Why critique partners are so important 👭
Welcome to the fourth edition of Chapter Break, a newsletter with writing and publishing insights put together by me, your friendly neighborhood book editor! If you haven’t subscribed yet, join our amazing community of 2,200+ storytellers and story lovers by subscribing here:
I get it: receiving constructive feedback sometimes, frankly, sucks.
As a book editor, it’s my job to provide helpful, uplifting, and actionable feedback. But to be totally honest, I constantly think about how much easier feedback is to dish out than it is to hear — not to mention apply. But knowing how to accept and embrace feedback is also the best — possibly the only — way to strengthen your writing and hone your craft.
Remember that beta readers, critique partners, and editors are friends, not foes!
Not only will they point out flaws and areas for improvement that you just can’t see in your own work, but they will help you navigate the publishing process — and, when needed, provide a much-needed shoulder to cry on.
In this interview, middle grade and YA author Tracy Badua explores the importance of community as a writer.
I hope you enjoy today’s interview. Please forward this newsletter to anyone who might find it interesting!
OUR SPECIAL GUEST TODAY IS…
Middle Grade and YA Author
Freddie vs. the Family Curse available now from Clarion Books!
What is the most memorable writing tip or technique that you have heard, and how did it influence your process?
I'm a huge fan of the "read widely in your genre and age range" advice. It helps me understand what does and doesn't work in the middle grade or young adult space.
How do you personally get over writer's block?
I talk to other writers. Not only does it make me feel a little less alone (turns out a lot of us go through the same slow periods when it comes to writing and reading), but sometimes a fun conversation can provide just the motivating spark needed to approach my work again.
How did you get your literary agent? What was the querying process like for you?
I started writing with the goal of traditional publication six years ago, and I initially began with picture books. As my writing journey progressed and my focus moved to middle grade, I really began to dig into the story that would become Freddie vs. the Family Curse. I parted amicably with my first agent so that I could concentrate on middle grade and later young adult, and I eventually connected with my current agent, Natalie Lakosil, whom I knew through my long-time critique partner and friend Alechia Dow.
Read my tips on finding the right agent
What is one thing you wish you had known about the publishing process before going through it yourself?
I'm at an interesting point in my writing career where promo takes up a good portion of my time. Being everywhere and doing everything isn't a necessity for authors, but between my debut middle grade Freddie vs. the Family Curse coming out in May and my forthcoming young adult This Is Not a Personal Statement, I've got different audiences I'd like to connect with. Having limitations on in-person interactions and travel has made me be creative in my outreach, so I'm currently trying to figure out a good mix of mailings, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and gently nudging friends and family to constantly hype up my books.
What is one piece of advice you would give to a writer who aspires to be published?
Find good critique partners, especially those who are talented in areas that you may struggle with. I'm so lucky to have wonderful writer friends who take the time to provide thoughtful feedback (even if they know it’s something I—or any writer— may not want to hear), remind me to slow down and actually describe important things like setting or what characters look like, and let me vent or ask questions about the publishing process.
Thanks so much for reading!
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