When I attend book festivals, writers’ conferences or speak at writers’ group meetings, I often invite attendees to send me a sample of their manuscripts for evaluation. I will give the author my impressions of their work and offer suggestions or, in some cases, my blessings. I will point out any problems I see—editorial errors, sentences that lack clarity, etc.
Sometimes I recommend that a writer seek out and join a writers’ critique group before following their dream to publish their novel or nonfiction book. This is generally when I feel that the writer is not ready to go public with his or her manuscript—it is not close to being ready for publication.
I hope that members of the group can guide this writer in some of the finer points of the craft—help him write with more clarity and power, give his writing more interest, teach him how to more smoothly transition from one topic to the next, help him gain some skill in presenting dialog, etc.
So how do you find a critique group? I suggest that you start with writer friends—do any of them belong to a group that has offshoot critique groups? Check with your librarian and booksellers. They often know about groups that are meeting locally. Ask at senior centers. Watch the calendar section or arts section of your hometown newspaper for meeting and activity announcements. Do an Internet search. Many writers’ groups have websites now.
You can even consider starting a group. Invite writers you know. Put up flyers at the library, bookstores and office supply stores. Place an announcement in the local newspaper. Ask if the library has a bulletin they circulate. Post your announcement there.
There are also online critique groups. I shared some with you in an email recently. Here are the links again:
Of course, you can locate other critique sites by doing your own Internet search. Good luck.
To learn more about the process of publishing, be sure to read my latest book, Publish Your Book, Proven Strategies and Resources for the Enterprising Author. It’s at amazon.com and most other online bookstores as well as bookstores downtown. Read the reviews at amazon and place your order. Or order it here: http://www.matilijapress.com