As an author it’s important to understand what services you need before you either publish or submit your great novel. Critique services are one of the first of the services you need to engage – even before you finish the book, you need a second opinion.
What is a book critique?
There are several names for this step and it’s important to know what you are getting when you engage someone to critique your work. It’s even more important to know what you are getting if you share critiques with a partner.
A critique provides the following three benefits. There are more, but these are the basics.
Benefit #1 A fresh eye on the work. This is critical because you are probably going to be too close to the story to see the problems. And there are always problems.
Benefit #2 Clear indications of why something doesn’t work. When you need a critique, you need to know more than just ‘there’s a problem’. A good critique service will tell you more than just ‘I didn’t care for your hero’.
Benefit #3 Advice from someone who knows writing. This is important! It’s helpful to hear that your pacing is off, but it’s more helpful when another writer tells you, “Maybe you can cut this scene, or maybe you need to break up your paragraphs.”
Critique services: to pay, share, or get free
Free: There are several places online to get critique services. Sometimes you can find a great critique partner online, and sometimes you get what you paid for. I encourage people to look for sites like Ladies who Critique and give it at try.
Here’s my experience. I gave a few detailed critiques and got one back that had 3 short comments. The person may have thought they were being kind, but kind doesn’t cut it when you are trying to make your story the best it can be. That’s not to say you need to be unkind. Critiques are given with respect and truth.
Shared: Groups who provide critiques to member writers can be found at Meetup, or through writing associations. These groups are usually great for getting detailed feedback and you will be working with other authors.
Here’s my experience: I had a great writing group that I worked with for a couple of years. The reason I left was purely selfish. I needed faster turnaround – most of these writing groups will review a set number of pages each time. And, I didn’t have time to read and provide critiques in return. Remember it’s a shared experience. You will be doing a critique for the other writers too.
Paid: There are numerous people online who will provide paid critique services. The trick is to make sure they are providing the service you need. An edit is not a critique, but a story edit is probably a critique.
Here’s my experience: I now engage paid critiques when I can find someone with a hole in their schedule. I’ve had great feedback from paid critique services, and I’ve also been disappointed to find I have to join a waiting list that is months long.
Good luck with your writing.
If you are looking for a paid critique of your writing, click on the picture to learn how I can help.