All writers crave feedback. Even if they're too scared to join a critique group, and letting someone read their work puts them in a cold sweat. But what if it was anonymous?
Page99Test is an ingenious website a friend pointed me to. It's based upon a quote from the late English novelist Ford Madox Ford: "Open the book to page ninety-nine, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you."
The site allows you to upload the contents of page 99 of your manuscript, and readers of the site will rate it by answering three questions.
1. Would you turn the page?
2. Why or why not?
3. Based on what you read, how likely are you to buy this book?
Because site visitors are reading just one page, and the questions are brief, it takes only a few minutes to read and give feedback on a submission. Once a reader clicks "submit" after the questions, they can see a summary of how others rated the same page, and their comments.
For writers uploading a page, you'll choose the genre of your story, and can give a brief background if you like. All the commenters have a number next to their screen name so you can see how many critiques they've done so far.
You may wonder why it's page 99, and not say, your first page that is critiqued. Most writers work and rework the beginning of their manuscript, so it's not really representative of the body of the story. It's a random page, yes, but hopefully all your random pages will have good dialogue, description, characterization, and tension.
The site creators warn against uploading an overworked page just to get better feedback. Since it's anonymous, no one cares what your feedback is
The nice thing about Page99Test is that even the negative comments don't sting so badly when you consider that the reader has missed the 98 previous pages setting up your story. You can use the feedback you get to improve your pages, without feeling like you have to give up altogether.
Head over to the site and spend a couple of minutes on a few critiques. It's kind of addicting, and you can feel good that you gave back some encouragement and helpful feedback to another writer.
How open are you to feedback?