Question: How can I get a review of a couple chapters of my book so that I know I am on the right track?

 

Answer:

Getting feedback on your manuscript is a critical part of the writing and editing process. While it can be intimidating to have others review your writing, it is a necessary step toward producing the best book possible. Having multiple sets of eyes on your work will highlight the things that you overlook because you are too close to the writing, or because you are still honing your craft.

Here are 5 suggestions for getting feedback on your book manuscript, no matter where you are at in the writing process:

1.  Use the ALC’s Author Circle tool

As an ALC member, you have the ability to create an Author Circle for your book project. Just go to your Author Space, set up a new book project, and an Author Circle will automatically be created for that book. Then, you can start inviting both ALC members and even non-members to join your circle. This private forum provides a space where you can ask questions, start discussions, conduct polls, or share your manuscript to get feedback. The ALC will recommend members to invite based on book genre, so be sure to complete these sections of your book project and member profile.

2.  Join a local or online writing group

Writing groups are a great way to connect with like-minded individuals working toward the same goals. You can find groups locally that meet in person, or regional, national, and global groups that meet and communicate online. These writing groups may include more experienced authors that can act as mentors and provide valuable advice. Be sure to join only trusted communities that you can rely on when needed.

3.  Build your own group of beta readersUsing beta readers is a great way to get feedback on your manuscript.

Once you identify your target reader, check your social and professional networks to see if any of your connections fit into that audience. If they do, reach out to them to see if they would be willing to read the first few chapters of your book and provide feedback.

If your social and professional networks are small, start building an email list to communicate with your target readers, share updates, and ask if they would be willing to provide feedback. Beta readers can be a great way to get meaningful opinions of your work, especially if you are specific with the type of feedback you are requesting.

4.  Hire a professional editor

Professional book editors are trained and experienced, and know the common mistakes to look for when reviewing a manuscript. They also know the book market and genre standards or expectations. Most editors charge by page or by word count, so even if you want only a few chapters reviewed, you can find editors that are willing to provide this assessment. Here are a few online resources that might be helpful in finding the right editor for you and your genre:

• Editorial Freelancers Association

• Fiverr

• Upwork

• Freelancer

5.  Hire a book coach

Whether an author needs help developing a book idea, feedback on an existing idea, or an accountability partner, a professional book coach can tailor his or her support strategy to fit what you need. Book coaches are usually experienced authors that have been in your position, and understand the benefit of having a knowledgeable mentor. You can use the same online resources noted above to find the best fit for you.

The key to getting meaningful feedback is finding readers who can be honest with you and who are knowledgeable about your genre. Hint: your friends and family are likely NOT the best candidates unless they represent your target reader!

And, always be sure to thank your volunteer readers and return the favor when you can.

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