I belonged to an excellent critique group for many years. More than one member of that group went on to commercial publication of the works that they refined in that group. But since we moved a couple of years back, it seems very difficult to find anything remotely equivalent. One group I joined fizzled for lack of consistent participation, and another, which has struggled to attain critical mass, has not met for lack of contributions for the last few months.
I'm trying to figure out what the problem is, because my experience in that original group was very valuable. A few things occur to me:
The original premise of critique groups was to bring work up to the standard required for commercial representation and publication. But many people are impatient with the commercial process right now and are choosing to go the self publishing route. Are people turning to self publishing rather than critique groups?
It seems like professional writing teachers have adopted the critique group format. There is a teacher around here (actually, an hour down the road) who conducts multiple classes at multiple levels, most of which appear to essentially be moderated critique groups. You have to pay to join, and the classes are large, so you might only get four pieces reviewed in a 16 week class, but they all sell out and many people seem to sign up over and over again. The teacher is a former book editor with connections in the business, so there is an obvious appeal there, but it is a lot of time and money to get through the critique of one novel.
Could it simply be that online critique groups are now a preferable route for most people, leaving not enough people to form in-person critique groups?
Has the writer support industry done such a good job of marketing itself that most aspiring writers now accept it as a given that they are going to have to pay for all kinds of educational, editorial, and critiquing services in order to get their work to a publishable state? The idea of paying anybody for anything in the learning to write process used to be anathema to many. It is generally accepted now?
Are in person-critique groups still viable, and/or has self-publishing or other factors made them obsolete?