A few months back, I read a manuscript from a good friend and her writing partner. I've never met the partner--heard of her through my friend, of course, but we've never even conversed through an email or anything. No online chats, nada.
It was a little strange reading the work of a virtual stranger, but let's face it, most writers are strangers to us so it really shouldn't make a difference in the end. That said, I read it mostly because I wanted to help my friend. We've been online writing buds for a very long time and I was super excited to jump into the manuscript and give whatever advice I thought might help.
I read it, made some suggestions, same as I would for anyone. My friend was very grateful for my input because she felt I hit on some of the weak spots she and her partner had been in dispute over. And I may have pointed out a few things she hadn't thought of... blah blah blah, yada yada yada.
Needless to say, the writing partner did not take the critique well. She did at one point say she thought I might be right in my various points, but I could pretty much tell she wasn't on board with what I had to say. Regardless of that, I never received a thank you from her. No big, in the grand scheme of things yet to come.
So, flash forward a few months. They've edited some, revised some, etc. and the partner is ready to send the book out into the world. Hold the boats, my friend said, I would really like Jen to take a look at it before we do.
This is when things got ugly. Her writing partner, as you can probably guess, did not want to go through this extra step... after all, who is this Jen? What makes her think her opinion is so important? If she's so good, why doesn't she have an agent yet? Why isn't she published? How does my friend KNOW I actually had an agent at one point? How does she KNOW I didn't lie about it?
And these were just the things my friend was willing to tell me.
Blink, yo. DOUBLE BLINK.
I'm not here to give a lecture about how you should treat beta readers, I think anyone who happens to read this is probably here because they want to converse with other writers and learn from their experiences, etc. That's the reason we started this blog. I don't think I need to preach to this particular choir, iow.
That said, I do want to make a point about her reaction. Her reaction was pure and simple, a deflection technique. She doesn't want to be told her pretty little baby might have a flaw--maybe a nose boogey that's rather unsightly. A dirty diaper. Whatever. So instead of saying, I KNOW THIS BOOK IS GOOD, and having faith in her work, she chose to insult me instead. Instead of believing I would read the book and have nothing but glowing praise, she instead decided to just bypass me altogether. Cuz yanno, it's SO much better to hear about your baby's muddy face from an agent in the form of a rejection.
Needless to say, I don't think I'll be wasting any more of my time helping this particular writer. "Good luck" is all I have to say.