I was rather thrilled that all of the beta readers I asked to look at my novel immediately responded that they would! Although, of course, I am interested in any kind of feedback they provide, I have people with high cred for each of the areas I want specifically reviewed. My gender reviewer is currently doing her PhD in creative writing, and her dissertation is a novel and critical analysis of the novel which deals with gender issues. My cultural sensitivity reviewer is an African-American woman who writes amazing Southern Gothic horror, and my expert on 16th century sailing ships is not only a historian, but an award-winning historical and speculative writer of over 30 novels. Whew!
Of course, I did tons of research before I even put the manuscript before these awesome readers. I’ve been to Africa, Europe and the Caribbean, read books, watched films, scoured the internet, looked at photos, been to the Maritime Museum of Amsterdam, rode on a sailing ship and other large sea-going vessels (okay, ferries in the Irish Sea and the Mediterranean), and even took sailing lessons (I passed the course, too). But there is nothing like an expert.