As writers, our desire to tell stories keeps us going, full steam ahead. But every time we’re tap tapping away at the keyboard, the number one question in our minds is, will anyone like my book?
By 2017, over 1 million books had been self-published. If the story you’re writing doesn’t stand out, it will sit on that online bookstore shelf, unnoticed and lost in the mix. So if you’re feeling unsure about the stories you’ve crafted, or your book sales are dismal, here are some reasons you should join a critique group:
Stronger and Clearer Writing. No matter how many books you read or classes you take on writing, the ability to tell a clear and interesting story requires practice. A critique group is the perfect forum to improve your storytelling abilities.
Writers Encourage Writers to Finish Their Book. You’ll feel out of your comfort zone the first time you share your story at a critique session, but the feeling will quickly dissipate because writers are your support system. Everyone at a meeting has been in your shoes. They’ve achieved their goals with the help of their peers, as you will.
More Productive Writing Time. Regularly attending a weekly critique group and submitting ten pages for comments sets a habit to finish your book. Don’t risk lower word count because you’re not pushing yourself to prepare pages for critique. Keep up the pace and six months later, you’ll have a nearly complete novel.
Improved Character Development. Your writing partners get to know your characters and will guide their development through the critiquing of your work. They’re also there to provide opinions about character flaws. When it’s time to publish your book, readers will love and hate your characters just as they should.
Being Uplifted During Downtimes. Are you receiving rejection after rejection from agents? Hit a slump in book sales? Some jerk give your book a one-star review? These are just a few reasons to keep your sanity by mixing with like-minded creative types. All writers experience a roller coaster ride of career highs and lows. Meeting regularly with fellow writers will lift your spirits while everyone shares their struggles writing, publishing and marketing their books.
Knowing Writing and Publishing Trends. It’s important to know what people want to read because it changes month-to-month and year-to-year. Successful authors sell more books because they keep up with market trends. And an effective critique group also discussed what sells.
Our peers understand the psychological struggles associated with the writing process. We pick each other up during times of self-doubt and are invested in driving each other’s success. Being an active member of a critique group will lower your anxiety and remind you it’s worth pursuing your love of writing.
Wendy Spurlin is the founder of the Spec Fic Critique Group and moderates most of the critique sessions. She leads OTI Press, the publisher of the group’s anthologies, and she has recently returned to school to study graphic design and marketing. In addition, Wendy has a passion for horror movies, zombies, wine, and evil in pop culture. Originally from Chicago, she now lives in Colorado where she spend her days writing, studying, and being manipulated by 2 mischievous beagles.
Publishing under the name Winnie Jean Howard, she writes dark comical stories for all ages. Looking for a short, funny tale.? Check out Pete Sinclair’s story in the Fall for Freedom prequel to The Courier series. He’s been blamed for closing the Gates of Hell and releasing an imprisoned fallen angel by the name of Azael. Lucky for Pete, an angel’s apprentice believes he’s innocent. She offers him freedom from Satan’s forces in exchange for his help returning Azael to his prison cell. If only he and the demon who possesses him had the courage and know how to fight a fallen angel. Buy on Amazon