Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Affordable, Quality Critiques When YOU Need Them - Join the CRIT CLUB!

So, you've finished a draft of your manuscript. You're feeling good because it's done, but you know it isn't "there yet". You want input and guidance on how to take your book to the next level. But finding someone with the skills to help you identify what's missing, or where you could improve who will read the entire manuscript in a timely manner is hard. Especially if you're a fast writer and need that kind of input every couple months.

I get requests from writers all the time who are in this position. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to critique for each of them - I wish I could! I know how hard it is to find the answers you want. And the fact is, we all need that kind of detailed input, right?

Well, I think I have a solution. And I want to know if you're interested in getting involved. Maybe, just maybe, we can solve that problem for everybody in 2014:


What is the Crit Club?

The Crit Club is a circle of authors, who write various genres, all with complete manuscripts, armed with the tools they need to analyze plot structure, character development, technical writing skill, and story analysis.

Every month or two (depending on the needs of the group), the Crit Club will convene for a workshop. Over a four-week period, each author in the workshop will analyze a whole manuscript, chapter by chapter, then fill out an over-arching review document.

By the end of the month, every author in the clinic walks away with a detailed analysis of their entire book: Chapter reviews which include commentary on the characters, plot, structure, pacing (and more!) and a Story Review which identifies which aspects of the book as a whole are working, and which are not; self-editing tips and ideas for which parts of the manuscript to focus on, along with identification of which parts of the writing, story, characters and plot are working.

How Does it Work?

Approved authors who are members of the Crit Club will be notified by email when a workshop is approaching. They can then opt in or opt out.

By opting-in, you're committing to critiquing another manuscript, of similar wordcount to your own, within a four week period (the first half due within two weeks, the second half due by the end-date).

During a workshop, each author will send their manuscript to me (stripped of author names, etc). In return, I'll send them the anonymous manuscript of another author.

To avoid personal conflicts, you won't know who's critiquing your work, and you won't know whose work you're critiquing. But once you've submitted the complete critique, you'll receive the critique done for you.

It's that simple.

How Do I Join?

It takes a lot of time to critique a full manuscript, and it can be a little rough on our writerly-egos, so it's imperative that every member of the club is screened to ensure they understand how to critique effectively, and also are capable of receiving critique and understanding the value of it.

If you think you have what it takes, and you're interested in becoming a part of the Crit Club, it's a two-step process:

First, you submit the first chapter (or first 2,000 words, whichever is smaller) to me, along with details on your genre, overall wordcount, etc. (Don't worry, I'll send you a form to fill out. It only takes a second).

In return for a small screening fee, you'll receive a detailed critique of your first chapter. If you find that helpful and want to continue, I'll then submit a first chapter to you for critique, along with a chapter critique template that you would use if you were involved in a workshop.

Within 7 days, you'll return a detailed critique of that chapter to me.

Authors who are accepted for the program will then receive critique templates to make the process easy no matter how you like to read, and the Crit Club "Tips for Critiquing" document, full of tips on how to make the most of both critiquing other writers, and how to process and action critiques you receive (including notes on how to gain confidence on when not to action critique notes).

In each workshop members will be grouped by skill level, wordcount, and / or genre (depending on the number of authors involved), ensuring that everyone receives a detailed, quality critique in a timely manner.

How Much Does It Cost?

The application process is $20 (payable by Paypal or Credit Card) and guarantees that even if you aren't accepted into the club, you will walk away with a detailed critique of your first chapter (or first 2000 words).

Each workshop will be $50, but writers in the club have no obligation to join a workshop. If it isn't the right time for your manuscript, or you don't have the cash, wait until the next workshop is announced. There's no financial commitment unless you opt-in for a workshop, so there's nothing to lose!

What if I Don't Like My Critique?

If you join a workshop and believe the critique you received is poorly done, or inaccurate, you can apply directly to me to have it reviewed.

If I agree that the critique is substandard, you'll be refunded your fee.

Why Do You Get to Screen Everybody, Aimee?

Well, because it's my club. And also because I regularly critique for traditionally published and successfully self-published authors. This is something I'm good at. I also receive great critique from experienced authors, and I know what a good critique looks like.

If you aren't sure, you can check out some of the critiquing we've done on this site in the past. In fact, I'd highly recommend it. We won't be pulling punches at the Crit Club, so you want to make sure that you're prepared to receive honest criticism of your work - with the goal of making your book even better than it already is!

Where Do I Sign Up?

If you don't have any more questions, go here and apply.

If you do have questions, email me at aimeelsalter (at) gmail (dot) com with "CRIT CLUB" in the subject line. We'll take it from there!

Happy writing, everyone!


  1. Hi Aimee, Is it strictly for YA or can other categories play? Liz

  2. No genre restrictions! Join the team if you're keen! :)

  3. I'd love to review and critique, but I think I need more writerly experience ;)

    1. Critiquing actually has more to do with reading experience, and the ability to identify and articulate what you feelis missing. You don't have to write the solutions, just give the author hints as to what you wish they would include or change. If you're interested, apply. I've already had a couple requests for coaching, so may do some of that before the first workshop anyway :)