by Melissa Stoller
I work with many writing groups that perform varied functions. I’m part of several outstanding critique groups and I value my critique partners tremendously. I’m also a member of a few marketing groups that offer invaluable assistance surrounding a book’s debut year promotion and beyond.
This weekend, at the SCBWI Annual Winter Conference in New York City, I met in person for the first time many of my critique partners and marketing group pals. I had met other writing friends previously at book events, and some I haven’t connected with live yet. I look forward to continuing the strong relationships I have created with my writing groups - I know they will continue to be sources of support and encouragement during our book writing journeys!
Here’s some insight into my writing groups:
Some members of the #BOOKBLASTERS marketing group at the SCBWI NY Conference
Critique partners fulfill many important roles. They are the other talented writers who can help you make your stories shine. CPs provide excellent feedback on manuscripts.They offer constructive comments on what’s working, and they provide suggestions about the challenges that need further exploration and revising. And critique partners can help with brainstorming ideas and discussing the marketability of a story. Excellent critique partners can cheer each other on, offer inspiration, and help set and achieve writing goals. Above all, who else will read your draft and make helpful comments multiple times besides your trusted critique partners?
Some member of the #EPIC18 marketing group at lunch during the SCBWI NY Conference
I enjoy being part of several vibrant marketing groups that provide support as we navigate through our publishing journeys. These groups offer guidance related to marketing and promotion, book launches, school visits, and so much more. #Epic18 is a group of incredible debut picture book authors and illustrators who banded together for support during 2018, our debut year. I’m also working with #BookMeshuggenahs, a wonderful group of Jewish women authors publishing Jewish-themed children’s books; #BookBlasters, an amazing new group of children’s book authors connected to The Children’s Book Academy and Clear Fork Publishing; and #SeenIn19, a talented group of non-debut authors with picture books releasing in 2019. I’m so happy to be part of these groups as we travel similar publishing paths. I look forward to being a cheerleader for all my marketing group friends as our new books burst into the world!
Stay tuned next month for part two of this post, examining how to organize, conduct, and maintain a thriving critique group. In the meantime, happy creating!
Melissa Stoller is the author of the chapter book series The Enchanted Snow Globe Collection - Book One: Return to Coney Island and Book Two: The Liberty Bell Train Ride (Clear Fork Publishing, 2017 and 2019); and the picture books Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush and Ready, Set, GOrilla! (Clear Fork, 2018), and Return of the Magic Paintbrush and Sadie’s Shabbat Stories (Clear Fork, 2019). She is also the co-author of The Parent-Child Book Club: Connecting With Your Kids Through Reading (HorizonLine Publishing, 2009). Melissa is an Assistant and Blogger for the Children’s Book Academy, a Regional Ambassador for The Chapter Book Challenge, a Moderator for The Debut Picture Book Study Group, and a volunteer with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators/MetroNY. Melissa has worked as a lawyer, legal writing instructor, freelance writer and editor, and early childhood educator. Additionally, she is a member of the Board of Trustees at The Hewitt School and at Temple Shaaray Tefila. Melissa lives in New York City with her husband, three daughters, and one puppy.
3/11/2019 10:29:31 am
It is nice and empowering experience to meet people who have the same interest and goal as you. I am glad to know that you made it through SCBWI Annual Winter Conference in New York City and have met the greatest critiques of several books we read. Of course, you need to have a tough heart because you are dealing with critiques. But that could also be the way for to be be better. Perhaps, it's the constructive criticism that will make who a whole and the best writer you want to be, isn't it?
12/7/2021 09:19:37 am
Thanks for this post. It is a joy to read it. The truth is that writing in a group for my opinion is better and more satisfactory. Since many ideas can be contributed and debated and thus be able to write with more quality. Excellent article.
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We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with awesome multi-published former student Shirin Shamsi who will be focusing on Muslim and cultural kidlit.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature STEM, STEAM & SEL obsessed author Kourtney LaFavre sharing delightfully dorky, quirky, and fun info.
And 5th Mondays we'll be taking a break