Manuscript Critique Service
Getting a professional manuscript critique can be key to publication. Are you preparing to submit your story? Have a manuscript that isn’t quite working? Whether you are pre-published or published and want a fresh, critical look at your work, you’ve come to the right place. Review my offering below, then fill out my Contact form, type Manuscript Critique in the subject line, and we’re off!
What I offer
A thorough, written critique of picture books at a fee of $185 per manuscript.
I'll provide a deep dive into the heart of your story to give you detailed notes on:
● character development
● story arc
● next steps
I’ll tell you what’s working, what needs improvement and why. I will provide line edits and/or in-line comments as well. I will help brainstorm solutions to plot problems I see, whenever possible. I welcome a follow-up email exchange, or 15-minute phone or Zoom call once you’ve digested my critique, to answer any questions or clarify any notes. If you'd like a second round critique on the same manuscript, it's $65.
Picture book word count
Your picture book should not exceed 1000 words (rule of thumb for fiction is between 300-750, but usually picture books hover around 500 words). If it does, you may not have written a picture book! If you’re unsure about word count, check out these guidelines. If your picture book is more than 1000 words, I may not take it on.
How should I format my manuscript?
Start halfway down the first page with the title and byline centered, text is double-spaced below title, page numbers starting on page 2, and a header that includes your name, contact info, and word count. Send to me as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx). (I’d rather spend the time helping you with your story than helping you format it properly.)
Want to to have a chat and pick my brain? I offer a 45-minute phone or video consultation for $125, that covers the children’s book industry, tips for getting started, submission strategies, and other nuts and bolts. I'll answer any questions you may have to the best of my ability. Simply fill out my Contact form and type Consultation Service in the subject line. I'll be in touch to set up a time.
Payment and Delivery
For a manuscript critique, I will provide your critique to you within 3 weeks of payment, but likely sooner. For a consultation, I'll be in touch to set up a time. I accept Venmo, electronic check, or physical check if you do not have a paperless method.
Why should I pay Sue? In other words, show me your credentials:
*clears throat* I am the award-winning, bestselling author of Sadie Sprocket Builds a Rocket, I’m a Ballerina!, Robots, Robots Everywhere!, How to Trap a Leprechaun, Mary Had a Little Lab, and dozens of other children's books. My books have sold over 850k copies worldwide and my background is in copywriting, public relations and marketing. I’ve been published in O Magazine, HuffPo, Writer's Digest; & more, and have written for the Walt Disney Company. My books have received high praise and starred reviews, honors from SCBWI, have been used in school curricula, museum educational programs, been named to many Best Of book lists, and have even been translated into multiple languages. Many of my books have been picked up by the Scholastic Book Clubs catalog and both The Bug Book and The Hug Book have graced Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (USA and Australia). Mary Had a Little Lab was named to Oklahoma's Redbud Read-Aloud Award masterlist and won Best in Rhyme for 2018. I’m a member of SCBWI and the Children's Book Guild of DC.
What are you waiting for?
If you are serious about getting published and enjoying a career in children’s books, getting a professional critique is an important step. If you are interested in having me critique your picture book and getting your story closer to being polished and publishable, please fill out my Contact form, type Manuscript Critique in the subject line, and let’s whip that manuscript into shape!
“Sue has a knack for seeing what a manuscript needs! When it comes to wordplay, rhythm and rhyme, her work hits the mark every time. You can trust her advice and edits implicitly when it comes to your work. I highly recommend her critique services.” – Lezlie Evans, children’s book author
“Sue Fliess is never short on writing advice. Her years of experience as a picture book author have given her a gift for knowing what works. Not only does she offer line by line comments, she also explains her thoughts behind her feedback. Sue is skilled at spotting plot issues and can guide a writer out of their biggest predicament. She is remarkable at rhyming and encourages aspiring rhymers to push themselves beyond fillers to find their strongest words. Sue’s energy and talent are sure to bring some magic to your manuscript.”
– Ann Marie Stephens, children’s book author
"Sue is a master storyteller with an eagle eye for craft, structure, and wordplay. Her deep knowledge of the industry and extensive understanding of what makes manuscripts tick would be a huge asset to any children's writer looking to take their work to the next level. From the smallest detail edits to big picture feedback, Sue always offers thoughtful, useful notes, with a dash of inspiration and fun." -- Tim McCanna, children's book author
"Sue Fliess is the "Reina of Rhyme" and a master at the mechanics of picture book writing! Sue has critiqued my work for many years and I am still in awe at her ability to open my eyes to what's needed on the page. Whether she's catching my grammatical errors, finding just the right word or turn of phrase to make a sentence sing, or offering helpful ideas to improve the narrative, Sue's gentle and clear critiques are always spot on. I recommend Sue to any picture book writer (newby or professional) needing an expert eye to help take their work to the next level." – Kirk Livingston, children's writer