For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the term, or as I have recently learned, potentially offended by it, allow me to explain:
When a writer creates a piece and needs a test-audience, these are called Beta readers. In theory, they are the second set of eyes to see the manuscript. Thus, called Betas, as in 2's.
I recently was witness to a verbal beat-down of someone insulted by being classified as a Beta reader, as if it directly implied that they were not important - a second class reader. While I can appreciate your right to your feelings, I do think that it's important to understand why it's called a Beta. Now, if you are being asked to help revise/create the manuscript, by all means, get mad about being called Beta, because any active type of co-authoring would then make you an Alpha. But a Beta reader should be your prototype audience. Yes, you can decide to use their feedback to make some changes, but a Beta really shouldn't be brought in if you need to make a lot of dramatic changes; exception being if you've finished your manuscript and aren't sure if it's worth pursuing any further or let it sit in the "completed" file never to be seen again. Some works aren't worth preparing for publication. I have several that were fine in the moment but not extraordinary in any way. So a Beta can tell you "Yes, it has potential!" or "Maybe next time." In either case, the expectation is not that they hunt down every little plot, development and grammar issue they encounter.
Now, for my rant:
So, when you have decided to make the call for Beta readers, and you have decided that Betas should give you chapter by chapter feedback, please, please, PLEASE, don't revise the same chapter over and over again before posting the next one. As your Beta reader, having me reread 5 different versions of each chapter is going to result in one of two reactions.
#1) The angry little grudge. Now I'm usually pretty well-balanced when it comes to toning things down for very budding authors, focusing on big picture critiques before the nitty gritty. But if physically reading your story is now becoming a frustrating experience because there's no moving forward, I just might snap one day and take it out on your story. I don't want to. It's not my intention. But "GET TO THE FRIGGIN' POINT ALREADY!"
Or the more likely result, #2) The over-it. I've lost my momentum. I don't remember what actually happened any more because it keeps changing, and even with a fresh re-reading, I'm just getting done with reading the same lines over and over again. I'm going to glaze. I'm going to gloss right over those little changes you made, not even notice them, and just stop leaving commentary because I need this torture to end.
I love helping with new stories. I really do. But if I sign up to be your Beta reader, especially FREE OF CHARGE! then for the love of all that's good in this world, do not force me to be your line editor. If I choose to make a comment about a word choice, that's up to me, but I did not sign up for line editing. If you really really want a line editor, we can discuss the terms. And I certainly won't be doing it chapter by chapter with your added changes. It's all or nothing. Give me the whole thing and then make your changes. We can repeat that process however many times it takes, but I cannot spend weeks on that same first few chapters. It worries me that maybe you don't even know where this is going.
There, there it is. I had to say something to stop this madness.
I'm pricing out my costs now, because this experience will NOT happen again.