Posts Tagged ‘critique groups’

Hitting “Publish”

As a self-published author, I find it’s sometimes a scary thing when you are doing it all on your own. You have to make sure your manuscript is edited, you have to either create your cover or find someone willing to do it within your budget, and then you start the publishing process—all on your own!

You write your heart out, creating characters and worlds, and the self-doubt comes in. Is it good enough? Wow, that bit of writing there is awesome. I’m the greatest writer ever. Cue the Rocky theme. Then you write some more, and re-read it the next day. Wow, that bit sucks. I’m the worst writer ever. Cue Green Day’s Good Riddance.

Critique groups

I have used critique groups in the past for working out passages in my book, and this is usually the first time you’ll put your work “out there” for review, and it can be a bit scary. The members of the group will offer up ways to make your writing better. It may be as simple as changing a word for more impact, or as complicated as moving an entire sentence. As hard as it may be, don’t take it personally what they say about your writing (What? They don’t love my baby like I do?). It’s meant to be constructive and help better your story.

Beta ReadersHit publish and let it grow.

Beta readers are a great addition to your writing team at this point. They will tell you what is wrong with your book, and what is working with your story as well. They are an invaluable tool to making your story better. I have found some to be just as good as an editor—very thorough.
Recently, I published my new book with Create Space (yes, it’s still alive and kicking—for now), and every step of the way, my breathing became more shallow and rapid and my hands started shaking. Is this ready? Like, is my baby, that I’ve nurtured and cared for, written and rewritten, edited until the cows came home, really ready to be put forth into the world?

Online Reviewer

The online reviewer showed that there was one issue, but it seemed that it was already taken care of, since as I reviewed the files, I didn’t see any issues. Wow, that’s a first! I did it right the first time? Awesome.

The Proof Copy

I ordered my proof copy, because even though you can see what’s wrong in the online reviewer, having a physical copy in your hands shows a lot more issue. Whoops! My author picture inside at the end of my book is off-center. Gotta fix it! I look through the book more, making sure it is indeed ready to go. Upload the corrected files…and wait for the review of the files again. This time, no issues are found. Now, is my baby really ready to be put into the cold, cruel world of readership? [Further Reading]

Hit Publish

Well, it may never be 100% ready to go. I think any writer will tell you that they’ve found issues they should have corrected on any of their books. You could spend a lifetime making it ready to go, but for now, you hit “Publish” and let it grow in the world!


photo of margin holmesMargena Adams Holmes was born in Bellflower, CA sometime in the 1960s. She has always had a love for both reading and writing, writing her first song/poem in 1st grade.  Margena is a big supporter of indie authors and will read anything that draws her into the story. She is an observer of life, and many everyday things could (and do!) end up in her writings. Her publications are available through her author page. Contact Margena via email: 


Blast from the Past – Five Stages of Critique Group Grief

Readers, today we have a blast from the past. Cindi Madsen is a successful romance writer, you can tell her novels because they’re “Funny. Flirty. & a Little Bit Nerdy”.  Way back in 2011, Cindi shared her thoughts about Critique Group Grief, and this post stands the test of time.  See more about what Cindi is up to these days at her website.  –Gabrielle Brown, editor

I was at a writers’ workshop and a girl sitting next to me started talking about critique groups. She was in a group she wasn’t sure about, and none of the other writers were even close to her genre. In my group, we all write different genres as well. My group rocks. I think the fact we all write different genres makes us look outside the box a little more, and every writer’s goal, no matter what genre, is to write well and keep our readers hooked. Getting my work critiqued isn’t the easiest thing I’ve done—especially in the beginning when we were just getting to know each other. But I felt like I’d done all I could do on my own, and I really wanted my book to be the best it could be. That meant feedback. It wasn’t always easy, but I learned so much, so fast. My writing jumped to a new level. I started seeing the difference it made in my book.

Now we’re comfortable with each other and trust each other. Critique group is an encouraging environment where we cheer each other on, help brainstorm, and have become friends. That doesn’t mean I take every suggestion. But I always consider them. My chapters are always better afterward. Sometimes it can get a little crazy—we get passionate about each others’ characters. We feel like we know them. One night after an especially lively session, I was driving home, trying to wade through all the comments and figure out what I needed to do to make the chapters stronger. I thought about how I went through stages after critique group. So, I compared them to the five stages of grief.

Five Stages of Critique Group Grief

Denial – My stuff is awesome the way it is. They just don’t get it.

Anger – I can’t believe they’re finding problems after all the hard work, heart, and soul I put into writing this!

Bargaining – But see how if you know this, it makes it all work out. Kind of.

Depression – I give up. Everything sucks, and I worked too hard on it already. I don’t think I can look at it again. It’s never going to be finished.

Acceptance – Okay, it needs some work, and after some time brainstorming, I think—no, I can—do better. This is what critique groups are for; to get input and make my book the best it can be. It’s going to take some work, but I will fix this!

Cindi Madsen sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to by a new pair. She lives in Colorado with her husband and three children, and is a member of PPW and PPRW. You can check out her blog at