Picture book authors hear this all the time. So many people assume that writing picture books is easy. It’s not. Creating a compelling story that resonates with both children and adults in 1,000 or less is incredibly challenging. A professional critique can make all the difference in making your manuscript polished and submission-ready.

Who should consider a professional critique?

The easy answer is “everyone”! Although I belong to a critique group, I often get professional critiques of my work, and it’s been invaluable. But if you need more specific reasons, here are a few:
• If you’re new to picture book writing and need feedback from someone with
• If you have a great story idea, but your manuscript isn’t coming together.
• If your story has received multiple rejections from agents and/or editors.
• If your word count is high, but you can’t bear to cut anything.
• If you’re too close to your story and can’t see what might need to change.

Why should I hire you?

• I have experience writing both fiction and nonfiction picture books.
• My books have received a number of awards, including the ALA Stonewall Award, the International Reading Association Notable Books for a Global Society Award, and the ForeWord Book of the Year Award.
• I have experience giving professional critiques, particularly at SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) conferences.
• I’ve taught a number of “how to write a picture book” workshops.
• I’m well-versed in rhyme, meter, rhythm, story arc, character development, and plotting.
• If your story contains LGBTQIA+ themes (particularly if you are not LGBTQIA+), that’s an area where I have specific expertise.

What to Expect from a Critique

I will give you a “big picture” perspective about your manuscript. Specifically, I will give you
feedback about:
• whether your story “hooks” the reader
• whether your plot is strong
• whether your story arc works
• whether your characters are likeable yet flawed, relatable, and well-developed.

I will also give you more specific, line-by-line feedback. Every manuscript is different, so these specifics will vary from one manuscript to the next. My feedback may address things like:
• tense
• point of view
• awkward or clumsy writing
• transitions
• dialogue
• action
• active vs. passive voice
• telling vs. showing
• underlying tension
• endings.

Some other things to expect:

• I will give feedback about the marketability of your manuscript.
• I will probably recommend mentor texts for you to read. These might be picture books about the same topic as your manuscript. They could be books that use a similar style as your manuscript (such as rhyme). I might ask you to look at picture books for the illustrations, or to see how the text and illustrations complement one another. Or I might encourage you to read craft-oriented books that teach specifics about picture book writing.

And, of course, I will tell you what I love about your story!

Critique Fees

If you are interested in receiving a professional critique from me, please e-mail me at Please put CRITIQUE REQUEST in the subject line of your e-mail. Once I’ve received your request, I will send you a PayPal invoice. I will begin your critique once I’ve received payment. My turnaround time is usually two weeks or less.

My fees are:
$75 for a picture book manuscript of 1,000 words or less.
$100 for a picture book manuscript that is over 1,000 words.
$120 for a picture book manuscript (fiction or nonfiction) with extensive back matter.
$50 for a second review after you’ve completed a revision.

When submitting your manuscript, please use the format listed below:
• Your manuscript should be in a Word document.
• Contact information should be in the upper left corner, single spaced.
• Include the word count under your contact information.
• Use 1-inch margins.
• Include a title in ALL CAPS halfway down the first page.
• Double space your text.
• Use a common 12-point font, such as Times New Roman.
• Don’t include page breaks in your manuscript.
• Keep illustration notes to a minimum.

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