So I was reading a nice, mushy post by Ebenstone and I was wondering, what would I rather be, an author's friend or their beta reader?
And that is the question I will pose to you, the reader. Would you rather be a friend or a beta? Each is not mutually exclusive, you could be both of course. But if you had to choose, which one would be best?
I have mixed emotions about both. My immediate thought is I would want to be an author's friend. I mean, you get all the benefits, right? You can brag to your friends that you know a famous author. You get free books to read. You get signed books. You get author swag. You might even get some invites to conventions or book signings.
But then I think to myself, that's not really a friend. That's a leech or hyena, someone living off the scraps of the big whale (the author in this case). So I then revert to wanting to be a beta reader. You still get to read the books before they come out and may even get a mention of thanks in the book.
After mulling this over for a day or so, I think I'd rather be an author's friend. But only if I can be a true friend. Not that hyena that looks for the droppings left behind, but a friend. And that's where John (aka Ebenstone) comes in. I consider him a friend. Granted, he may fall into that "internet friend" category as I've never seen him face to face or even heard his voice. But I still call him a friend. And when he gets published, I'd love to get all those goodies up above. But I won't expect them. With John, I'm lucky. I get to be both a friend and a beta.
Which brings me to another aspect of the question. John is unpublished but does write well. But would things be different if the author in question were published? Say, Carolyn Anderson. Or a New York Times Bestseller? Like, oh, Patrick Rothfuss. What if the author was working in a genre you didn't really like, but was still a bestseller? Like, Ann Brashares.
So, which would you rather be, an author's friend or their beta reader?