Usually the ultimate goal with any piece of writing is to get other people to read it. You've got a story in your head and you want to get it onto paper and share it with everyone else. But it takes a while to get to that point where you think your piece is good enough for someone else to read. You may have to go through several rounds of editing and rewrites before you let anyone else look at it, and even after that there may be more editing to do. But how do you know when it's ready? What if you need fresh eyes but you still have a lot that needs to be fixed?
It can take a while before you feel like your writing is ready for other people to read it. Until then, you probably won't let it see the light of day. You'll hold onto it for dear life, pull the shades down, turn off the lights, and hiss like a cat at anyone who tries to touch it. Ok, figuratively speaking, of course. But when someone offers to read it, you may feel like running in the other direction.
On the other hand, what do you do when you really could use a fresh set of eyes? What if you can't figure things out and just being able to talk to someone else about it could help? But what if you're too scared to let anyone read it?
I feel like I'm in some sort of paradox when it comes to having beta readers. I know I probably should have more, but at the same time, I already know a lot of things I want to fix in my book. I think letting someone else read it as is before I make those changes would be pointless. But it would also be nice to have more people to bounce ideas off of. But I also just really don't want anyone else to read it the way it is right now. See? It's a vicious cycle.
This is how it's gone so far: my fiance read the first draft (AGH NO NOT THE FIRST DRAFT! BURN IT!), which is great from a supportive standpoint but he couldn't really offer any critiques. For the second draft, I had one actual beta reader, and then a bunch of people who showed interest in reading it but then never actually did. Horrible mistake on my part. I thought they were serious about wanting to read it, and I was totally fine with getting no real critiques from these people. I thought I would at least get some sort of reader-based reaction, like "Oh, I loved this part!" or "Why did that have to happen???" But no. I got nothing. No responses at all. I'm not even sure if anyone actually read it. So I'm a little jaded when it comes to letting people read it.
So I have literally had only one person who read the whole thing and gave me feedback (and who I keep bothering with my editing ideas...). That's probably not enough, right? But I have so much I want to change for this third draft that I don't want to bother letting anyone else read the second one. And by the time I do finish the third, I want to be querying it. So I don't know if I should bother trying to find more beta readers. But querying will take a while so would it make sense to also have people beta reading in case there are other things I should change? I DON'T KNOW.
So I really have no idea what I should do. For now I'll probably just keep hoarding my book so no one else can read it...