Tags: writing groups

Do I have to blog? The curse of the writer’s platform

by Amber Keyser
Published on: March 12, 2015
Categories: Business of Writing
Comments: No Comments

1188800347_z1One piece of advice that many, many pre-published writers hear is that they need to develop their online presence. They need a platform.

Ugh.

Most of us hate that.

But we love books, right? The logical first stab at blogging is often to review books that we read. Before you jump on this bandwagon, I offer a few words of caution.

First, this weird, wild world of interwebs that we inhabit has dissolved the traditional boundaries of publishing. There used to be a clear demarcation between readers and writers and reviewers, between editors and agents, between publishers and the rest of us. These lines have blurred. Many agents are “editorial.” Many editors also write. Some agencies have set up their own in-house publishing wings.

And this brings me to book reviews.

I don’t write them. Ever. I will tell you when I love a book. I will beg you to run out a buy a book that I adore (like OKAY FOR NOW by Gary Schmidt). But I don’t give stars and I don’t review. Let me tell you why.

Writing useful, constructive, intelligent reviews that analyze the craft within the pages is HARD. It takes skill, experience, and time. The reviewers who do this well are GOLDEN. If I were going to review, I would be compelled to be that kind of reviewer. But that would take immense time and energy away from writing my actual books.

Many reviews that you will stumble upon are of a different sort. They are a reader’s opinion, based not so much on analysis but on feelings and impressions and person connections. This is cool too. I love it when a reader connects with something I’ve written, but it’s different from a literary review. And there are so many of these blogs out there, that you will find it hard to make your voice heard among them. If you are doing this as a writer trying to build a platform, it probably won’t get you very far.

The other reason I don’t review books is that the book community is small and these people are my friends. I want to support them as artists more than I want to publicly critique their work.

But back to platform… do you have to blog?

No.

I blog very infrequently on my main website, usually about experiences or thoughts that get lodged in my brain and require a little noodling on my part. I don’t have the illusion that this will win me millions of followers, but it will give the interested few a peek into my weird head.

We blog here because we saw a need. So many people over the years have asked us if we had room in our group (Sadly, we don’t) that we decided to lift the veil on our process so that other writers could look inside. This isn’t a platform for any of us. It’s a service. We’re trying to meet a need that we observed.

As you are thinking about building your base as as writer, think about what you have share, what need you could fill, and what would be fun for you to explore. Being online as a writer is about building relationships. There’s no need to force it.

And find me — on Twitter, on Goodreads, or on my author FB page! I love to connect with other story-tellers and other readers!

Brilliant editor Emma Dryden cooks up the perfect critique group

by Amber Keyser
Published on: October 11, 2013
Categories: Critique Process
Comments: No Comments

 

Emma Dryden of drydenbks was my editor for the still-not-out-yet (sigh) novel THE HUNT FOR MARA LAYIL so I know first hand that she is smart, insightful, and deeply creative.

I loved this post from her blog about critique groups.  She describes the Scrivas perfectly!

Emma was kind enough to let me share her entire post here but check out her blog and website and definitely follow her on Twitter.  She has a wealth of expertise and is generous in sharing it.

 

Are You Being Served? A Recipe for a Great Critique Group

 Ingredients
– 2-12 dedicated authors (can be of different genres & formats; can be of same genre & format)
– heaping doses of imagination
– heaping doses of respect
– heaping doses of sensitivity
– liberal doses of gentle honesty (if you opt for brutal, critique group will become too tough and hard to swallow)
– open-mindedness and creative flexibility
– willingness to ask questions and listen to answers
– generous sprinkles of laughter (can use hysteria and guffaws if desired)
– timer (enables fair attention paid to each author)
 cough drops & water (enables requisite read-alouds)
– bathroom & stretch breaks
– delicious food
– comfortable setting (a cozy setting is even better, if you can find it)
– wine or spirits (for after critiques are completed! Some may find wine or spirits appropriate during, but proceed with caution)
– optional: friendly dog and/or cat; fireplace; views (ocean, woodland, mountains, etc.); anything else to enhance experience
_______________
Directions:
Gather ingredients together on a regular basis. Stir with professionalism, exuberance, imagination, and inspiration. Surprises may result. Quiet moments of reflection may be required. Questions can be asked for which there may be no immediate or clear answers. That’s ok. Allow for staying open to possibilities; critique groups vary based upon the ratio and balance of ingredients.
Caution: If each author doesn’t feel heard and respected, the ratio of ingredients has gone awry and you will most assuredly want to double-check your recipe.
Note: Every once in a while, it’s a good idea to add a one-time ingredient to this recipe, such as a professional editor or published author who will provide a new voice and perspective to the discussion – this can best be achieved over a weekend. For a sample taste of this sort of enhanced group experience, go to this post from the Route 19 Writers blog.
This recipe serves many, including a richer society of writers and readers.
(c) emma d dryden, drydenbks LLC
page 1 of 1

Welcome , September 26, 2017