To celebrate her amazing debut YA Contemporary novel, SONG OF SUMMER, Laura Lee Anderson is doing a blog tour. She’s graciously agreed to stop by my little blog and share her thoughts about critique partners. Personally, I had trouble finding a good fit. I swapped with a few critique partners before finding someone I really clicked with. Since then, I’ve slowly added to my CP circle. Every day, I am grateful for my luck in finding them. I can honestly say I would be nowhere near the writer I am without my critique partners. So, I present to you:
Before I was getting published, I was trying to get published. When I first started writing, I read all of these blogs that referred to CPs and Betas and had no idea what they were talking about, so I’ll do a little de-coding in case you’re in the boat:
- CP (Critique Partner): A critique partner is a writer with whom you swap books and/or chapters- they read yours and you read theirs. Their feedback is usually pretty in-depth and the relationship is often a lasting one.
- Beta (Beta Reader): A beta reader is someone who gives feedback after reading through your whole book. They don’t necessarily have to be writers, either- someone in your target market is a great beta reader. They give feedback as an everyday person who is reading your book, and often on the larger themes rather than sentence-level things.
So what exactly do my CPs do for me? They show me what’s working and what’s not working in my story. They look for plot holes and fixes. They give me their impressions of my characters. They tear my book apart at a sentence level to get it submission-ready. A good CP is worth her (or his) weight in gold. Here are some ways to find one:
- Go to conferences: Seriously. So many people go to conferences to find an agent and/or promote their book, but you really should go to connect with other writers! I was a writing island until I went to the (now online-only) Backspace Conference and met some YA writing buddies. If you want to know who they are, check the Acknowledgments of SONG OF SUMMER. I owe all of my editing skill to those ladies.
- Do the #CPMatch on Twitter: Everyone mark your calendars NOW for the #CPMatch hosted by @MeganGrimit on July 11th! Go here to learn all the details. Basically, all day on that day, you tweet a super-short pitch about your book and include some nifty shorthand to tell what kind of CP you’re looking for and what kind of CP you are. If you don’t know what kind of CP you are/are looking for, do it anyway!
- Do Maggie Stiefvater’s CP Match on her blog here: It’s kind of the long-form version of the Twitter match-up: You post information about you and your book, and you look for someone else who looks interesting!
- Join (OR CREATE!) a local writing group. These are a bit out of most introverted writers’ comfort zones, but are so worth it. Local critique partners can meet with you for coffee to discuss your book, instead of spending hours composing the perfect email that doesn’t offend you. To find other writers in your area, search Twitter for profiles, go to a NaNoWriMo get-together, join a localized writing group (like Pennwriters or an SCBWI writing chapter), or even check meetup.com!
And now that you’ve found a CP, here’s how to keep her (or him) around: CP Blog Hop 2: Five Ways to Be a Good Critique Partner. This Literary Life, Nicole Tone
CP Blog Hop 3: How to Give Good Feedback. Laura Lee Anderson
About the author:
Laura Lee Anderson’s debut YA Contemporary novel, SONG OF SUMMER is being released by Bloomsbury Spark on July 7th, 2015 (That’s TOMORROW!).