1. Writers need a fresh set of eyes: Writers become blind to the faults in their own manuscript. Critique groups or partners are detached from your words which makes it easier for them to spot weaknesses in your manuscript.
2. Trust your gut: New writers tend to have blind faith in their critique group or be doggedly obstinate about their writing. By that I mean, the new writer doing everything or nothing their critique group suggests. Doing either one is a bad idea. The key is balance. One must be open to changes and at the same time know when to trust their gut and hold firm. Trusting your gut comes with time and experience.
3. Write what you feel passionately about. If you write to follow trends, it will show in your manuscripts with a lackluster prose. For example: if you’re writing a story about a little girl who dances with unicorns every night and your critique groups says it should be dragons because they’re “hot right now” or make it dinosaurs because “all kids like them.” Don’t do it. Unless you feel as passionately about dinosaurs or dragons as you do about unicorns.
4. Your critique group or partner should be compatible with what you write. They should write in the genre and age group that you do. For example, if you write science fiction novels and your critique group or partner writes picture books or romance novels, you'd be better served by finding a science fiction novel writer looking for a critique partner.
They should also have some experience with writing or critiquing. You may go through several critique groups or partners, but eventually you’ll find a match. When that happens, treasure them!
5. Find beta readers: When you've completed your revisions and the manuscript has settled in a drawer (literally or figuratively) for weeks or months, reread and revise. When you feel it is as polished as you can make it, now use a beta reader, ideally someone who is not familiar with the manuscript.
6. Once your manuscript is finished and you are happy with your revisions based on your critique group, beta reader and gut, check out the following link before submitting your manuscript.