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5 Tips for Choosing a Critique Group as a Self-Publishing Author

Critique groups are an excellent way for self-publishing authors to get feedback on their stories, but finding the right group can be tricky. Here are five tips to help self-publishing authors find the best critique group for them.

1. Consider Size

Finding the right-sized critique group is important. Larger groups may offer less frequent opportunities for critiques and require more investment from the self-publishing author as they critique many works from their fellows. Groups that are too small might not have enough people to offer helpful feedback to the self-publishing author.

2. Diversity

A critique group with people of different backgrounds will bring more to the table than a less diverse group. Self-publishing authors should try to choose critique groups with members of different ages, genders, socio-economic backgrounds, etc. This will allow the most valuable critiques.

3. Meeting Frequency

For a critique group to function, members must give and receive. The self-publishing author should consider whether the requirements of being an active group member coincide with their lifestyle. A critique group that meets weekly and offers two critiques per session might be too much of a time investment for a self-publishing author working a day job and caring for a family. How much time and energy the self-publishing author can invest in the group should be a critical factor in their choice.

A Group of self-publishing authors around a table offering critiques

4. Compatibility

Some groups are harsher with their criticisms than others. One self-publishing author might want the group to brutally tear their story apart because they know readers won’t hold back. Another self-publishing author may wish to give general feedback such as plot holes, flat characters, and inconsistent settings but doesn’t find harsh criticism useful in their writing process. Before joining a critique group, the self-publishing author should attend a session or two as a guest, if permitted, to see if the level of criticism is compatible with their needs and personality.

5. Genre

Self-publishing authors typically get the most from critique groups familiar with their genre. A specialized critique group can give feedback on things like reader expectations of tropes that a general critique group might be less aware of. Similarly, a self-publishing author may find it easier to offer critiques on a genre they are familiar with than one they have never written in and have no interest in.

Finding an ideal critique group can help self-publish authors polish their manuscripts perfectly. Once it’s perfected, it’s ready to publish!

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