The best way of getting my chidren's book critiqued before I submit it

(13 Posts)
dabbler Thu 01-May-14 11:28:15

I have written a children's book, done an online children's course since then and edited it again a few times. I feel it is nearly finished for me but would like to have it critiqued (preferably by a few people but realistically that might not be possible).

I have found a local writing group which I like but there are no children's writers there. I went to a critique session at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) but they only critique the first few pages (500 words if I remember right) and the book is 6,000+ words.

I have no friends who write or are in anything near the publishing industry. I don't even know any teachers!

I have investigated extensively into the market for the particular age range I'm writing for and publishers for this kind of book etc and changed my book accordingly. I feel I have done all I can now and I need someone else's input into the book as a whole.

Is there an online writing group where I can find people willing to swap whole manuscripts? Or can anyone recommend any other way to get my manuscript edited?

Any help appreciated

PodPerson Thu 01-May-14 16:19:33

There are definitely bigger critique groups for adult writing, but you should still be able to find someone to look at a children's book.

You could try joining Goodreads. They've got groups where you can post requests for Beta Readers (here's one) Just make sure you only post your requests in the dedicated beta reader/writer threads though, otherwise you might get told off.

There's a beta reader site on tumblr (here) but I don't know how much traffic they get. I've never used them myself.

Good luck, and congratulations on finishing your book

dabbler Thu 01-May-14 16:54:03

That's a great link Pod. I'm going to have a good look at that website because it sounds like exactly what I need.

Just one question - does it matter if the beta readers are from the US? I often read US novels but I've rarely read a children's book from the US.
Anyone?

dabbler Thu 01-May-14 16:55:12

<That's a great link Pod> I meant the Good reads site, haven't looked at the other one yet.

schmalex Thu 01-May-14 17:17:19

I think it does matter if readers are from the US as publishing trends may be slightly different there.
Getting a whole book critiqued is difficult (without paying!), unless you have a writer friend.
What sort of age group are you aiming it at?
If it's as ready as you say, maybe send to a couple of agents and see if you get any feedback?

dabbler Thu 01-May-14 17:29:57

Schmalex, I'm aiming at 5-7 year olds, maybe an early chapter book.

I thought I had a book ready this time last year and I went to a critique group (first 500 words) and I saw that the plot was very flawed. I think plot is my weak point, I like my characters and like to have fun with them, sometimes to the detriment of the storyline. I think I may have done this with this book but maybe not. I'm an amateur so I don't really know to be honest. It would be good to get a few opinions before I submit it.

dabbler Thu 01-May-14 18:05:29

Has anyone tried YouWriteOn.com?

schmalex Thu 01-May-14 20:21:14

I've had a look at youwriteon but I thought a lot of the writers seemed quite amateurish (especially compared to those I've met through SCBWI). Not many writers for children.

Really what you want is a regular crit group. At the one I go to we crit plot outlines, query letters, etc as well as chapters of prose. We formed after doing a face to face course but I think SCBWI could help put you in touch with others who would like to form a group.

dabbler Thu 01-May-14 21:00:35

Have just looked at WriteWords too, Schmalex. I think I would like more constructive feedback than I am seeing.

The Goodread site looked like exactly what I need but it's in the US!

Maybe I should give SCBWI another go.

SelfRighteousPrissyPants Sun 11-May-14 10:59:56

Would you like to do a swap critique with me? I've got a 5-7 year old 6.5k story too. Can't promise a great critique- I did English at uni but that was a million years ago so I'm rusty to say the least! I have a 6 year old boy I could read it to as well if that helps.

Could you approach local primary schools and offer to visit the school for free (children, look, a real author!)
You could give the class your book the week before and get feedback from them.

dabbler Sun 11-May-14 18:45:32

What a coincidence Self! And I did English at Uni a million years ago too!

I have sent you a pm

dabbler Sun 11-May-14 18:47:17

SpareTime, that's a great idea. I'd like to get someone to look at it first just to check it makes sense but I will definitely keep it in mind

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