Monday, 4 May 2009

To critique or not to critique

Someone told me recently that before I sent the first three chapters, synopsis covering letter etc out that I should get the book professionally critiqued. I just wondered if any of you could advise me either way on this one.


Annie Wicking said...

Well, GBW can you afford it?
I didn't when I sent my novel off to a publisher last year. They gave me great feedback which is why I'm busy working on my novel.

If I could afford to do it, would I?
maybe, but what if your work is still rejected, what then?

Karen said...

I'm a devil for having my work critiqued, and have succumbed several times, but if you do go ahead be wary.

Bear in mind that you're never going to get a definitive opinion about the quality of your work. What one critique-er might call your strengths another might call weaknesses and what one finds sharp and witty, another might read as boring. You can end up confused, wondering whether to start again - which might be a good thing, but then again might not be!! Not much help, I know.

If you do decide to go ahead though, I can personally recommend Tracey Culleton at The Fiction Writer's Mentor (listed under favourite links on my blog) who is very fair and reasonably
priced. The Hilary Johnson Advisory Service and The Literary Consultancy both have a good reputation too, but are more expensive.

Maybe someone else will have some suggestions, but good luck whatever you decide to do :o)

Karen said...

It's only me again! Just wanted to add that explaining what you want from your critique - because you'll have some idea of what your weaknesses are, whether it's dialogue, pacing or character consistency - would help keep it focused :o)

Gonna be a writer said...

Thanks for that ladies.
I don't have money to throw away - who does - but I think that I would pay it if I thought that I would get value for money and that it would make a difference. Thanks for the recommendations Karen. At least I have someone to consider if I decide to go down that road. You say that you are a devil for getting your work critiqued so you must feel that it helps.
I know it would still have been disappointing that your book wasn't taken on Annie, but detailed feedback from the publisher must have felt great.
I'll have a think. It's not finished yet anyway, so I've got a while.

Annie Wicking said...

Yes, I was upset but I'm glad they didn't because I've taken their advice onboard and improved my book ten-fold.

Good luck with your writing, my dear friend.

Sharon McPherson: AUTHOR / ARTIST said...

I wonder if you might like to read my post of yesterday - 'Writer's Crisis of Confidence - 5 Things' - regards your dilema: to do or not, not having money to throw away etc. It's a lighthearted, philosophical view ... may make you laugh.

Gonna be a writer said...

Glad you took it on the chin Annie - it really is the only way.
I certainly will have a look Sharon -thanks

Leigh Russell said...

I certainly would never consider paying anyone to critique my work, partly because I wouldn't have the knowhow to select the most appropriate editor, and good editors are hardly likely to look at unpublished individuals. I can promise you, publishers are queuing up to pay for the services of good editors. They're like gold dust and very expensive.

Of course any MS has to be professionally edited. The best way forward is to find a publisher who will pay an editor familiar with your genre of writing. If you oversee this yourself, you might end up paying someone who doesn't specialise in your kind of writing and isn't up to date with current trends in the market. And if your writing isn't contemporary, your chances of finding a publisher will disappear. With the best of intentions and oodles of editing skill, the wrong editor could damage your chances of finding a publisher. My advice? Show the publishers your raw talent and let them be responsible for the choice of editor. They're the experts.

Gonna be a writer said...

That's a good point Leigh.

Annie Wicking said...

Hi GBW, Thank you for your comment on my blog. I don't know quite what happened but I posted it and it's disappeared. I'm glad you have a copy of the magazine. I'm so chuffed that it's the star letter, it almost like getting the ManBooker without the

Good luck with all your writing projects, my dear friend.

Gonna be a writer said...

That manBooker could be yours one day Annie. You've just got to reach for it.