Each of these tremendous folks have agreed to read the story again from start to finish. It's possible when all is said and done that I may even tweak a couple Betas outta my Alphas. (Get your head out of the gutter!) HA!
Oh, wait, that was me. My bad.
Anyway... What's the difference?
Well, from what I gather (and feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken) Alpha's are straight up readers. They're the people who cheer you on when you could be bombing horribly because they like you too much to hurt your feelings. (see also: your significant other and your Mom)
Beta's on the other hand are the brutally honest critique people. They're essential to making sure your ducks are in a row and not swimming up shit creek without a paddle. Or something like that. Depending on the Beta, they question your motives, your characters, your plot lines, your word structures... they question it all.
Here are my questions to you fine folks...
Did you use Beta Readers? If so, where did you find them? Were they the people lurking in the dark spaces behind your staircase or did you seek them by more scholarly means? Is there a website that is reputable for such a thing? (I haven't yet gone googling, but I will resort to it, if necessary... I just trust you guys more than the monolith of search engines.)
Another concern - albeit conceited and somewhat paranoid - Did you ever worry about sending your work out into the ether? The internet is big, wide space and what happens if your masterpiece gets into the wrong hands? (Think Sauron!) What if it gets stolen/copied before you have a chance to birth it yourself?
I can lock the PDF file until dooms day, but it's a pain in the ass for the Beta who has to retype all of the corrections because they can't copy and paste.
Am I the only crazy one with these thoughts?
At any rate, I'd love your feedback, thoughts and experience yet again. Your wealth of knowledge makes my day. Truly.