Too many writers overlook the benefits of obtaining feedback on their work before contacting agents or publishers or choosing to self-publish their books. I can’t think of a more direct route to rejection than being impervious to suggestions and criticism. Mature writers, regardless of age, are those who handle feedback graciously and are willing to change in response to valid criticism.
It’s true that not all commentary is helpful, and too much criticism can be confusing, but surely zero product testing is not the solution. I continue to recommend that writers find comfortable, but not too comforting, critique partners or writing groups to help polish their manuscripts before they query editors or agents.
Meetup and Facebook are two sites where writers can find or establish a critique group that meets in person. I’ve also updated a previous post listing more than two dozen online critique groups for writers.
I’d like to know if anyone has another suggestion for finding a good writers’ group. Feel free to post links along with comments.
[Updated on February 17, 2009: Agent Chip MacGregor offers good advice about the value of critique groups. Updated again on November 10, 2009: More good advice from Chip MacGregor about creating a critique group.]