You've been slaving away at your Work-in-Progress (WIP). Maybe it's an article, a short story or a full novel, You're ready to share with Beta-Readers and/or join a critique group. But before you do, there are some things you need to do do first.
Make sure you work is at a minimum standard. Run it through a spell and grammar check and make sure the formatting is correct. Otherwise you run the risk of your readers focusing on those small errors instead of more thorough comments.
Check in with yourself. Are you in the mood to receive critiques without taking it personally? Can you view the critiques objectively?
Be clear about why you wrote and who your audience is. Are you writing to YA readers, female readers, readers who love space opera, or all three? Additionally, your work is not who you are. Your characters are not you, though you may empathize with them.
What is it you want from your critiquers? Do you have specific questions or issues you'd like help with? Should the reader be aware of how you want your critique? For example: verbal or in a track changes document? Or both? Do they want to discuss your notes with you?
Prepare a blurb that highlights previous plot points (if sharing in a critique group). Additionally, include any potential triggers that may upset a reader. These might include scenes with violence, rape, kidnapping, language and even sex.
Know what you want when receiving a critique (developmental, copy, line-by-line, etc.)
Choose your critique partners carefully. You should trust your critiquers and know what your critiquer's strengths are.
Do your critiquers read your genre? Do they understand that what's expected in a sci-fi story is very different than what's expected in a cozy mystery (unless you're combining the two and if you'll excuse me, I think I have an idea...)
If joining a critique group, do they give you want you need? Does the meeting time, place, vibe, trust, work etc. for you?
Know what it is you want out of your critique. Make a list or what you like and what you don’t like. This will help you decide whether or not you'll agree with all the suggestions.
Sharing your work with others can be intimidating, even scary at times. But taking a few minutes to prepare, can help you get the most out of the experience and elevate your writing to the next level.