Wanda Dyson is a multipublished
suspense author, currently writing for Random House/Waterbrook. Her one
attempt at a nonfiction book was picked up for an exclusive release on
Oprah. In addition to writing full time, she is also the appointment
coordinator for the CCWC, Greater
Philadelphia Christian Writers, and ACFW
A great way to get honest feedback on your writing is to get a few paid critiques at conferences from experts in the field—whether it’s a successful author, editor, or agent. But one word of caution: Don’t request an editor or agent to critique your work with the idea that it will result in a contract.
A paid critique will cost you anywhere from $20 to $40. You send in the material a few weeks before the conference and should (although some conferences vary on this) spend anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes with the critic. Most of the time, you can expect to send in twelve to twenty-five pages of a manuscript or proposal. The person critiquing your work will spend about thirty minutes marking up your work and then will go over it with you in person.
Remember these rules:
But if you honestly want to know if your story is viable, if your writing is strong enough to submit to a publisher, or if you just want some direction in your writing, a paid critique can be a huge benefit to your career. Whether it’s an author, editor, or agent, be sure to submit to someone who appreciates the genre you write in. You don’t want to ask a sci-fi author to critique your romance, or a romance editor to critique your legal thriller.
So, study the submission requirements, study the critics, and get your writing in. You won’t regret it.
June 2–5: Write-to-Publish Conference; Wheaton, IL (Chicago area): 250 expected to attend, www.WriteToPublish.com.
June 4–5: Annual Arkansas Writers Conference; Little Rock, AR: 150–175 expected to attend, www.geocities.com/penwomen.
June 5: American Christian Writers Columbus Conference; Columbus OH: www.ACWriters.com.
June 11–12: American Christian Writers Grand Rapids Conference; Grand Rapids MI: www.ACWriters.com.
June 11–12: Kentucky Christian Writers Conference; Elizabethtown, KY: 100 expected to attend, www.kychristianwriters.com.
June 21–26: Southeastern Writers Assn. Annual Conference; St. Simons Island, GA: 100 expected to attend, www.southeasternwriters.com.
June 23–26: Speak Up with Confidence Seminar; Grand Rapids, MI: 100 expected to attend, www.SpeakUpSpeakerServices.com.
OREGON CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE: Portland, OR, area, 250 expected to attend, www.oregonchristianwriters.org
July 30–August 1: SHE SPEAKS CONFERENCE: Concord, NC, 450 expected to attend, office@Proverbs31.org, www.SheSpeaksConference.com
MAINE FELLOWSHIP CHRISTIAN WRITERS SEMINAR: Belfast, ME, firstname.lastname@example.org
August 1–7: THE GLEN WORKSHOP: Santa Fe, NM, 200 expected to attend, email@example.com, www.imagejournal.org/page/events/the-glen-workshop
August 7: TEXAS CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE: Houston, TX, 80 expected to attend, firstname.lastname@example.org (editors and agents in attendance)