Manuscript Critique with Annotations

When you get a manuscript* critique from me, you're getting over 30 years of writing experience, including 20+ years of publishing and critiquing experience. When you combine that with my years as Director and CEO of The Institute for Writers and the Institute of Children's Literature, you get someone who has critiqued hundreds of submitted manuscripts.

I offer critiques of up to 1,000 words (one manuscript per critique), including an email follow-up of any questions you may have. You'll receive your manuscript back (usually within one week), annotated with both forest and trees. That is, I give you the broad strokes as well as the details. You receive:

  • story and character input
  • questions you need to ask yourself about your story
  • input on when you need more show and less tell
  • feedback on where your story is working, and where it is not
  • word choice input
  • punctuation and typo alerts
  • formatting guidance so when you submit to an agent or publisher, you're using proper and standard formatting for your specific manuscript
  • help in narrowing your target audience.

A one-on-one critique with extensive annotation: $300

If you want a 30-minute live consultation (on Zoom) after you receive the critique: $400. Please CLICK HERE for that offer.

Want a more affordable option? CLICK HERE.

Here is the kind of critique I do (this video was from a free workshop I hosted).

* A manuscript is not a “bible” of your story with things like character descriptions, motives, a theme description, lessons taught, illustrations, or even a book dummy.

This is a manuscript, and how to format your submission to me:

1. Please save your submission as a Word doc named: 


After you have checked the nomenclature for typos (it has happened multiple times, making the doc unsearchable), email it as an attachment to

2. How to format your manuscript:

  • Word count: in upper right
  • Insert 3” and then enter title
  • Title should be centered and capped
  • Place your name centered below the title in 12 pt. Times New Roman
  • No cover page for picture books
  • Double-space story text
  • 1-inch margins all round. (That is default in Word)
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph by .5”
  • Left align paragraphs, ragged right
  • No lines between paragraphs
  • One space between sentences (If you’re of a certain age and learned on a typewriter, retrain yourself not to include two spaces!)
  • In the header on any subsequent pages: ONLY include your name and title on upper left, page number on upper right. I find that making the header text a lighter color than the body text is helpful. Grey works. 

The example below is meant to be blurry. I just want you to see the format (to see a larger version click on the images above, under the product image).




I offer critiques of up to 1,000 words per manuscript, including any emailed follow-up questions you may have. That includes your annotated manuscript sent back to you usually within one week, with my notes, line by line. I give forest and trees, meaning the big and little picture. If you want a 30-minute live (Zoom) consultation to discuss your manuscript after you receive the written critique, sign up for that here.