Broken Pieces

Alinka Rutkowska on Finding the Right Critique Buddy #AmWriting #WriteTip #SelfPub

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My elementary school teacher always praised my essays. So did my mom. Even if they were crap. She pretty much praises anything I write. She’s the world’s loudest cheerleader and my biggest fan. So as you can conclude, I don’t have self-esteem problems. On the contrary. I think I’m quite a catch. On every level. My mom reads all my books and she raves about them. This only adds up to my already inflated ego.
My first Maya & Filippo titles came out as coloring books and I posted a giveaway where I gifted people with digital versions of my books in exchange for a review (so not really a gift, is it?). This way I got some valuable feedback about (surprise!) some weak points of my work. If only I had known that before publishing – I would have improved it.
For a while I relied heavily on my editor. But while he made everything sound great and occasionally pointed out some other inconsistency, that was not really the kind of feedback I needed to really improve my writing. Neither my mom, nor my editor could give me what I was looking for.
Then came the era of the professional review. I found Rearders’ Favorite – an organization composed of readers (you know, real people as opposed to agents sitting in their cubicles rejecting manuscript after manuscript). These lovely ladies and occasionally gentlemen rate your book and if you get five stars you can even print it on your book cover. I loved this! Since I got almost all five star reviews – my ego got inflated to monstrous proportions!
Meanwhile, while checking out Katie Davis’s blog (an important resource for children’s book authors) I found a video by Julie Hedlund who was doing a crowdfunding campaign at the same time that I was doing mine. Of course I was interested to follow her so I connected with her on Facebook and Twitter and saw some of her stuff in my feed.
One sunny day I noticed that she was organizing a membership site for children’s group authors. You had to pay but not much and you would connect with hundreds of people of your kind. I thought that was an amazing opportunity. I had been working more like an island up till then. Now I had the possibility to get social with my peers! I immediately signed up and started checking out the forums.
One thread that I noticed talked about critique groups. They existed. Other authors belong to them. Wow! That sounded like something I should try out. So I simply stated my wish on one of these forums and Abra-Cadabra! I am now part of an exceptional critique group. I don’t even know how this happened – it was so fast! We have already shared our first manuscripts and critiques. And they were nothing like my mom’s, or my editor’s or my readers’. What I got from them was gold. It was a full-blown critique, in which they guided me through all the elements of my work, some of which I didn’t even know existed. And all this before anybody else had the chance to view it.
So if my work gets five stars now, imagine what I’m going to publish in the following months!

Alinka Rutkowska has created a tale that will appeal to children, which teaches about choices, and encourages communication and sharing. Rating: 5.0 stars from Readers’ Favorite Reviews.
Embark on a one-of-a-kind, unprecedented, breathtaking adventure with Maya and Filippo as they travel around the globe on board the “Fun Princess” — a cruise ship full of surprises. Discover their fascinating ports of call, find out what the local customs and traditions are, join the kids in activities at sea, and explore the remarkable world they create through the power of their positive outlook.
This time the kids spend a day on board the Fun Princess. They become junior chefs at sea and learn how to bake a cake. Maya and Filippo discover how trying out different recipes gets them closer to creating the perfect dessert. They also discover the power of sharing.
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Genre - Children’s Picture Book
Rating – G
More details about the author
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