All authors need objective feedback, whether it be from trusted readers, paid editorial services, online forums or Real Life writers' groups.
Regular visitors here will know the personal debt I owe to the East Dulwich Writers' Group. This is from my biog:
I joined the East Dulwich Writers' Group although I had no previous experience of writing fiction apart from an abortive attempt to crack the women’s magazine short story market several years earlier. (Each story would start sweet enough but then gradually turned dark and twisted! Clearly my inner voice calling out ...) I wrote Nirvana Bites in the evenings in long hand lying on the settee and then typed it up in chunks using borrowed laptops. Eighteen months later, I had my first book deal!
You will also be aware that EDWG has produced two anthologies, Hoovering the Roof 1 and 2. The books are an eclectic mix of short stories, poems and novel extracts, complete with original illustrations.
Last year, we won the runners up prize in the National Association of Writers' Groups anthology awards.
This year ... we've only gone and won!
And here's the proof.
There's nothing quite like a good writers' group for providing constructive feedback and encouragement. The best groups (and EDWG is certainly one of them) form a local community of supportive writers, sharing skills and stories, celebrating successes and commiserating when the going is hard.
There isn't one in your area? Set one up yourself. Post on your local community forum or stick up notices in the library or local bookshop. That's how we started. A decade later, we have over 200 people on the email list, consisting of authors at every stage of their writing career, from those of us who have been published to absolute beginners. We keep to a maximum of 8 people at each meeting and have retained an informal and intimate ethos, in spite of our numbers. The email list is also used to share details of events and other items of lit interest.
Some of our members are also winners of prestigious competitions. And now the group itself has won recognition with the NAWG award. Did I mention that already? Did you know?
We won! We bloody well won!
For further details of the group, check out our website. You can also follow us on Facebook. And if you buy the books directly from us, you can do that here with a discount.
Oh, and in case you hadn't noticed ... WE WON! Perhaps I mentioned that already ...