Chasing my crazy dream in the writing world…

Writers: Don’t Go It Alone March 29, 2013

I recently read a post on a writing forum where a person was rejoicing after getting a full request.  It was awesome! The author got so many comments of congratulations and I loved it. But then as I read further down in the thread my stomach started to knot. The person had written the entire MS and queried it without any beta readers or critique partners.


Now don’t get me wrong, this author could be the next Hemingway for all I know, but in my personal opinion not having another person look at your manuscript is NOT the best idea.  Even if the story is pristine, it could always use another set of eyes to locate a misspelled word or a missing comma.  Or on a grander scale, where the dialogue is awkward or the pacing slow.


My point?  It always helps to have other people look at your work.  Sure your sister and Grandma can give you great feedback, but what really helps is having another writer take a look at your manuscript.  Someone who understands the ferocity of the publishing world and can help you make your work a hundred, maybe even a thousand times better!


So where do you find a beta reader or critique partner?


1) You can start on the writing forums like AgentQueryConnect or AbsoluteWrite and a new one I recently found, CP Seek.


2) YA writer Maggie Stiefvater has a critique partner hook-up on her website as does literary agent, Mary Kole.


3) Local writing associations like Romance Writers of America (RWA) and The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) also have local websites which allow you to connect with other writers in your community.


4) Twitter is an amazing place to find like minds! Just type in #amwriting or #writingtip and you’ll see how many talented authors tweet every day. Some may even offer up tweets looking for critique help.


The best thing about finding a really good beta reader or a critique partner? They get you.  They understand the daunting process of getting published and can be a great source of not only inspiration, but support as you write the next amazing novel.


Fellow writers, do you know of other sources where a writer can find a beta reader or critique partner? If so, let me know in the comments!


19 Responses to “Writers: Don’t Go It Alone”

  1. kateywrites Says:

    Thanks for this information. I have checked out a few of your posts and have found them to be very helpful and, best of all, realistic. So many people offer endless encouragement without advice, or positive feedback without critique, that it can be hard to find reality as a new writer. I appreciate you sharing honest, experienced and well-researched info!

  2. Hi! I picked a couple of entries on your site to have a read of, and the information you provide is very helpful =)

    I have got in early for the NaNoWriMo 2013 program, so I will need to investigate the ‘beta buddy’ that deshipley mentioned.

    A fellow writer I correspond with noted as a place he uses. A lot of the writers are rookies looking for some encouragement to keep their motivation in positive figures, but there are some experienced writers and the opportunity to put your work up for critique.

    Keep up the good work =)

  3. […] tell you how many mistakes my eyes skim over when I’m reading my own writing. With beta readers, they will pick up grammatical errors as well as scenes that aren’t even […]

  4. Ladies Who Critique has been invaluable to me!

  5. Kim Says:

    I fan my first beta reader on AW’s form. We’ve parted ways since — he focuses on Adult and I’m a YA girl. But it led to joining an online critique group that I’m still a part of. From that group I’ve gotten three really wonderful beta readers. SCWBI has been another amazing resources.

    I’ve never heard of the CP Seek until today though. I’m fan of Maggie Stiefvater, so I’ll have to check out her post. Great post!

  6. Say it 🙂 I found most of mine on AQC, and a few on Falling For Fiction. Boy, howdy, do they find the rough spots! Thank goodness, too. I ❤ my CPs and BRs.

  7. I stumbled upon the matchelor at fallingforfiction, it’s over now but maybe they’ll do it again next year? I think they have other little get-together type things that go on too though.

  8. deshipley Says:

    I found beta buddy in the forums of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) website. (:

  9. faithandrews Says:

    Best advice ever! I DID do this too. I queried my first found w/o ever having CPs. I found my CPs after and they are invaluable! I consider them good friends now and my manuscript thanks them for it! I ended up getting a rejection on that request for a full, but I’ve gotten 3 more full requests since (2 nos 😦 but I’m still trying). CPs are a writers eat friend and I suggest that every writer, new or old, had at least 2!!!

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