Manuscript Critique

Originality is simply a fresh pair of eyes.” – Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 1870


Achieving an objective distance from your work can be remarkably difficult. After months or even years of beauty and struggle, of bleeding onto the page as many have put it, you know your work like no one else—and you are close to it like no one else.


The manuscript critique takes many forms, all of them useful depending on circumstance: the writers’ group; the trusted reader; the workshop; the conference group; and even the ol’ “put it in a drawer for a month and then try to read it with fresh eyes” approach. The goal for each is the same: to achieve an objective distance from the piece sufficient for evaluating frankly and clearly its strengths, weaknesses, and needed steps for actualizing its potential.


The manuscript critique I offer is a careful diagnostic evaluation of the entire manuscript, from the title to the final word. The critique consists of a 3-5 page, single-spaced report, whose length is determined in part by the needs of the MS and in part by its length. The report includes specific discussion of the book’s strengths, detailed explanations (with textual examples) of areas needing improvement, a recommendation for the type and extent of editing I would pursue if it were my own work, and a list of specific action steps that I advise you to take in order to develop the manuscript to its full potential.


Whether these steps are taken at all, and whether they are done on your own or in collaboration with an editor (me or someone else), is entirely up to you. In any case, the critique is meant to provide you with the information you need to move forward with clarity and confidence.


Up to 50,000 words: $400
50,000-75,000 words: $475
75,000-100,000 words: $550
100,000+ words: $625