As a writer it’s difficult to read your own manuscript with an impartial and critical eye. This is where a book critique partner (or writing group) can be invaluable in helping you improve your writing style. Critique partners not only provide valuable insight about your manuscript, but they also make you accountable for keeping any self-imposed goals or deadlines. At some point you may decide to submit your work to editors, agents or both, and doing either takes an enormous amount of courage. Receiving feedback from critique partners, positive or negative, can help build up your confidence as you prepare your work for submission and delve into the taxing world of publishing.
WHERE TO FIND A CRITIQUE PARTNER
Finding a book critique partner is like matchmaking – a good fit is important. You need someone who shares the same creative pursuits; someone who can help you become a stronger writer. There are websites and private writing groups dedicated to helping you find good critique partners. Some involve a paid membership while others are free. With so many options to consider, you might find the entire process a little daunting to maneuver. Therefore, here’s a list of sources to get you started.
Twitter probably has one of the richest pools of critique partners anywhere on the internet. People check Twitter more frequently than any other social media platform or online resource. So you have access to people willing to scrutinize your work at any time of the day or night. If you know how to use Twitter, then finding a book critique partner won’t be too difficult for you. Merely performing a search using the right hashtags should result in a hefty list of contacts to choose from.
Absolute Write Water Cooler
Among the various writing forums online, this is among the best because it has a lot of active users. There are discussion boards for mentors, writing buddies and even beta readers. So long as you take the time to acquaint yourself with the forum and its users, there is an abundance of book critique partners for you to choose from.
Ladies Who Critique
This women-only service matches up potential critique partners by genre and desired critique frequency. Once you open an account, you must fill out a profile providing specific details about your interests (both reading and writing) and your availability as a critique. With your profile complete, you can begin searching through the website’s extensive database of critique partners based on a number of criteria.
Agent Query Connect
This community typically caters to people looking to succeed in the traditional publishing arena. The resource’s primary draw is the fact that it allows you to create and post ‘Want Ads’ for critique partners. Once your post is created, you just sit back and wait to receive a reply.
How About We CP
‘How About We CP’ is a Tumblr administered by literary agent Jessica Sinsheimer. You can find a CP (critique partner) by submitting a profile denoting your genres of interest, contact information and how honest you want your book critique to be. The entries are available for public viewing which allows visitors to communicate and share their contacts.
Critique Circle is initially a bit complex. You must first critique other people’s work to earn ‘credits’ that you can then use to get your own content critiqued. This established community is perfect for writers who have been stuck in other groups, doing all of the commenting and getting no feedback. If you are looking for a group which ensures that you will be fairly rewarded for your critiquing, the Critique Circle is your best option.
In business since the mid-90s, this community started as a group for science fiction and fantasy writers. They have since expanded into all genres of writing and they operate via email based on a queue system. They play host to over 10,000 members. With over 200,000 critiques under their belt, Critique.Org promises reliability and experience.
The Desk Drawer
What sets this email-based writing workshop apart is the team of determined administrators who work to ensure that there is accountability. Every single member must submit a specific number of critiques per month. As such, you are guaranteed a reliable service. Admission is based on a writing sample.
YA Writers Reddit
Operated by New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis (along with various other renowned writers), this community works to connect aspiring writers with book critique partners. Additionally, the platform plays host to a number of interesting and highly informative discussions about writing.
If you are completely new to the book critique partner search, this is a great forum to start. It is full of writers and critiques alike that are looking to partner with one another on their road to success.
Others (By Genre)
Science Fiction and Fantasy: SF Novelist, Quantum Muse
Mystery: Mystery Writers Forum, Mystery Writers of America
Romance: Romance Critters, Romance Writers of America
Horror: Horror Writers Association
Historical: Historical Novel Society
Children: Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
Erotica: Erotica Readers and Writers Association
Every writer needs a secondary pair of eyes to give their manuscript an unbiased review if they are to make the improvements necessary to succeed. So even though it may take a considerable amount of time and effort to find a decent book critique partner, you must be willing to do the work. Ultimately, the right critique partner can help you make your publishing dreams a reality.