By Leslie Colin Tribble
It’s been a slow year of writing for me. I wasn’t able to attend any conferences in 2017 and didn’t get a chance to have an agent or editor critique any manuscripts. I have several manuscripts that need some final work, but I’m just not sure how to get them to that polished state and my critique group has helped about as much as they can. What to do?
I’ve decided to pay for a few professional critiques.
Before jumping in, I asked writer friends and folks within Facebook groups what they thought. I've taken their responses and come up with some tips for deciding why to pay for a critique and how to find the best person to do one.
|Hunting for a critique service doesn't have to be hard.|
Why Pay for a Critique
1. You’ve written a story. And rewritten. Your critique group has been through several rounds of revisions with you. The story is Just. About. There. But you know in your heart something’s Just. Not. Right. This is the perfect time to pay for a professional critique. This person will read your story with a completely fresh set of eyes and will see it in a way neither you, nor your critique group did. That clarity can be the focus needed to make your story sing.
|Who needs a professional critique? Maybe you do.|
2. Maybe you’ve already had too many people look at a manuscript too many times and are receiving too much conflicting advice. Again, that fresh set of eyes might show you the right path forward.
|Critiques help you get back on track.|
3. Author (and critiquer) Jill Esbaum feels that a professional critique can shorten a writer’s learning curve. She feels one of the differences between published and unpublished writers is published writers are willing to listen to criticism and do the revision work necessary to perfect a manuscript.
|Can you bearly stand to hear criticism?|
How to Chose A Critique Service
4. When paying someone to critique your story, choose wisely. Jill Esbaum says book editors, as gate keepers of the kid-lit world, might be a good place to start. But published authors can talk to you on a writer-to-writer basis and possibly explain problems in a way that’s easier to understand. Everyone I asked said to definitely find someone who writes, or edits the type of book you’re writing. Is your book a non-fiction picture book biography? Then don’t pay for a critique from someone who writes YA fiction.
|Critiques keep you afloat.|
5. Price isn’t everything when it comes to paying for a critique. You need to make sure you understand what you will receive from the professional. Will they do line edits? Are they simply critiquing the scope and tone of the story? Will they provide a detailed write up of the critique or simply a summary? Do they offer a phone consultation or possibly a second consultation? Do your research and compare services, not just cost.
I can’t wait have my manuscripts critiqued. I think it will be just the boost I need to get my stories off my computer and out into the land of submissions!
Have you paid for a critique outside of a conference? What are your thoughts?
|Critiques help you see the big picture.|
Great post Leslie! I have paid for critiques through Manuscript Academy, KidLit College, and Writer's Digest along with an editor years ago. It is something I struggled with over the last few years as to who and how to choose someone when it isn't at a conference or workshop.ReplyDelete
Most folks I asked had only gotten professional critiques at conferences/workshops. Yes, it's hard to choose outside those venues. Thanks for the info!Delete
Nice analysis regarding paid critiques -- very helpful for those considering this great tool for writers' to take their work to the next level.ReplyDelete
I recently got one with Jill Esbaum - wow, so helpful even on the first quick read through.Delete
I agree that Jill is da bomb.Delete
Good tips for writers. Thanks for sharing what you learned.ReplyDelete
Your post is spot on, Leslie. I love your reasons why a paid critique might be helpful...and it's so true that one needs to consider what will be included. If you are only looking for general feedback, it is foolish to pay for line edits. And if you are looking for line edits, the scales may tip in favor of the person who will discount a second look at the same manuscript.ReplyDelete
Great insight Vivian. Thanks for reading and commenting.Delete
This is a great post, and so helpful for those of us considering venturing out for a paid critique. The photos and captions are the icing on the cake.ReplyDelete
Sherri, thanks. Let us know if you decide to jump in with a paid critique.Delete
Wonderful post and yes, you are ready for your story polish., Leslie. I am sure lots of folks will read tis and learn.ReplyDelete
Thanks Kathy, I'm ready to get back into it!Delete
Great post! Yes, I have paid for critiques through workshops, online courses, and individuals. I have found them to be quite helpful.ReplyDelete
Oh, thanks for your experiences Jilanne. Much appreciated.Delete
Terrific tips, Leslie. Thank you.ReplyDelete
Thank you Charlotte! Happy writing to you!Delete
Very true, Leslie! I paid for one or two before I was ready. Now I've learned. :)ReplyDelete
That's what I've been afraid of all along Wendy. Was it too early in my writing life? But the critique I recently had with Jill Esbaum was so helpful - really got down to the nitty gritty.Delete
Great post Leslie. Lots to think about.ReplyDelete
Thank you McMarshall!Delete
Great post! Thank you for the advice :)ReplyDelete
Thanks Jackie for reading and commenting.Delete
Yep, I agree. That professional eye is needed before subbing. Great information. Thank you!ReplyDelete
Thank you Miss Pam!Delete
This is really helpful, Leslie. Thanks for the tips, and good luck with your critiquing and submitting!ReplyDelete
Appreciate the kind words Christy, glad you thought it helpful.Delete
It does help to have a professional critique a manuscript, especially if you've gotten positive feedback but something isn't quite working. Great post looking into this, Leslie!ReplyDelete
Sometimes you do need fresh eyes. Your critique group can sometimes be as close to your manuscript as you are and miss a lot of things staring you in the face. I've had a couple paid critiques from Clara Gillow Clark before on a couple of my MGs. She is good.ReplyDelete