How To Find The Perfect Person To Critique Your Book

By on September 7, 2018
How To Find The Perfect Person To Critique Your Book - Writer's

One of the most important things any writer can do for themselves is get some feedback on their work. It might be scary, and hugely daunting to let someone else read what you've written. However, the sooner you get initial feedback, the better.

Writers who choose not to share their work with anyone run the risk of writing an entire novel only for someone to point out a fundamental mistake. We are often so immersed in our stories that we can’t see flaws that may be apparent to other people.

Getting feedback also helps the writer understand what they need to work on, where they might need to rethink plot points, whether their characters are working and what the good and not so good bits are.

Of course, you don’t have to take every point on board, but without getting someone to critique your work, you can’t be sure you are heading in the right direction.

But who should you choose? It’s effortless, not to mention convenient, to pick a person who you know will give you a glowing report. Your best friend, your mum, that person that you know has a massive crush on you, someone who owes you a favour…! However, getting feedback about your writing is pointless unless you know it’s a genuine and honest review of your work.

So here is how to find the perfect person to critique your work.

Someone who knows you

There is nothing wrong with asking someone who knows you to critique your work; but if you do you need to make sure that your relationship with that person doesn't get in the way of how they honestly feel about your work. If you know that they are the kind of person that couldn’t bear to hurt your feelings, then there isn’t any point. Someone who knows you will want to like your book, and will look for positives and words of encouragement, and there is nothing wrong with that, as long as they can constructively point out where you need to change things too.

A stranger

Finding someone who doesn’t know you to critique your work can be a way of knowing for sure you are getting an honest opinion. A person who doesn’t know you has nothing to lose by telling you the brutal truth about your book. There are many writing forums out there where writers can exchange their work and give one another feedback. Of course, most have rules about giving criticism only if it is constructive, so you don’t have to worry about someone being too cruel, but simultaneously be prepared to hear perhaps things you don’t want to.

A professional

Getting a professional editor to critique your work is ideal. They have the experience, knowledge and skill to give you a thorough and in-depth review of what needs to change, what works and what doesn’t. However, unless you happen to be connected with someone in the industry you are likely to have to pay for this service.

A group

Joining a writing group can be hugely beneficial for so many reasons. One of them is that you get to share your work with a group of fellow writers who know exactly how to give useful feedback that you can choose to take on board or not. Joining a writing group also means you get several different opinions which is always helpful too.

Your readers

If you already have an established readership, an email list or fanbase why not test out your new work on them? They’ll be more than happy to give you their opinion and are worth listening to as they are the ones most likely to buy your book after all!

Whoever you choose to critique your book, make sure that you do it early on, and don’t just do it once either. The more feedback you get, the more you can rest assured that you are on the right track, that there is a readership out there, and ultimately that you are giving your book the very best chance of success.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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