Monthly Archives: August 2013

Critique Groups

Something I have not talked about yet is the value of critique groups.

First off, it is important to know what a critique group is, or even more importantly, what it is not. It is not a group of your friends telling you what a good writer you are. It is also not a firing squad for writers, unless that is what the writer really needs. A critique group is a collection of fellow writers, perhaps even editors, who all submit material for review from the whole group. It is best if the people in the group are not well acquainted so they will feel more free to give honest opinions. Needless to say, it is not for the faint of heart. Before you go to such a group, make sure you are prepared emotionally to receive honest opinions of your work, even if those opinions are negative. And some will be.

Finding critique groups is not that difficult. Usually a simple Google search of something like “Denver critique groups” will do the trick. If you live someplace rural, or are not able to travel about easily for one reason or another, you may want to consider on-line critique groups. Rather than face-to-face, they conduct everything via email. Whichever way you go the result is about the same.

One of the best parts of critique groups is getting the feedback you need to make your writing better. But there are a few downsides. If your group is not genre-specific, and most are not, there are likely members of the group who simply do not like the genre you are writing. If they are polite, they will refrain from making comments unless they are more general about the writing style than what they dislike about the story being told. But sometimes you might find those who are not so polite. Each Critique Group should have a moderator and that is the person to handle those kind of situations. But to some extent, the writer must consider source of the criticism, and judge its value accordingly.

Another downside can come from being in the same group for a long period. You get used to one another, maybe even start socializing outside of the group. This can lead to less-than-honest appraisals. It is human nature to want to accommodate our friends. The first group I belonged to started out as a group of friends who all had writing as common attributes. I was never sure of the honesty the opinions I was getting, so I sought other groups for this purpose. As I suspected, the group of friends were mostly honest, but sugar-coated their honesty in the name of friendship.

The most important thing to get from a Crtique Group is what you need to make you a better writer. I find their comments invaluable and any new novels I write will have this sort of input during the writing process. It is one step of several to ensure my manuscript is the best it can be before submitting it to a publisher or agent. Also, if the work is well critiqued before publication, it is more likely to get good reviews during and after its release.

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Trying to be a Full-Time Writer in 11 Months

For quite some time I have harbored the no so secret ambition of quitting my day job and being able to live off of my writing. As each month goes by, I get closer and closer to making that a reality. Now I’ve set an initial goal: Quit the day job at the end of the fiscal year, 30 Jun 2014.

I’ve set up several paths to follow to get me to this goal. One, which I am doing right now, is to promote the shit out of Immortal Betrayal and get ready for a big release of Immortal Duplicity in November. I am currently on a one-man sales mission to encourage all of the independent bookstores across the country to carry my novels. There are even a few I have found that are genre-oriented in such a way they may be interested in carrying some of my non-fiction too. My publisher is tackling the big chains, like Barnes and Noble.

Next, and I have already started this, really step up my game on the article writing. I’m using every connection I can find to get hooked up with magazine and ezine feature article publishers to write on any topic they willing to let me write about. I have a job-hunting article pending editorial review now and have recently written things on a haunted hotel and the local political scene on Colorado. Check out Contently.com for my articles to date. As each one comes out, I will add it to my portfolio there.

Between article writing and book royalties I am making about as much as a part-time hamburger flipper now, but it’s moving in the right direction. Now I am focused on getting it to a livable wage by June. I’ll give until March before I do a serious assessment of how I’m doing. By then I should be able to determine how I’m doing and if I need to continue slaving for the Man (Actually my immediate supervisor is a woman).

Wish me luck!

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My First Full-Length TV Interview

A few weeks ago I was interviewed for a show called “Off the Page.” This is a public access show the focuses on Denver-area authors and airs on the municipal channel through the metro area. The show will air for two months throughout August and September. Each city has their own schedule. In each city it airs a few times a week. In Denver, this three weekday mornings and on Thursday evening.

To view the interview, just click on this link.

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