In the beginning of my journey I felt it would be great to find a local critique group that I could meet with on a regular basis and talk about our books. There wasn't one to be found in my area. Not a free one anyway. I tried to start one. There's not enough time to tell you what a bust that was!
I knew other people swapped chapters by email, but the thought of sending an electronic copy of my MS to someone I only knew online terrified me.
What if they stole my idea and finished something better--faster than me--and sold it to an agent before I could? There were a few other fears, such as:
- what if they hate it?
- what if they love it?
- what if they tell me its utter trash?
- what if they laugh at me?
- what if they never write me back?
- what if I hate the chapters they send to me?
Last October I participated in a free online conference hosted by a small publisher. (The Muse Writers Online Conference will be Oct 3-9 of this year.) They have classes on just about every aspect of the publishing world and you get the opportunity to pitch to small publishers.
Pitching was/is another huge fear with me, but I took advantage of the opportunity. It was a wonderful (and terrifying) experience. And I learned from it. I also received a partial and a full request. Let me share with you an email I received afterward.
The owners were very nice and listed a few items I could work on. And then there was this.
For me, Charity, I suggest you expand your use of a critique partner or even a group. The more people (with critiquing experience) who get their eyes on your book, the more potential you will have for growth.I believe this is true for all of us. Let's deal with our fears this week so we can start trying out critique partners.
For today, tell me what your greatest fear is about swapping chapters.
Tomorrow we will talk about HOW to give an honest but kind critique. I'll also open up my email box for submissions. You can send up to 350 words of ANY scene that you know something isn't working, but you just can't figure out what. This can be from a finished or unfinished WIP. Submit to email@example.com and include Fearful Critique in the subject line.
Name (will be removed before posting)
Brief intro or question you would like us to look at while reading.
350 word submission.
Wednesday the submissions will go up on this site with my critique and be open for your critiques. Think of it as an audition for your future crit partners.
Thursday we will talk about how to deal with the critiques we've received.
Friday I'll call for people who would like to try swapping first chapters and match you up.
Sound like a plan? Let's do this!