First, I just finished a draft of a YA novel and alerted my wonderful critique group, affectionately known as The Writers' Group From Hell, that I would be submitting it. One reason they are wonderful is they allow the writer to choose to submit an entire draft (which is the way I work) or to submit the book in chunks as it is written (some other writers in the group like this).
Second, yesterday my husband and I went to a "Daffodil Party" hosted by one of the founders of WGFH, scottedelman. The daffodils were lovely, the weather cooperated to produce blue skies and a warm spring day, and the company included other writers as well as Scott & Irene's neighbors and old friends. That and lots of yummy food made for a pleasant social experience interacting with other writers.
Third, my e-mail this morning including a note on the PPW list serve about an article in Publisher's Weekly. A company called WEBook has started an effort to encourage writers to collaboratively write books which they plan to publish using an American Idol (or ABNA) style voting process. The company plans to POD publish the winning books and pay the writers (all of them!) a 5% royalty.
Looking at the WEBook site, though, I have to say the model isn't American Idol, which starts with a huge net but distills down the contestants to individuals with talent. It sounds more like karaoke—encouraging people to try something they wouldn't ordinarily do by having them do it in a group ("Me? Write a Book? Really?"). And, of course, WEBook wants to cash in on the enormous number of people who would like to get published, any way they can.
I confess the idea of letting other folks write parts of a book with me makes my skin crawl. The other reason WGFH is so helpful is that I get to decide what specific criticism I want to act on. Anything else is unacceptable. Social interaction is great, feedback is critical, but it's MY book!