Kindle Forum banner
1 - 20 of 36 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
368 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I come from the background of workshopping your stories and novels through writers groups.

I attended the Clarion SF workshop in Michigan for 6 weeks in 2002 which is an intensive workshop experience with 20 other writers.

I am currently a member of 2 writers groups who meet every 6 weeks / 3 times  year and have been a member of both groups for over 10 years.  All the writers in both groups are published, though most of us weren't when we started the group.

I am intrigued by how people who self-publish get criticism on their work and feedback?  I can see that, because it is so easy to publish on the Kindle, that it would be tempting to publish something before it is ready.

For me, I need the feedback of a writers' group with people who's opinions I know and trust before I am happy that a story is good enough to be sent out to a magazine for consideration, or sold.

What do other people do?

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
624 Posts
I initially used sites like Authonomy and WeBook just to get feedback regarding how well the public would like my writing.  I got lots of interesting tips and really good feedback. 

I now have two critique partners as well as a couple of trusted beta readers.  When my manusript is as good as I think I can get it, it goes off to a paid professional editor. 

I could have published my novel months ago, but I wanted it to be as close to a traditionally published novel as possible: well edited, top notch cover, great story. 
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,548 Posts
I'm similar to Shea, I was on Authonomy for 8 months. I've made some lifelong writer friends on there and we bounce things back and forth through emails.

One of them is an editor and she does a final sweep through for me.

I paid for an editor for my first book and she was CR**. I have 3-4 beta readers who then cast their eyes over the whole book and give valuable feedback.

So I guess I have an online writers' club I attend.  ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,355 Posts
I was a member of SF-OWW for four years, and have also used many other online sites. I think short story sales are a good barometer to set yourself to gauge whether your work is considered to be publishable. I use vague wording here, because I'm leery of the term 'before you are ready', because I think some writers will never be ready according to others and still they sell well, or vice versa. Writing is so subjective.

That said, I think the short story market is probably an as objective a measure stick as you are going to get for your craft. I said to myself I wouldn't self-publish until I'd made my three SFWA-qualifying sales. Doing that took a lot of work and a lot of having people comment on my work. I don't see how I could have done it otherwise.

I love big online crit groups. Lots of different opinions, and no guilt relationships forming (I scratch your back, you scratch mine, even if you are sick of seeing the same type of work).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
285 Posts
I have at least two writers, not readers, look over everything I write.

I know other people love them, but I have had the worst luck doing Beta reads. I now run screaming from anyone who asks me to read over 50 pages unless we have an established working relationship.

Teresa
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
I pretend for the first four to five drafts or so that I have no critique group or beta readers at all.

Once I believe there can't possibly be a single plot hole, cliche, unfinished character arc, etc., I schedule a slot with my critique group.  They all write an in-depth critique and then we get together and do a live critique where they all bounce potential problems or parts that didn't work off of each other.

After another draft, it goes to my beta readers.  By that time, I'm usually getting very minor criticisms that are often contradictory.  After a few touch-ups, I believe it's ready to be seen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
624 Posts
Mel Comley said:
I paid for an editor for my first book and she was CR**. I have 3-4 beta readers who then cast their eyes over the whole book and give valuable feedback.
Yeah, I've got mine with a professional editor for substantative editing since this is my first novel. We'll see how it goes. She was highly recommended, though. I have since found a critique partner who is a writer and has been in the business for over 10 years. She is an AWESOME editor. I mean, AMAZING. So, in future, I may use her and just pay for basic editing to catch errors.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,056 Posts
I'm watching this thread with particular interest, because at the moment I got nothin'. (I have had, in the past, but I moved and didnt keep in touch, and now I'm in a position where I dont have time to do anythign but work and write, so no more signing up for classes or workshops for me.) I'll be needing a crit group and betas and all that soon enough, and I'm starting to get a little worried about it. My plan (if you can call it that) was to get this draft as close to a finished product as I could (I.e., finished, only knowing it's not really finished bc you're still too close to it) then put it in the drawer for it's cooling off period, and use that time to offer beta reads or critiques for other people's work in return for taking a look at mine. (In addition to working on the second book, of course. Some things you know you won't be able to stop yourself from doing.) So, basically, let me into your crit group, I guess? Like I said, not much of a plan.

I actually didn't know about autonomy (noob! I know, I know), so I guess I will be checking that out. Have people had success finding crit groups and betas here? Is there an established procedure for this?
 
G

·
I work on it as far as I can - complete, with all the plot holes, typos and grammar errors I can find removed. If I can - assuming no deadlines etc. - I'll put it to one side and come back to it after a month or so to correct anything I find then. Once I'm happy, it goes to my beta readers. I currently have two. After that, it gets tweaked to cover their feedback and then to an editor, who I have worked with before.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,582 Posts
Sounds like we all have similar processes. I use an online crit group with an assist from another writer. It's always amazing to me how, just when you think it's perfect, another set of eyes will come through and give you a few nice jolts. Then it's, fix, fix, fix.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,355 Posts
Authonomy is not a crit group, although it is a good site if you want to hang out with writers. The level of critique given there is bad. Worse, it's open to the public at a time where you'd be better off giving first readers a more private way to look at your work.

Join a password-protected crit group (depending on genre), where there are no prizes, contests or whatever, but where reading each other's work is the focus.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,056 Posts
Patty Jansen said:
Authonomy is not a crit group, although it is a good site if you want to hang out with writers. The level of critique given there is bad. Worse, it's open to the public at a time where you'd be better off giving first readers a more private way to look at your work.

Join a password-protected crit group (depending on genre), where there are no prizes, contests or whatever, but where reading each other's work is the focus.
This sounds like good advice, and I am googling in another window as we...speak? But in general, off the top of your head...where does one fine such beasts?

I suppose I should save this until I've got the draft where it needs to be. But I have been thinking / worrying about this quite a lot, so I thought I'd ask.

Thank you for the advice so far!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,651 Posts
I think writers are terrible judges of their own work, and some form of second opinion is crucial.

To produce publishable work, we must hold a contradiction in our heads at all times. We must have amazing self-belief (and a touch of arrogance) to write a story with the aim that someone will pay for it (and enjoy it) when we are done.

On the other hand, we need to be ultra self-critical to reign in our natural excesses, trim those adjectives and adverbs, and tighten our flabby prose.

Each writer needs to find the form of "second opinion" that works for them. It can be beta readers, it can be a writing group, it can be an online crit forum, but all writers need something, especially when they are starting out.

I tried writing groups, but it wasn't for me. I always found there was one stand-out talent (not me) and the rest of the group would focus on knocking them. Maybe I just never found the right group.

I have found workshops useful to a certain extent, but more when they are teaching specific techniques than actually workshopping a WIP.

Online crit groups were good for me at the start, but now that I have a few good beta readers, I prefer the more focused feedback from someone who knows your style, and what you are trying to do.

And, of course, a good editor is worth their weight in gold, but I think it's always best to send them the most finished work possible, thoroughly beta-ed, and easier on the pocket too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,056 Posts
dgaughran said:
To produce publishable work, we must hold a contradiction in our heads at all times. We must have amazing self-belief (and a touch of arrogance) to write a story with the aim that someone will pay for it (and enjoy it) when we are done.

On the other hand, we need to be ultra self-critical to reign in our natural excesses, trim those adjectives and adverbs, and tighten our
I find it helps to hold on tight. Wheeeee!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,933 Posts
The Authonomy internet writers group system of chasing a Harper Collins review can be a joke, but if you use the site correctly it can work.

I used it to post my short stories and kept changing them until I have reviews on all 12 from at least 5 authors each, who I had found I could trust not to make up comments. I then pulled Lunch Break Thrillers and self published on kindle after a professional edit.

One of the short stories, The End, or a New Dawn, made it to the finals of a competition judged by Harper Collins editors and authors. I jumped for joy when their client chose a poem and a rehashed nursery rhyme as it would have meant given away the copyright.


Survival Instinct (The dark side of dating) had over 1,000 reviews. But of those I am guessing only 200 actually read up to the first 3 chapters. The rest simply made up their comments in a positive light to gain a reciprocal backing. The importand ones were the 10 or so who read it in full. After it won its gold award I made revisions from the suggestions by the Harper Collins editor and then I put it to a professional editor and 2 rounds of proof reading before uploading on kindle.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,749 Posts
I've had different methods at different stages of my journey. I've worked alone, with a large online critique group, with one-on-one CPs, with a small intimate online critique group, blind unbiased feedback through contests, running everything through my then agent, and then later going it alone until the beta read stage, and now working with a professional freelance editor.
 
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top