Finding a Critique Partner: insights and an opportunity to start your search NOW!
Critique partners. They are such an important resource for any writer. A sounding board. An honest opinion. A critical eye.
I've seen many writers make the analogy that finding the right critique partner is a lot like dating. You have to go on a lot of dates before you find The One.
If you're on the hunt for a critique partner, chances are you want one who writes the same genre as you (YA vs MG vs you get the point) and needs the same type of feedback you're looking for (big picture thoughts only vs nitty, gritty line edits). If you have enough in common, you might go on a first date. Not everyone that is a match on paper is a match IRL, though, and for this reason, it's always safest to trade a chapter or two before exchanging full mss with a new CP. Swap a few pages, give each other feedback, and feel things out. Are you enthusiastic about his/her work? Were you able to provide the type of feedback they were looking for? Did you find their feedback on your ms helpful? Professional? Timely? If everything seems to be flowing, trade a few more pages (ahem--keep dating). Maybe you've found The One. If not, part ways and continue the search! There's a big sea of writers out there, and I'm positive your match is waiting.
But how do you even find someone to go on that first date with? Now that is the question!
The internet is an amazing, amazing tool. There are a number of writing communities out there that are great places to start meeting other writers, all without having to leave your house. YALitChat, Savvy Author, and Absolute Write, for instance. Some even have dedicated areas/forum threads for finding a CP! Professional organizations like SCBWI are another great outlet for meeting writers. NaNo, as well, is full of potential critique partners--especially this time of year!
Speaking from personal experience with CP searches, I can't say enough about the online writing community. I found my critique partner through an agent's blog a little over two years ago. The agent posted about the importance of CPs, why every writer needs one, etc, etc, and then turned the comments over to us blog readers. She encouraged us to share a bit about our work and our CP needs in hopes that we'd meet others with similar needs. I ended up trading pages with a few different writers and one was the perfect match for me. We're still working together today! (A writing love story! ;))
So in order to jump-start your search, I want to do that same thing for you, right here on Pub(lishing) Crawl.
If you're looking for a critique partner, leave the following in the comments:
One-line pitch for your book
Genre and sub-genre (eg: YA sci-fi)
Critique needs (eg: big picture feedback vs line edits)
Your name and email -- note: be sure to write out the @ and . in your email so the bots don't get to it. eg: you[at]yours[dot]com
So leave your info below. Reach out to anyone who seems like a good match for your needs. We (the PubCrawl gals) will NOT be coordinating pairings or putting people in touch--that's on your shoulders--so don't be shy. The search for the right CP is rarely quick, or easy, but you can't find The One if you never start looking for them!
For further reading on critique partners, check out this thorough (and fabulous) blog post from Beth Revis.
Good luck, all! :)