Finding a Critique Group, Critique Partner, or Beta Reader

There are hundreds — probably even thousands — of places for you to find a crit partner… And that’s just online. You could physically find a reader (haha, physical — who actually moves in the real world anymore?) at the bookstore, your local book club, your regional RWA chapter, a community college course, a pre-established writer’s group in your area, etc.

If you prefer the online route (as I do since I don’t live in my native country), your options for finding a crit partner, crit group, or beta reader are practically endless. Many communities have been set up with the sole purpose of critiquing. These communities require you to critique other writers’ work in order to receive critiques on your own work. This can be very effective, but you’re also likely to get inconsistent results. I don’t mean bad results, but the readers won’t have the same point of view or they may disagree. With a single crit partner, you at least know your reader’s analysis will be consistent each time.

There is also the possibility of starting your own group. Check out this great article on how to get started creating a writer’s workshop.

If you’re hoping to go the already-established-route, then look no further.

Some online places to look for crit groups/partners:

(These I have used)

  • YALitChat
    • This online community for writers of YA fiction is where I found my current crit partner, Holly. There’s a group here called “Crit Seekers” — check it out!
  • Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy
    • One giant, online crit group for a low annual fee. It’s huge (and can be daunting), but some very well-known, very established writers are on here and swear by it!
  • RWA (and any RWA chapter)
    • If you write romance, then this is the place to start. With so many special interest and regional chapters, you’re sure to find another writer in your niche.
  • SavvyAuthors
    • A great online community for networking, workshopping, and (you betcha) critiquing.
  • Miss Snark’s First Victim
    • Authoress regularly hosts contests or events that allow people to post the first 50, 250, or 1000 words of their manuscript for review.
  • FictionPress
    • I used to be apart of this enormous community, but that was back when I had braces, I thought N’SYNC was cool, and dinos still roamed the earth in letterman jackets. From what I hear these days, this community is still strong, supportive, and effective.

(These I have not used)

As you can see, the possibilities are almost infinite, and you might have a few faulty starts and unproductive relationships. Finding a good crit parnter, crit group, or beta reader takes time. Just remember:

  • Contrary to popular belief, writing is not a solitary profession.
  • Critiquing is about helping another writer improve.
  • Critiquing is not about boosting your self-esteem, getting validation, or taking your anger out on someone else. (That may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t even realize their own motivation.)
  • Not everyone will like your stuff.
  • Your crit partner may not like your stuff all the time.
  • You can’t get better without making mistakes.
  • You can’t get better without acknowledging your mistakes and trying to fix them.
  • When someone shares their story with you, they are giving you a gift, they are baring their soul, and they are trusting you to treat their work kindly. So treat their work kindly.

Happy writing, happy critiquing, and happy improving!