Lots of groups I'm on, both reader and writer lists, have been discussing the pros and cons of having a beta(proofreader). Personally, I value my beta reader above everything else in the writing world, but I've been very lucky when it comes to finding a critque partner. I have a person who i know will be honest with me and tell me when she really likes a storyline or idea or when I've totally missed the marks and the story sucks eggs. She doesn't hold back her opinion and that is what I value the most. Some people ask family members or close friends to proofread for them and more often than not the person comes back with glowing praise for the writer whether the story is good or bad. I don't want that in a beta. I want someone who will look carefully at what I've written. I want mispellings, grammar issues, unbelievable plots, holes, anything and everything pointed out to me in hopes of making my story the best I can possibly write. Without precise, honest feedback I can't do that. In return for my Beta's irreplaceable service I critque for her in return. We work so well together we've actually co-written several stories together. One important tip in the writing world is to be prepared for critcism. If you submit a story expecting only kind words and instant acceptance then being an author is probably not the position for you. You will get more rejection letters than you will acceptances and often times if you ask for cristicism from other writers or publishers they will give you their frank, outright opinion. If you can't handle constructive commentary just keep your writing for yourself. If you want a true beta reader and are ready to look for one there are several different options available. Look online for critique groups, ask some of your online contacts or already published authors for recomendations. Then get in touch with those people and see if you click or if they are willing to take you on. Like I said, I am extremely blessed to have such a wonderful proofreader. I could promote her in a commercial easily.
Cassandra = priceless