I met Sarah a few months ago when we formed an online critique group. There are four of us on our “Almost Fabulous” crit crew, and since we created the group all of us have been contracted or published! YAY!
Our group has been supportive and informative about everything from self-publishing, marketing, pitching, and even what it’s like working with an editor to hone a book.
But now that we’re contracted, do we still need a critique group?
My answer is yes.
Even though we’ve sold a book or a series, we will still be writing new material, and the group we’ve got has eagle eyes lemme tell ya! LOL
For example, my new self-published release, Across the Veil…
It’s only 26 pages long. It was too long to submit for most short story anthologies, and too short for most ePub novellas. But it was a good story.
I wanted to send it into the world.
I decided to release it myself as an eBook, but before formatting and uploading it, I ran it through our critique group. I’m so glad I did! Even though I had edited the story numerous times, my group found a few things I missed that really cleaned up the book. I’m grateful to every one of them! :-)
With self-publishing becoming a more common practice, I think critique groups grow in importance. As a reader, there is nothing worse than paying for a poorly edited book. It’s frustrating. Didn’t the author care enough to correct typos and be sure they tied up all the loose plot lines in their story?
A great critique group can save you from putting out work that’s not quite ready yet. After I’ve edited a story a few times, I stop noticing missing words, etc. It’s frustrating! You need a fresh pair of eyes that you trust to tell you if a character isn’t working, or their motivations seem a little off.
I’d rather have my critique group find weaknesses instead of a reviewer, right?
So with every good review I see for Across the Veil, I feel like hugging my critique group for helping me polish it until it shined.
If you’re thinking about self-publishing or even if you’re under contract for a book, a good critique group is one of the best tools you can add to your writer’s tool kit.
Thank you to Sarah and the rest of our Almost Fabulous crew for all the feedback! And I hope we can keep helping each other on the path to being full-time writers… :-)
What about you? Do you have a critique group? Are you looking for one?