Rate Your Story offers writers a number rating (1-10) on a manuscript for free. If you're a Basic or Pro Member, or purchase a SPEEDPASS, you'll also get a few sentences of feedback. However, you may benefit from having a full critique of your story – something not offered from Rate Your Story.
If you've already received your free rating, you might consider getting a critique or line-edit of your story in order to understand how to make it better (or not tamper with what is so good about it).
Volunteer judges at Rate Your Story offer these services for a fee on their websites. If you want to know (on a much deeper level) what's great–or not so great–about your story, consider getting a professional critique from one of these writers.
NOTE: Basic and Pro Members will automatically be signed up for rotating discount offers on professional critiques. Nonmembers may occasionally be notified of discounts from time to time by signing up for our eNewsletter. These offers and discounts will not be posted online for the general public to view.
Miranda Paul is a freelancer and children's author who specializes in picture books and creative nonfiction (that tends to rhyme). She's authored more than 60 digital stories and readers for children, edited a print collection of folk tales, and published pieces in magazines such as Pockets, Turtle Magazine for Preschool Kids, and Children and Libraries. She has four upcoming picture books: One Plastic Bag (Millbrook/Lerner, Feb. 2015); Water is Water (Neal Porter Books, May 2015); 10 Little Ninjas (Knopf/Random House, 2016) and Helping Hands (Millbrook/Lerner, 2016). Miranda is also a VP of Outreach for We Need Diverse Books, a volunteer for her local SCBWI chapter, and hosts fundraisers for Books for Africa, Inc. View her webpage to learn more.
|Photo: Karen A. Lloyd|
Lisa Wheeler is passionate about children’s books. “I love everything about them, including the smell.” To date, Lisa has thirty titles on library shelves, with more to follow over the next few years. She’s written picture books in prose and rhyme, an easy reader series, three books of poems, and creative nonfiction for the very young. Learn more about Lisa's books at her website, http://lisawheelerbooks.com/LW/home.html. Her professional critique page is available at: http://lisawheelerbooks.com/LW/critique.html.
Jill Esbaum is the author of 11 picture books with major publishers, plus a few titles in the new Angry Birds Playground series. She is a former instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature, and, in addition to critiquing picture book manuscripts privately, she is a longtime workshop facilitator at the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival and co-hosts the annual Whispering Woods Picture Book Writing Workshop. Jill and her husband live on a family farm in eastern Iowa. You can learn more about obtaining a professional critique from Jill at her critiques page, http://www.jillesbaum.com/CRITIQUE.html.
is a children's book author who also works as a freelance editor. She is the author of a YA trilogy (Touch of Death, Stalked by Death, and The Monster Within) from Spencer Hill Press and the forthcoming MG novel The Curse of the Granville Fortune(Month9Books, 2014). She is also the author of five picture books. Hashway is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency. To find out more about her editorial services, visit her website at http://www.kellyhashway.com or her blog at http://kellyhashway.blogspot.com.
Tameka Fryer Brown was awarded one of two First Prizes in the 2008 Cheerios® Spoonfuls of Stories® New Author Contest. Her debut picture book, Around Our Way on Neighbors’ Day (Abrams Books for Young Readers) was selected by the New York Board of Education for its library system—and purchased 69,000 copies! Her second picture book, My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood (Viking Children’s Books/Penguin), is written in rhythmic, free verse and illustrated by CSK winner Shane W. Evans. Her book has been named a 2014 Charlotte Zolotow Honor, a Bank Street College Best Book of 2014, and a CCBC Choices Best Book of 2014. Learn more at http://www.tamekafryerbrown.com/.
Ella Kennen is an agent at the Corvisiero Literary Agency. Before this, she worked as an editor for Musa Publishing, and before that, she published over 100 pieces, including over two dozen articles and stories for children in magazines such as Girl's Life, Appleseeds, Boy's Quest and more. Ella is a big picture-person and loves good world-building and voice. She does not do professional critiques, but she runs the RYS blog. Have questions about agents or writing? Want to blog on Rate Your Story? Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rob Sanders is a writer who teaches and a teacher who writes. Every day you'll find him at Mintz Elementary School in Brandon, Florida where he teaches kids about books and words and reading and writing. Then he scoots back home to write books for children just like those he teaches. On weekends and holidays you might find Rob with his dog, Baxter, at the beach with his great nieces and nephews, or learning and working with other children’s writers. Nothing makes him happier than hearing boys and girls say, “Read it again!” Visit Rob’s web site (where you can learn more about getting a professional picture book critique) at www.robsanderswrites.com and his blog atwww.robsanderswrites.blogspot.com.
Katie Clark is the author of the upcoming YA Enslaved series (Watershed/Pelican Book Group, 2014) and several picture books for Capstone Press, Redline Editorial, and Guardian Angel Publishing. She has also published more than 50 short stories and articles for children and adults, and her writing is represented by Terry Burns of Hartline Literary Agency. For more information about contacting Katie for a professional critique, visit her website at www.katieclarkwrites.com.
Lori Degman is a picture book author and teacher of deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Her first picture book, 1 Zany Zoo (Simon and Schuster, 2010), was the winner of the 2nd Annual Cheerios New Author Contest. Her second picture book, Cock-a-Doodle Oops! (Creston Books), will be released in May, 2014.She writes mostly in rhyme, sometimes in prose, and always with humor. “I love helping writers with their rhyming picture book stories," she said. "My professional critiques include comments on all aspects of the story, as well as a line-by-line review of both rhythm and rhyme.” Learn more about Lori’s critique service on her website: www.Loridegman.com.
Freelance writer and children's librarian Sharon Verbeten has been a writer/journalist for more than 20 years. She has been widely published in national and local trade and consumer titles and she is the author of the book The Best of Barbie (Krause, 2001). Sharon is also the editor of Children & Libraries magazine, the official, refereed journal of the ALA's Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC, the organization that assembles Newbery & Caldecott Committees). She can be reached at email@example.com or via her company's Facebook page under All Write Creative Services.
|Photo: Richard Mayer|
Lisa Albert - Lisa Albert’s thought-provoking young adult novel, Mercy Lily, debuted from Flux in 2011. Lisa’s also written three nonfiction titles including, Stephenie Meyer: Author of the Twilight Saga, Lois Lowry: The Giver of Stories and Memories, and So You Want to Be a Film or TV Actor? She’s been a contributing writer for The Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market where her author profiles and articles on the craft of writing have appeared. Lisa has presented workshops on writing and the publishing industry for the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and has appeared events held by the American Library Association, the American Association of School Librarians, the Wisconsin Book Festival, and the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books. In addition to being an author, Lisa is a Library Assistant at a K-8 school library and loves being surrounded by books and children every day.
Kristen Fulton lives in Central Florida with her husband Rusty, a rocket scientist (really). Kristen's books are represented by Kendra Marcus of Bookstop Literary and she has three forthcoming nonfiction and historical picture books. Kristen is also the founder of Week of Writing: Nonficpic week and organizer of a private picture book retreat that will take place in Georgia in July 2014. When she is not writing or planning her WOW retreat, Kristen likes to watch the Hallmark channel. Learn more at http://www.kristenfulton.org.
Vicky Rubin is an author and illustrator with books from Henry Holt. She specializes in humor. Her rhyming poetry has appeared in Cricket and Spider magazines. Her whimsical illustrations have decorated books, magazines, and greeting cards. She has worked as a writer/proofreader/copyeditor a for over 15 years, for magazines, businesses, and private authors. She has also taught art and English. She's a member of SCBWI and CBIG (Children's Book Illustrators Group) and was a longtime student in Marcia Savin's Writing for Children workshop. She offers detailed critiques, editorial services, and more. In her crits, she looks at character development, structure, language, pacing, plot, and the takeaway. Visit her at http://doodlesoop.com. Critiques page: http://www.doodlesoop.com/critiques/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pam Calvert is an author of children’s picture books, easy readers, and short stories. She has four picture books nationally published that have been translated into Chinese, Korean, Catalan, and Spanish with more to come. Her Princess Peepers series has won awards and some of her books are Scholastic Book Club titles, including Multiplying Menace: The Revenge of Rumpelstiltskin. She offers a free picture book workshop, Picture Book University, on her blog as well as a highly praised critique service. She is represented by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
Nancy Stewart is the bestselling and award winning author of the four Bella and Britt Series books for children: One Pelican at a Time (eighteen weeks on Amazon Bestselling List), Sea Turtle Summer (International Classics Gold Book Award), Bella Saves the Beach and Mystery at Manatee Key. Her book, Katrina and Winter: Partners in Courage, is the authorized biography of Katrina Simpkins and her life changing relationship with Winter, the dolphin (International Classics Silver Award, 2013) A frequent speaker and presenter at writing conferences throughout the United States, Nancy conducts many for SCBWI and speaks to school children frequently. Learn more at www.nancystewartbooks.com, read her blog, or visit her on Twitter or Facebook.
Terrie Hope grew up in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Africa, and founded Critique Cafe as a way for writers to network, join critique groups, and get help with their manuscripts. Terrie is as much of a reader as a writer, and has contributed to creative endeavors ranging from puppet plays to church newsletters. If you're looking for critique partners, visit Critique Cafe or connect with Terrie via her website, www.TerrieHope.com.
Katrina DeLallo is a spiritual, fantasy writer whose work has been published in several eZines, SuperTeacherWorksheets.com, and in print anthologies published by Static Movement. Her earliest writing memory stems from the age of six, when she wrote her first story into a journal given to her by one of her older sisters. She adores imagining new worlds, new places, new people and characters. Her main draw is to fantasy, because fantasy allows her to create worlds that do not exist. Visit Katrina's blog or request a critique at her website, The World Crafter.
Want to know what to expect from a professional critique? Harold Underdown's website has an entire page devoted to what a writer can expect from a professional critique here.