So, just a quick question. I know that all reviews are supposed to be taken are critiques and when received should be looked over and looked at objectively and critically in order to take something from them and learn. What about when there is very little to take from one and it is more insulting?
This happened to me over the weekend when I saw there was a review for "The Light Rises" on B&N. I'm trying to look at it and learn from it (obviously I need to work on details more and such, apparently, according to that person), but some of what was put down was just insulting. How do you all deal with that?
I found my support people through author's groups, both online and off. Local SF cons or steampunk cons can help you start making author connections, too. A good online group is Broad Universe. You don't have to join the org to join their email list (though you do have to join to access the member benefits). Muse Online Conference is also a good place to make connections. They operate a yahoo loop as well. You might try doing a yahoo search for author groups. also look in your newspaper (or their online notices) for writers groups meeting in your area. I found my local group through a notice posted in a yahoo group. Even if the group doesn't specifically mention SF or steam punk, you can build relationships and support with writers--the craft of writing isn't genre dictated. I've belonged to mystery and romance groups. Another group you might find helpful is EPIC. I think their website is epicauthors. It is a world-wide, non-genre specific group for anyone with a published novel (can be self). They are having their live conference in San Antonio next March. Live conferences do give you a chance to assess people, network and get industry news.
If an author is doing a book signing in your area and they are local, ask them about writer's groups. (Don't ask them to read your stuff. Most won't and their book signing should be about them.) But published authors know other published authors and aspiring authors.
Romance Writers of America have local chapters all over the place, including online. they are expensive and not open to self published authors, in general, but in the local chapters, the authors are nice, helpful and many have some kind of critique structure.
Critique groups don't work for everyone (I don't like them) but many people swear by them. Before you get in too deep, submit a small sample and see how it goes. My rule of thumb: if what someone says makes you excited to fix your sample, that's good advice. If you feel like crawling in a hole and never writing again, dump the advice and the group.
It's good advice to chat, get to know people, before diving in. And don't be offended if someone says no, I can't. People don't always have time to be beta readers. And it does take time to build a really good reading partnership.
But if you go into networking realizing it isn't just about reading, but about building a network of support, a place for getting good information about what's happening in the industry, a place to both give and get help (beyond reading) with things like reviews and how to m market your book, then you will be able to build the relationships you need.
Another place to find a support group is through writing courses. I used to look for online ones with moderate fees. Savvy Writers has courses going all the time for pretty good rates. Many RWA chapters have inexpensive courses going. I mentioned the Muse Online Conference. It's free. There's also an author who runs a free course through yahoo groups. Trying to recall name. I can look it up if you're interested in something like that.
Courses I found particularly helpful were self editing, promotion and marketing, blurb writing (your first and often last chance to make a good impression!), synopsis writing, etc. I also subscribe to Copyblogger, a really good blog on writing good copy.
When I published my first book in 1998 (yeah, I'm that old!), I joined EPIC and learned so much from the other authors there. Writing and publishing a book is really just the first step in the process. From them I learned about the business of being an author.
The good news is that you're starting in a publishing world that is more empowering for the author, an exciting time with many opportunities.