On Beta Readers
Beta readers are so hard to come by. There are plenty of readers, don't get me wrong, but finding the perfect one is difficult. The hardest part is giving up your baby to someone you don't know and taking the risk of having them flay you.
As an author, you pour your heart and soul into crafting this story, and then your first reader detests every minute of it.
I don't have any fool-proof advice for choosing a partner, because that's what they are, and I didn't have much luck with it. What I did is talk with people I know, either coworkers, family, or friends and acquaintances. There are several faults with this option, primarily, are they going to be honest and give constructive feedback or will they spare your feelings? For me, as long as it is constructive criticism, I will always come back for more. Some of those readers, I even went as far to interview them afterward and dug into them. When you spend months or years on a project, and then the only feedback you get is, "It's good," it often aggravates you. What are you to take from that?
My advice, let them know up front not to spare your feelings but offer feedback in a constructive manner. If they are good at catching grammatical errors? Great! Are they just a story-content reader? Excellent! Each is unique and will bring many things to the forefront. And once you've had a reader or two, revise, revise, revise, and try again.
Tools for Writing and Editing
The following information is about tools the that I use, and I have in no way been paid to advertise these products. The intent is to give insight to other aspiring authors and writers and to help aid them on their glorious quest of writing.
There are three tools that I use to help me write. Staying focused is the key. To help aid this, I used WriteItNow to craft my story. This software helped me form my book instead of using a Word Doc. If anyone has written in Word, you know how much of a pain it is to find something in it.
The second is a website called AutoCrit, which helped me hone my story while editing my novel. There are a plethora of options to chose from but remember, it is a program, not a human, so take each recommendation accordingly.
The third is another website called Grammarly, and this helped tighten my grammar errors when I was unsure. Remember, exercise sound judgment before gutting your manuscript.