Saturday, January 9, 2010

My New Find for Writers

Hello everyone,
I hope the New Year is treating you well. I'm still pecking away at my novel and to date, I have written 62,000 words, only 25,000 more to go (: Then, onto the editing portion of my journey...Sigh.

Now that I’m so close to the end of my novel, I sent out some feelers for beta readers. Much to my chagrin, I realized that finding a person close to me who could provide objective, helpful feedback would be difficult. Friends care about my feelings, so it is unlikely their comments will be honest or objective. Family members love me, and well, they also have to live with me so I scratched them off the list.

Then, last month I came across a website called Litopia Writer's Colony (www.litopia.com) . Established by a literary agent in the U.K. named Peter Cox, the site is designed to bring likeminded readers and writers together in a venue that is helpful and supportive. Most importantly, membership is free. That’s right FREE. Since I’ve only been a member for a month, I am still learning my way around the site. However, from what I've observed, Litopia offers a wealth of professional help for aspiring novelists like me.

Here’s how the membership process works: First the writer/reader must join the colony. Next, the member is required to write 50 posts to demonstrate their commitment to the site. The posts are not like the ones in my blog, it is more to encourage participation with other members, sort of like a chat room. Once this requirement is met, then the "colonist" may submit their work for assessment by the moderators or Mods, industry professionals who volunteer their time to the site. If said member’s submission is deemed good enough, then he or she is promoted to full-membership which allows the colonist access to the critique room.  This area of the colony is divided into different houses ranging in genres from Y.A.and  children to romance, thrillers and literary non-fiction. Here, the member is allowed to submit their MS for other colonists to review. The process is extremely reciprocal, so the more critiques the member gives, the more he or she will receive in return.

Eventually, the member is allowed to submit his or her work to a room known as “the cut.” Here the writer’s MS. is reviewed by the moderators. If it doesn't pass muster, then he or she is asked to try again at a later date, when their work has improved. Although the process seems contentious, from what I've been told, it  works well. If however, the chapters are approved, then the member is allowed access to the “Pitch Room”. This is where the author submits the first three chapters of his or her MS for Peter Cox to review.  Then the agent provides a verbal response in video format  - going through the submission, pointing out the good, the bad and the ugly. The videos can be up to 20 minutes long and are incredibly instructional. For those authors who do not take criticism well, be warned, I hear this guy's critiques are harsh.  Kind of like the Simon Cowell of the literary world.

So in closing, I hope you all will check out Litopia, I know you won’t be disappointed  Please look me up during your visit, I’m Andrea 44.   Also, it would helpful if you would let me know what you thought about the site.  Until next time.

Happy Writing