Wait... What? Both? Seriously? Why?!
I'm glad you asked. :)
But first, let's make sure we're on the same page. By "Critique Groups," I mean the people you send your book to chapter by chapter. One section at a time. (Also called Alpha Readers.) By "Critique Partners," I mean the people you send the entire book to at once. (Also called Beta Readers.)
So why do you want both? Because they each give you different things.
A critique group can help you with:
- Point out when you have redundancies.
- Highlight awkward sentences.
- Show when a character's voice is off-- even if it's only with a single word or phrase.
- A more close-up scrutiny of everything. (A CP isn't likely to put in 30 comments a chapter when they are looking at the entire book at once. Someone looking at just one chapter likely will.)
Do you have to have a group do the chapter-by-chapter part? Of course not! You can send your ms one chapter at a time to just one person if you want.
Is it better to have a group? I think so. There have been so many times when one person mentions something they think might be an issue, but you wonder just how much of an issue it is. It's nice to be able to ask the others if it was an issue for them (or if you're not meeting together, see if any of the others mentioned it in their notes).
Do you have alpha readers? If so, do you meet as a group? If not, is it because you'd rather not have them, or haven't found them yet?