Google+ is great for authors. I’ve blogged before about the 3 Google+ features that every author  needs to know about.

But what if you aren’t quite an author? What if you’re still struggling with a manuscript?

Try leveraging Google+ and Google Docs with your critique group. It’s a matter of time before the two properties are streamlined.  Get ahead of the pack by learning how to use them now. It will make life a lot easier and help you build your writing skills while finishing your manuscript.

Please note, these tips will only work if all members have Gmail addresses. If the other group members don’t have a Gmail address, invite them to join.

1. Create a Critique Group Circle

Put all of your group members in the same circle. By doing this, you gain the ability to micro-publish updates crafted specifically for them. Making a circle is as simple as dragging and dropping.

If you’ve never created a circle, go to the circles tab. It’s near the top of your screen, just left of the “Search Google+” area. Clicking on the icon will bring you to the circle page. You should see row after row of thumbnails of your friends on the page.

Google+ Critique Group Circle

On the lower third of the page will be blue and gray circles. Click on a gray one, name it “Critique Group”, and start dragging and dropping members into that circle.

2. Create a Critique Group Collection

Organize your critique group documents by creating a collection specifically for them. This is where all of your manuscripts will be going.

Create a Google Doc Collection

Log into Google Docs. Click on the red “Create” button on the left  side of the page. Name it after your critique group. Invite your critique group to collaborate on the collection by selecting the collaboration and then the “More” button. A menu will pop down. Select the “Share” option. Then select the next “Share” button. You will then add the member email addresses

Google Collections for Critique GroupsWhen you create a document for this collection, drag and drop the document into the collection to populate it. Upload the documents you need for your group – manuscripts, proposals, and book summaries.

If you’re feeling with social networks, sign up for social media coaching. We can teach you how to use them to build your brand, boost your writing, and make money.

3. Create a Critique Group Hangout

Instead of emailing once a week, you can now use the Hangout feature to discuss the changes with your critique group in person. Or at least, via webcam. You can invite up to 8 people on these Hangouts. Make sure everyone has access to a webcam and a microphone. Most new computers come with these built-in. Schedule a time that works for everyone and keep it sacred.

Look for this icon:

Start a Google+ Hangout

Instead of wondering what your critique group partner meant with their red ink markings, you can ask them directly. Close the distance gap. Make your peers real people. Once you start a hangout, you’ll see this screen.

Google+ Hangout Screen for Critique Groups

Follow the instructions. Make sure your microphone and webcam work. Don’t give in to the temptation to turn off your camera. Stay human. Add your “Critique Group” circle to the Hangout, press the green button, and start your meeting.

You can also branch out and use Hangouts to build your author brand. While you’re there, why not add Author Media to a circle?

Authors, how do you use Google+ and Google Docs with your critique group? What insider tips can you give new authors? 



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