Where do beta-readers come from? This is a serious question.
The number of people I know who write or think about stories is . . . is actually pretty big right now, on account of my job, but I still know very few people I would consider on that high level of friendship where it becomes appropriate to ask them to waste an hour or more of their time reading and critiquing your personal stories.
Is that a thing? I know people ask other people for critique on their personal work, but it's not something I've ever seen in action before. People ask for critique for their professional work, sure, but that seems more like an everyday, mandatory aspect of doing your job. It's literally part of your job description. By comparison, personal projects feel almost taboo--I think the most I've ever really heard at work is "oh, I'm working on a comic" or "oh, I'm working on a pitch" and then some time later the finished work springs out fully formed and perfect.
But they must ask someone for help, right? Is everybody giving critique without me?