacs and writers (two different groups) on your beta reader list. Readers can point out what works and doesn't work for the general public. Writers can point out craft tool errors. Friends help friends, not whitewash the truth about their ms.
So there is that, find yourself really good beta readers.