I've been working on the final edits for my third Love Inspired Suspense, MIA: MISSING IN ATLANTA, which will be a March 2008 release. One of the nicest surprises after making my first sale was the realization that I now had a team of experts working with me. My editor, the marketing and art departments, the copy editor, and in fact the entire publishing house are all part of the group of professionals working to ensure every book I write is the best possible story.
I received the line item edits for MIA from my editor, Jessica Alvarez, about a week ago. Jessica has such a great eye for detail, and I can always trust her suggestions for improvement. I'm almost finished reviewing the manuscript, and I know it's a stronger story because of her involvement.
Before my first book sold, I thought of writing as a solitary process with little opportunity to get good feedback. Of course, I relied on my critique partners to tell me if I was on track. I also entered contests to learn what the judges thought of my work. But any other exposure to creative criticism was hard to come by, so I greatly appreciate the support I now receive from my editor and publishing house staff.
Whether published or unpublished, I think critique groups are a must for writers. If you aren't in a group now, talk to a few of your writing friends and see if they want to get together weekly or every other week. Exchange pages and offer suggestions for the stories you review. A fresh set of eyes reading a story can often identify problems the author never would have spotted.
Getting together with a group of writers is always fun. My critique partners are good friends and great reviewers. Often we'll brainstorm new story ideas, and by putting our minds together, we come up with some interesting plot twists . . . which reminds me, I need to get back to work and finish my edits.
Wishing you all the best!