I recently had my first few pages critiqued by complete strangers. It was an interesting experience. Bit of a let down really. Some made extremely good points. Some made some very nit picky points… and some. Some made completely conflicting points. One person would love the paragraph the next person would hate it. Someone would love a word a used, the next person would think it was being misused. There were some structure or potential confusion issues that I will definitely be correcting, and for those alone I would do it again.
BUT. The biggest issue I had with the process so far… is that everyone seemed bothered by having unanswered questions. I am not talking small questions. I am talking about large overarching plot questions. The type of questions, that if they did get answered in the first three pages, well there wouldn’t be a reason to write the rest of the book. Having questions is good. It’s not bad. It’s bad if you read it and you honestly can’t figure out what is going on. That is bad. But if you read something and you think to yourself, hey why did that happen, or what is going to happen with this. Those are the good type of questions.
I wouldn’t trade the experience. I would rather hear it now than when I already think I am done with nothing else to edit. I know there is room for improvement. I know there is work to be done. (Sometimes I worry about just how much work needs to be done). So long story short. I would do it again, but I am finding myself having to filter through what is being recommended much more than what I initially thought would be needed.
Also: in case anyone is curious. There are now 0.4% who pick a book based on series/length with 233 responses. I am writing a series, and I still think it has little to no bearing on making people pick the book.