Group vs. Public Sharing
Critique groups generally consist of writers with like interests. Positive friendships and bonds form between members. We help each other learn through information sharing.
There are three basic levels of privacy for a critique group:
- Personal info — family, finances, politics and religion. These are best kept at home and not discussed or recorded online.
- Group info — group projects, member full names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and drafts of material to be reviewed by the critique group. This type of information can be recorded in documents on Google Drive or Drop Box since security is pretty good unless other members share files outside the group.
- Public info — items that are appropriate on a book cover or its front matter. This type of member information can be made public on a website. Specific help for writers of a given genre is a perfect subject for a website of a critique group. Writers like to write about their craft.
However, be very careful to avoid adding copyrighted images to blog posts or using text copied from any source. The use of many links that direct readers away from a website is not a good practice (it indicates a lack of original material).
Some of the information writers share to keep each other informed Includes:
- Book titles group members found particularly well written
- Book titles or blogs giving good advice for writers
- Local events for writers
- Book fairs looking for writers to show their books
- Valuable writing, publishing and marketing courses for writers
- Names of good cover artists and audio-book creators.
- Results of submitting writing to magazines (include the many rejections, for humor and moral support)
- Marketing techniques that work for writers
Organizing Files in Google Drive
Yes, you must organize information files manually with labels that make sense, in folders that don’t overlap subjects. Guess what? Members of a critique group don’t spend time perusing random files placed in a shared Google Drive. The file structure is primarily the job of the group leader or a selected “librarian”.
Here are some headings from our group’s archive:
- Past week’s submissions for critique
- (dated) submissions for critique
- Anthology submissions by author
- Instructions for adding to group’s blog
- Writing Resources
- Beat sheets
- Guidelines for beta readers
- Book Reviews
- Group leadership files (members etc.)
- Marketing suggestions
- Book Templates
Fellow writers are your best friends when it comes to information sharing. Remember to keep it simple and logical when sharing your knowledge.
R. C. Beckett was given a collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazines as a teenager and read hundreds of the stories — he was hooked and started writing fiction in 2013. He loves to write hard science fiction, but can’t help adding a bit of humor. Publications: “Exit Mars” and “Exit Earth” (available on Amazon). “Exit Pluto”, the third in the Exit series, should be published in late 2020. He lives in Golden Colorado and is a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Walking his dog is key to his writing since that’s when he imagines plots for his stories. He also volunteers as a webmaster for non-profit companies including SpecFicWriters.