“What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters. You can’t reread a phone call.”
 -Liz Carpenter

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Writer’s Digest University has a critique service I just recently became aware of. Just to point out: This is not an editorial service. They state they will not edit your manuscript; they will only critique your manuscript. Each novel manuscript must be at least 50 pages and it is a cost of $3.00 per page (or $4.00 per page for the Premium Level). For a short story manuscript, the fee is $4.00 per page, between 5-30 pages. They also critique query letters and synopses.

Writer’s Digest University 2nd Draft is the link. There is also a “Sample Letter” to view how the professional critiquers do what they do.

Personally, I think the novel critiques can become rather pricy, considering they don’t even edit the manuscript for you by checking the grammar and whatnot, but I’m sure some would appreciate this! Receiving feedback on the overall plot, the arc of the story, characterization, and etc. is something a writer yearns for. On the other hand, this is through Writer’s Digest, and they have to make it worth it for the critiquers to do this. So I totally understand the price on that front.

One could argue and say that an author could benefit just as much (if not, more) by joining a critique group and getting input from their peers. The variety of voices and opinions in a critique group will help pinpoint just what needs revision, as opposed to one opinion from a paid professional.

Don’t get me wrong though. I’m not knocking professional critiques.  I’m linking to it after all. I think it is all a matter of preference and what the situation is. If one can’t find a critique group they like, or they have no writer friends to give adequate feedback, then this would be an alternative. But just because no one has published twenty books and has five short story collections and been writing for longer than you’ve been born doesn’t mean they don’t have valuable input.

Speaking of “non-professionals” (and here comes the plug, haha), I do provide critique services on my website. I’m doing this currently free of charge, as I’m not sure if I want to charge for it or not. I’m not hiding the fact I’m considering compensation, as I just want to be upfront about it.

On that note, if you go to my website and click on Critique Services, I even provide a link to the critique site that I use to get my work reviewed. If it works for me, maybe other people will like it as well. If not, they can try me. Or they can do both. Or use Writer’s Digest’s 2nd Draft. It’s all about providing options to writers and see which one works for each writer.

A business-minded person may question whether it’s wise to link to a critique site while I’m offering my own critique services. Especially if I eventually require a fee to critique, they would think it’s ridiculous to keep that link there. But I’m a writer-minded person. If I’m not looking out for my peers — my fellow writers — and offering as much insight as I have, I wouldn’t feel like I’m being fair.

If we’re not in this together, to truly help each other grow and succeed, I don’t see the point of it.

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