A good critique partner (CP) is worth their weight in gold. They can catch embarrassing mistakes, help with plot holes, and give just the right balance between encouragement and criticism.
Some writers have CPs give feedback on their rough drafts, most have CPs for final drafts (all five versions of it) as well as query letters. But a critique exchange many authors miss out on is their website.
For some reason, many authors separate their website from their writing. Perhaps this is because they are writing copy instead of fiction. Or maybe they aren’t proud of their website.
Whatever your reason for not asking your CPs to cast a glance at your website, you should get over it and start asking for feedback. Here are three reasons why:
CPs Know Your Writing Style
While your website does not have to directly reflect your books, it should have stylistic similarities to the atmosphere you create while writing. For example, if you write dark contemporary, you will not want a whimsical, fun site.
A good CP knows your range and can help you make style choices that will appeal to your audience. Maximize this feedback by asking your CP to comment not only on the content of your site but also the layout, functionality, and design.
Many Fiction Writers Struggle With Copywriting
Many fiction authors think copywriting is easier than writing fiction. It’s straightforward and there’s little plotting and no world-building. That should be a piece of cake, right? But it can be difficult to write engaging copy, especially if you’re aiming for copy that echoes your fiction voice. I’ve seen some author sites that make the author come across as arrogant, unapproachable, or uninteresting when the author was actually a sweet, kind, interesting person.
A CP can let you know when your copy isn’t working. They can tell you when it gets too dry or if it strays too far from the writing persona you are striving to create. They can also let you know if you are selling yourself short and remind you of some of the more interesting aspects about yourself you may want to include on your site.
You Already Have A Relationship With Your Critique Partner
Since you and your CP are used to giving each other feedback, it should be easy to add in another aspect of your writing. Additionally, your CP should know, or at least be interested in, author site trends. These aspects can make feedback from a CP more valuable than feedback from a non-CP friend or even a professional designer, both of which may not understand the intersection of writing and websites.
Additionally, you likely already have channels of communication open with your CP, as well as methods for assessing and implementing their feedback. This trust and established relationship can make it easier to understand and apply feedback from a CP as opposed to someone else.
Whether you have a trusted CP or you are just now developing relationships with CPs, be sure to ask for feedback on your website. While asking for feedback, don’t forget to offer to return the favor. Just as in writing, critiquing other author sites can help you see weaknesses in your own and give you ideas for alternative solutions.