|Issue #58 of the Writing.Com Reviewing Newsletter.
Your editor is: Arwee
[ Table of Contents ]
1. About this Newsletter
2. Letter from the Editor
3. Editor's Picks
4. Ask & Answer
5. Useful Links
[ About this Newsletter ]
Joining a review group is a great way to meet people who write like you and review like you. But, that’s not the only reason. Review groups also allow you to expose yourself to different writing and reviewing styles, meet new friends and most importantly, learn new things. But how do you go about choosing and joining a review group? This newsletter aims to give you some tips on choosing the right reviewing group for yourself.
[ Letter from the Editor ]
There are a lot of people who find success and lots of good reviews through plugging their own work, posting on review forums and reviewing others. But, there are some of us who yearn for a micro-community in WDC, a little place where we can meet writers and reviewers like us.
Enter, the review groups. These groups usually consist of writers who do their best to review other members of the group. Like writing groups, these are friendly communities where you can go to for advice and meet new people.
So, that’s great and everything but how do you know which group to join?
Before even looking through the groups available on WDC, ask yourself what kinds of reviews you’re looking for and what types of items you tend to write. These two factors play a major role in your final choice. Many groups on WDC specify a genre, item type and content rating (E to XGC scale). For example, "Invalid Item" has a different review and writing group for the various types of genres that they deal with. Then there’s "Invalid Item" which will focus on reviewing novels.
Look through your port and determine what items you want reviewed. Joining a reviewing group is a long term commitment and many groups expect their members to review others or participate in group activities. While, you are not obligated to stay in a group, joining one for the sole purpose of getting reviews on your items and then leaving is seriously rude. If you’re just looking for some quick advice on a few items, why not try posting them on review forums or the request reviews page instead?
After finding out what types of items you have and considering your restrictions, ask yourself what you want from a review group and what you want to be doing. Here are some examples of reviewing groups with different aims towards reviewing but all involve reviewing in some way:
"WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group" ’s members dedicate their time reviewing others and doing port raids.
"SIMPLY POSITIVE NEWBIE REVIEWERS GROUP" dedicates its time to reviewing and helping those new to WDC. On the other hand, its sister group, "SIMPLY POSITIVE GROUP" is dedicated to reviewing all case colours in its membership.
"Invalid Item" is a more general group that helps its members by reviewing and doing other activities.
"The WDC Angel Army" not only does reviews but runs charitable functions and other types of activities for WDC.
"Invalid Item" is dedicated to giving and improving in-depth reviews.
"Invalid Item" is a group which rewards public in-depth reviews.
There are other types of groups too and many writing groups also feature reviewing as one of their major activities. For example, "Invalid Item" is a group for fantasy and sci-fi. While it is a writing group it also encourages reviews as well. After all, how do we improve if we don’t get advice?
So, with so many different groups running a variety of activities, you’d be hard pressed to find yourself out of options. So, the next question you need to ask yourself is how much time you’re willing to dedicate to the group. There are many, many groups that offer a more relaxed schedule where member participation is highly encouraged but not mandatory. But, there are other groups that require more time to be dedicated.
For example, "WYRM" has a requirement for one in-depth review per week which is a pretty big commitment for a lot of people. On the other hand "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group" is more relaxed where they encourage members to review but don’t require it. Consider your time constraints very seriously, some groups are a big commitment so be prepared and know what you’re getting into first.
So, you’ve got a better idea of what sorts of reviewing groups are out there. What’s left to consider? A couple of things, actually. Don’t worry, we’re almost there. Ask yourself how big of a community you want to join. "The WDC Angel Army" is a subgroup of a much, much larger group with hundreds of active members. You’ll meet lots of new people, and you’ll get to participate in lots of their activities. But, if you’re looking for a small group of like-minded people to get to know and befriend perhaps "Invalid Item" is more of what you’re looking for.
The one thing you should keep in mind as you look for a group is to find one that’s active. While you’re searching for a group, pay attention to how long ago it was updated. If the group has supplemental items like a forum for its members, take a look and see when the last posted message was. I often consider anything that hasn’t been updated in over a year to be inactive. This is not a hard set rule however and perhaps your joining may be just the ticket to revive an inactive group.
Unfortunately, it’s a sad fact that while many groups are highly successful, there are some that aren’t. Many reasons can be given for why a group is closed or becomes inactive over time. Perhaps the leader no longer has time to run the group, maybe the membership isn’t as active as it could be, perhaps the group needs to try something new but no one has implemented it yet. Don’t give up! If one group closes you can always keep in contact with the people you knew there while you look for another.
Finally, relax and have fun. Groups are out there for people to meet, chat, learn and just have a good time. Reviewing groups aren’t much different but it can all depend on what you’re looking for and that comes down to personal taste.
[ Editor’s Picks ]
[ Ask and Answer ]
If you have any questions, comments, general suggestions, or suggestions for editor’s pick (even your own work! ), please send them to me. I’ll be more than happy to feature them in the next newsletter and address them to the best of my ability.
If you e-mail me a comment and don't want me to post it in the next Ask and Answer, please clearly state this in your e-mail. I will presume all e-mails sent to me regarding a newsletter can be re-posted in Ask and Answer unless otherwise stated. I will exercise some discretion in not re-posting e-mails of a personal nature or e-mails that point out grammar/punctuation errors (who wants to read about my typos, anyway? ).
I went over some groups I’ve found in the last week that I’m sure some of you are members of . It should be noted that I’m not a member of any of these groups except for one (and it’ll be pretty obvious which one ). Feel free to send me an e-mail or post in the forum about your reviewing group or any of the groups discussed in this newsletter. Comment on them, tell me what makes them awesome, correct me if I got anything wrong about them. I want to hear about your experiences with reviewing groups!
EarthenAura Wrote re: “Critiquing an Item vs. Abusing a Writer”:
I understand that you shouldn't bother to contact an abusive editor, but what do you do when someone abuses your critique? I put honest thought and what I thought were helpful tips into a review, and got slammed with insults and called "a child trying to act like an adult." I was thoroughly insulted, and I ended up not only putting her on my ignore lists, but also reporting her, because she contacted me not once but twice with these insults.
Abusive critics are bad, but quite frankly I think abusive responses to critiques are just as bad. What do you think?
Definitely. It's hard to get some writers to see eye to eye with a reviewer sometimes. A lot of the time, it's not the reviewer's fault and maybe they just got unlucky and reviewed a writer who is only looking for praise or just can't take critiques of their work very well. I've had a few writers lash out at me after I review them. I do understand that some writers spend a lot of time and effort in their writing and get their feelings hurt if someone says it's not perfect. But, when you think about it, it's a little silly of them to get so worked up over someone who is only trying to help. I would have done the same thing if I were in your position .
[ Useful Links ]
"Feedback Central" – Send the editors some suggestions and general feedback.
"Reviewing Newsletters" – View previous issues of the Reviewing Newsletter.
"Reviewing Handbook" - See the handbook containing our previous newsletters.