2. Critique Partner: Writer’s Gold

There’s a post in this blog  To Make a Lot of Money in Indie Publishing.

Here’s the first rule:

1. Write a good book

If you’re with a big publisher, your critique partner should be your editor. But you don’t have that. So the first lesson is the most difficult: FIND A CRITIQUE PARTNER.

This is not a reader. This is not your friend or family or guy at the bar. This has to be a writer. And besides being a writer, they have to be as good as you are – or close. Not a lot better, because that’s a teacher or mentor. Not a lot worse, they won’t have anything to offer.

You need someone like yourself. They don’t have to write your genre, but they do have to have the same kind of talent, commitment and attitudes toward the work. And be willing to work as hard for you as you do for them.

It’s gold.

A reader might say, “I got confused here.” A writer is going to say, “I think you need to make more of a point that Fred limps or remind us, I totally didn’t get this because I forgot.”

A reader may not be willing to criticize at all, except to find typos. A writer will say, “Way too long getting into the story, save some of this for later in the chapter, the reader doesn’t need it now.”

Writers say:

  • “You already told us this.”
  • “Your MC has a shrugging disorder.”
  • “Maybe break up the narrative here?”
  • “This is perfect.”

They know what’s wrong and what works. And when you return the favor, you’ll know for them because they will do a lot of the same shit you do. You should be praising each other and getting in each other’ faces.Depositphotos_109794890 300px

Finding a critique partner is about as hard as finding a unicorn for a threesome. I found my first (and only) one by reading someone’s posts on a writers board and realizing she was talented and bright and serious and acerbic.

Perfect!

I approached her and we traded work on Google DOCS — always use a format where you can chat back and forth — and she was all I wanted: a smart fault-finding bitch. It was great, she couldn’t wait to explain to me why what I wrote was wrong. Even better, when I said, “I was trying to do X here…” she’d give me a couple ways to do it. I didn’t necessarily use them, but they sparked ideas.

I may have seemed the same to her, but she did love my work on her work. The relationship fell apart because she didn’t want to spend her time on my stuff. She wanted to spend her money to pay me to read her stuff.

But I didn’t need money, I needed a critique partner. She finally went off and signed with some service she paid $600/month to, to edit and promote her books. About 6k of her money later, the company got busted, her FB account cancelled and all her book reviews removed from Amazon.

I wasn’t kidding last time when I said

TOO MUCH MONEY IS A POX ON YOUR HOUSE

For $600 a month they found all her typos and told her how great she was. What we need is another writer to share this shit with and make it better. And you can’t buy that.


More of this series and related posts in INDIE PUBLISHING

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