Last month someone contacted me with this question, “How do you find a critique group?”
The best way I’ve found critique groups (or beta readers, those who will read and comment) is through writing organizations and groups, and even classes. (I've found both face-to-face groups and online groups.)
May writing organizations (associations, clubs, societies) have local chapters that organize critique groups or connections. These organizations can be focused on writing for children, science fiction, romance, mystery, etc. And even if an organization doesn’t offer formal exchanges or specific critique events, meeting other writers at any writing event is a helpful way to find someone working on similar types of work and check and see if he/she is interested in a manuscript exchange. In the children’s writing group I belong to (scbwi.org), I’ve often seen professional critiques offered by published authors in a roundtable format. Frequently new critique groups are started because of these events. (Organizations often offer discounts to events for members, so consider joining.)
There are also less formalized writing groups. You’ll see a lot of these on Facebook, or in MeetUps, or message boards. Sometimes there will be specific places to ask for critique or to advertise you are looking for critiquers. Sometimes it just happens as people are discussing writing. “I’m looking for some beta readers for my historical novel.” Those interested comment and email addresses are exchanged. You can find these groups by searching by a specific topic “inspirational writers,” “romance writers,” or “fiction writers.” Some groups are open to the public; others you have to join (free). Sometimes you try a group and find out it isn’t a good fit for you, so you leave it.
Check your local libraries schedule of events. Most libraries will allow writing groups to meet for free with the stipulation that the meeting be open to the public. You’ll find formal and informal meetings here. Again, it’s about making connections.
And don’t forget about writing classes. There may be organized classroom critiques, and/or your instructor may offer critiques. But again you could make connections with like-minded writers.
This is not meant to be an all-inclusive list, but here are some writing organizations I’m aware of. Your community may have regional independent organizations as well as chapters of these and other national/international organizations.
American Christian Fiction Writers http://www.acfw.com/
The Author’s Guild http://www.authorsguild.org/
Mystery Writers of America http://mysterywriters.org/
Romance Writers of American http://www.rwa.org/
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association of America http://www.sfwa.org/
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators http://www.scbwi.org/
This website offers a more extensive list: http://writersrelief.com/writers-associations-organizations/
SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too. She also loves assisting other writers on their journeys.