You’ve spent 30 hours a week, working on your book for months and/or years. You’ve revised it three different times, edited chapters along the way, and you’re finally finished.
A key question you need to ask yourself is: Who else has read your manuscript? Has a fellow writer read it yet? If not, then the revising process isn’t complete. No matter how many times you’ve read your story, or your mom’s read it, you need to have a fellow writer (or three) critique your manuscript.
Why does another writer need to read my manuscript?
You feel that your manuscript is perfect, and there nothing that can be changed. Every detail needs to be included, every chapter has a goal, the characters live vivaciously in your head, so why does another writer need to read your work? If you plan to hand your book off to an editor, you might be wasting your money if your manuscript hasn’t been critiqued by a fellow writer first.
Another writer (also called a critique partner) will be able to point out plot holes, flat characters, paragraphs with too much backstory, telling vs showing, and more. It’s hard to see these mistakes in your own work, but it’s much easier for a trusted critique partner to find them for you.
How can I find a critique partner?
Once you locate a few potential critique partners, only send them the first 3 chapters of your manuscript and ask them to send you theirs (This is a good way to gauge their experience, commitment, and make sure they’re an actual writer). Once you critique each other’s chapters, you’ll have a good idea if you like their critique style and advice. If you both agree to stick with each other, then send them the rest of your manuscript and suggest a deadline to finish.
After you receive feedback from a critique partner
Once you receive feedback on your entire manuscript, read all of their opinions and corrections. Revise your manuscript accordingly, and then decide whether you plan to query agents/publishers or pursue self-publishing. If you plan to go the traditional route of contacting agents, then start by writing a query and synopsis for your submission package. If you plan to self-publish, then find an editor for your manuscript.
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