By Jill Tuckman
If you missed the registration deadline for the Critiquenic, taking place Saturday at the Skirball center, fear not! We have other ways for you to find critique partners. Read on as Jill Tuckman, our webmaster, tells you all about our new and improved Critique Exchange.
Many authors and illustrators talk about how valuable their critique groups are to their careers, and I can (but won’t, fear not) go on about how helpful my critique groups have been to me. But finding a good critique group is not always easy.
SCBWI L.A. has had a Critique Exchange on our website for a few years now and we asked our members if they were finding it helpful in their search for a group. The results were disappointing.
We heard a lot of stories about people meeting via the exchange but the groups quickly fell apart. In many cases, this was due to members’ different visions for what they wanted the group to be. For example, pages were exchanged and afterward the members realized that one person was hoping to meet monthly while another person was looking for just a one-time exchange.
With this in mind, we have re-worked the Critique Exchange. We now ask more detailed questions about what each author or illustrator is looking for in a critique group. We also ask a few extra questions just to help break the ice between strangers and get their conversations started.
There are two ways to interact with the exchange: You can sign up and have SCBWI members contact you, or you can browse the listings and directly contact a member who seems like they might share your interests.
We encourage everyone to discuss the logistics of how their group will work before agreeing to exchange work. These are logistics such as how often you’ll meet, where you’ll meet, how many pages you’ll exchange each time, etc. There are as many ways for critique groups to function as there are groups. The only rule is that everyone in the group ought to be in agreement.
The Critique Exchange is open to authors and illustrators as well as already established groups seeking new members. Only members of SCBWI can see the Critique Exchange pages. We also encourage everyone to read the section called “Tips to make your group a success.”
If you begin a conversation with someone and realize that your goals for a group are not compatible, feel free to come back to the exchange.
You can find the Critique Exchange at https://losangeles.scbwi.org/critique-exchange/. Or go to https://losangeles.scbwi.org and click “Critique Exchange” in the right side (purple) menu. But remember, you must be logged in to your SCBWI member account to access the exchange.
Jill Tuckman currently volunteers as the Webmaster for SCBWI Los Angeles. She is a pre-published author/illustrator of picture books and thoroughly enjoys all three of her critique groups. For more information about Jill, please visit www.jilltuckman.com and www.jilltuckman3d.com.