On my own blog Monday I wrote about how awesome my crit partners are and how it's essential to have a good working relationship with your crit partners because they tend to do much more than just critique your work.
Well, throughout yesterday, I got a few emails and a comment on the post asking me where I found my CPs and is there anywhere I recommend going for them. And it got me thinking that it might be worthwhile to do a post about that. I know when I was looking for CPs, I was at a loss to where to find one. So, I hope you'll bear with me with this post.
First some upfront caveats, I'm sure there are many, many other options than the ones I'm going to be listing, but I've personally used each and everyone of these websites and had good experiences with them, so that's why I'm mentioning them. As with all things personal, your mileage may vary.
Tred carefully with finding new partners. Make sure you're a good fit and be very explicit of what you're looking for. Also, it's a good idea to find out how thick your skin is and what kind of crit you're ready for. In the beginning, my skin was really thin and the tiniest bit of criticism hurt, but I gritted my teeth and now i'm fairly certain I can take a harsh crit. Although, I will admit, I've had crits recently that have made me cry. So, know your tolerance level.
Okay, that being said, lets get into the good stuff. The list of websites I used to find my own crit partners.
Absolutewrite.com--This is an excellent place for learning the ropes about all sides of publishing including finding beta readers and crit partners. They're also great for researching agents/publishers and everything in between. They DO have a place to "show your work," but make sure you're ready for all kinds of critiques. I have found that while they're intentions are in the right place and most have great advice, they tend to be a bit harsh in their crits.
YaLitchat--a lot of you already know about this website, but for those of you who don't. it's a website designed specifically for writers of YA. They have a wide range of members there. From newbies to NYT best-selling authors, agents, and editors. They're a great resource for finding writing friends and CPs, (which is where I found all the lovely ladies on this blog. :) ) and they have places to help perfect query letters and synopsis', not to mention the first few pages of your MS. They also have actual teens willing to read and give feedback, among many, many more things. I'm still finding my way around there, but even with only the free membership you get a lot of great things.
Verla Kay's blueboards--It's similar to absolutewrite, but stricter on what is allowed there and what's not. Which is excellent, IMHO, because you won't run into some of the train wrecks that can take place on the AW boards. But this, like yalitchat is only for children's books writers. The people here are again from all aspects of writing. From newbies, to NYT bestsellers, agents, editors, and everyone in between. And EVERYONE is awesomely nice. You really coudln't find a greater group of people.
And lastly, weBook. Now I know this is a display site, so there are more caveats with this one than the others. I got a really great reaction to the parts of stories I had placed here when I was first starting and so in that regard, it was really great for me because I needed the boost to my self-esteem. I also found my best friend and first CP who showed me the ropes of writing. I found a lot of great writers there actually, but they've made some changes to things since I left after getting my agent. And I don't agree with a lot of them. There is something there called agent-in-box. I HIGHLY recommend NOT using that service if you're querying. There's no need. Everything you'd be paying them to do, you can do for free on your own. Also, if you do place some of your work online, be careful. There are a lot of things that can go wrong with that, so just keep that in mind.
Okay, this post has gotten a bit long, so I'll end here, but feel free to leave me any questions you have in the comments. I'll be more than happy to answer them. And if I get a lot of the same questions, I'll probably do a post on it, so please feel free to ask me anything.