Critique Service

Are you a children's book writer looking for additional feedback on a manuscript?

First, I highly recommend this article about why critique partners/groups and feedback are essential to any writer's journey, this article on finding critique groups, and this article on paying for critiques.

To get the most of your time and resources, make sure you've revised your manuscript multiple times yourself and read many other books similar to yours to learn what you can about structure, voice, characterization, and more before you contact someone for critiques outside of your critique group.

Why get an outside critique?

If you've written a manuscript, having someone else give feedback can help bring up questions that can guide future rounds of revision as well as encourage you in what's working well!

Note: Freelance editors/critiquers cannot guarantee a manuscript will be ready for traditional publication. We can help guide you in that direction with thoughtful comments and resources.

What I can offer and pricing:

My critiques provide 1) 1-2 pages of overall editorial comments and suggestions, 2) in-line comments on specific parts and lines of your document (through the Track Changes feature in Word), 3) comparative titles ("comp titles") of published books to help you in your revision process, and 4) other resource links as appropriate. I only do light copyediting, which does not count as professional copyediting.

  • Critique on a picture book manuscript, fiction or nonfiction (up to 1,000 words) - $25

  • Critique on a picture book manuscript, fiction or nonfiction (between 1,000 and 2,000 words) - $45

  • Critique on first three chapters of a completed middle grade novel (up to 10,000 words) - $70

  • Critique on a full manuscript of a middle grade novel (up to 55,000 words) - $250

I typically return picture book manuscript critiques and first three chapter critiques within 2 weeks of receipt. Middle grade novels may take up to 6 weeks, but timing depends on current workload and will be discussed with the client.

How to get a critique

Please contact me via email with a couple of sentences about you, your project, and any specific questions you may have about revising your project. (If you are requesting a full critique of a middle grade novel, I will typically send a brief set of questions to help us both gauge if it's the right time for a full critique on that particular project.) Then, I will confirm with you that I can critique your project at this time and send you further instructions. Please be sure your manuscript is in a Word document since I work with the Track Changes feature.

My experience:

  • 7+ years of learning about writing craft for picture books and middle grade novels

  • 7+ years of experience with active critique groups and getting essential feedback from paying for outside critiques

  • SCBWI member since 2013

  • Picture book mentorship in 2015 through my SCBWI chapter with author Kristy Dempsey

  • PitchWars 2017 mentee and mentorship with author Jenny Lundquist for a middle grade project

  • Volunteer reader (6-month position) for middle grade projects for a literary agency

Testimonials from clients

"Caroline's thoughtful critiques burst with insight, somehow managing to operate on the big picture level while remaining fully attuned to details and nuance. Her comments are absolutely priceless!" - Gillian McDunn, middle grade author of Caterpillar Summer and The Queen Bee and Me and These Unlucky Stars

"Caroline's critiques spark an enthusiasm for revision. She pinpoints the heart of a story and balances feedback with thoughtful insight and encouragement. Her comp titles are relevant and have been invaluable for revision and submission." - Anna Totten, author-illustrator

"I would not be where I am today in my career without Caroline's insightful ideas and careful commentary that always leaves my work more focused, polished, and ultimately--publishable. Caroline is a critique wizard in all the best ways. She always knows a comp title, what is currently working in the publishing marketplace, and where there is a hole that can be filled." - Camille Andros, author of multiple picture books, including The Dress and the Girl and Charlotte the Scientist