Occasionally some of our newer members approach some of our published members with requests for critique and/or mentorship.
Here's the deal: We are a friendly, inclusive community here at Verla's, with a place for everyone from experienced professionals to the newest of newbies, and we welcome everybody. Our more experienced members hang out here because they want to. They like it for the same reasons all our members do--for the camaraderie, for a bit of a break from work, for shop talk. Our published members are willing to "pay it forward." They know that they were once unpublished, too, and they're willing to answer questions here on the boards, and furthermore, my guess is that if you were to run into someone at a conference and offer a greeting of "Hi, I'm so-and-so from Verla's" that it would elicit a huge smile, a hearty handshake or even a hug from these folks.
However, the truth is that the leap from "willing to answer questions on a message board" to "willing to do extensive critiquing/offer personal advice/provide mentorship" is awfully big. If you're asking someone you don't really know for this kind of help, you're probably saying to yourself that the worst they can say is no; that there's truth to that old saying "nothing ventured, nothing gained"; that it's worth a shot.
However, I'm asking you to consider that putting an author on the spot with such a request is very likely to backfire. At the very least, it puts the author in a situation where they have to say no, which can be awkward and stressful. A more unpleasant consequence for all of us would be if our published authors feel pestered to the point where they decide that participation on the boards is no longer worth their time. Then we all lose, because we've lost some of our greatest resources.
Bottom line: If you need critique, find a writing buddy or a good critique group. If you don't have a group or buddy yet, advertise or ask for help in our Critique Group thread. If you need or want a professional critique, find a reputable service--there are a good number of them, and their fees are generally reasonable. Please don't take advantage of our camaraderie here on the boards by alienating the published author members who offer so much to us all.