Lately I have read several comments from writers on my LinkedIn groups on the importance, (or not importance) of having a critique partner and joining workshops and writers groups. First off, I want to say they are all equally important for the success of your book.
Whether you are already published or working on your first novel, all these supportive aspects will be the difference on the quality of your novel. Of course, the one other thing that will make or break your novel is professional editing.
I have met plenty of authors, whom even after becoming published, still have a critique partner and go to their monthly meetings or workshops. I believe it is essential to the quality of your work. I actually joined a national romance writer's group, not because I am a romance writer, but because of the camaraderie, support and information. Yes, I do have romantic elements in my story, but this group is not just romance writers, there are all sorts of genre's involved in this group. I have found out how much help and advice means the difference on the success of a novel and even the success of your platform.
Quite a few of the author's have each other as guests on their blogs, (me included) which helps to get the word out on their upcoming novels. We even share our blog posts on each other's Facebook sites so that more people get to know your name and your latest novel. It has made such a difference for me.
The other helpful aspect has been joining the writing groups on LinkedIn. Great support and equally informative. I have gotten answers to all kinds of questions about self-publishing, editing, and advice about the aspect of writing it's self.
But the one thing that has been the biggest help of all has been my critique partners. Yes, that's right, I said partners. I'm not messing around, I have 5 partners! My first partner was Robin, and her and I struggled together learning the different skills and techniques to help each other out. Then came along Janet, who has been a tremendous help in editing. (I personally think she could make a career at it). She joined Robin and I and we are a great trio. Then, after joining HODRW, Hearts of Denver Romance Writers, I became involved with their newest venture, a critique group.
Since it's conception, 4 of us branched off and started our own unique group. Yes, that means I have 5 chapters to critique, but the amazing thing is, I have learned so much and I get to read their books before anyone else does, which is great!
And, last but not least, the importance of hiring a professional editor, a must!
I have read several different books from author's I've met though LinkedIn and Twitter. Some are good, some not so good. Not that the stories are bad, but the writing is distracting if it's not up to par. You can absolutely tell when someone has not taken the extra step to get their novel edited. Between grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes, and then the one that takes me over the edge, POV shifts and head hopping, it can stop me dead in my tracks!
That doesn't mean that "all" mistakes are found. I have read some published works by long time authors that have errors, but at least you can pretty much bet that 99% will be caught and fixed.
So that's my rant for the day and not to mention, my reasons why these tools are invaluable to the success of a novel. But most of all, I have met some new and great friends and they are all in the same boat as me. It's been a wonderful experience and I have grown in so many ways! Thanks to all of you! You are extremely appreciated!
One more thing before I sign off, tomorrow I am posting a special blog for my new friend and author, Lori Corsentino. She has a new novel out and I think it's her first one written alone. (her last one was written with two other author's). She is a great lady and I love her humor and style. Please come and visit tomorrow and leave her a comment or question after reading all about her new book. She will have a contest for comments and believe me, she gives away great prizes! I hope you take a little time out and come to my blog tomorrow and check it out!
Have a great rest of your week all!