I'm here to say--use common sense when sharing your work. Even though this community is full of top of the line awesome folks who love to give--be smart. Occasionally the odd bad apple may get through the gates.
Things to think about before sharing your work:
- Do you know this person? Have they posted much on AQC already? (Check the number below their image on their posts--it says how many posts they have.) As well, check out the query critique group as a lot of critiquers hang out there. Or, even better, go to their profile and click on the blue "Find Content" button to check out things they have posted.
- Now that you have snooped around their profile, do you think you might mesh with this person? I.e. will their crit style leave you sobbing? Or will it be the best thing to ever happen to your writing this year?
- How much do they want to critique? A few pages is generally safe, but if they want your WHOLE ms right off the bat, make sure you perform due diligence. Just in case. This is the Internet after all.
- What is their turnaround timeline?
- What do they like to read? If they read horror and write horror they might not be the best person to tell you whether your sex scene will fit Harlequin's guidelines.
- How in-depth are you looking for? A quick read or an edit?
- Start small. Send small bits and work your way up to a bigger commitment. (Unless it is a beta read--in which case it still may be smart to offer the first chapter to see if you two are a good fit and they want to keep reading.)
- Is it sharing? If so, are you a good fit or will you regret the time you spend working with this person?
- WHAT IS YOUR GUT FEELING? If your spidey-senses are saying "no," listen even if the person is talking a good game that feels irresistible.
What else? Share your tips and ideas.
RECENTLY ADDED TIP: Once you have found a beta reader/critiquer, be sure to let them know if you need 'soft' criticism or if you want 'hard' criticism. If you are just starting out, you might want to only hear about the biggest overarching issue you have and not every little crushing nitpick. If you are a veteran, you might want to hear every little thing that isn't working. It is your responsibility to let them know what you need and want.