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Critique Services

 

I've been writing children's books since 2011. All along, many of the agents and editors to whom I submitted my work have responded to and commented on my queries and manuscripts. I discovered I have a talent that can help writers improve their chances of receiving responses on their submissions.


My current services are for kidlit queries in the U.S. only. Please note that no one can guarantee you will be offered representation or a book deal. My services can help increase your chances of having your manuscript read and receiving a response. The query letter is essentially a teaser to create interest. After all, the goal of the query is to intrigue the reader well enough that your story is read.


If you are interested in my services, please complete my contact form here. Query letters must be no longer than 300 words.


Query Letter Critique - $39

You will receive a review stating what works in your letter and where it can be improved. Issues with sentence structure or typos will be pointed out.


In-Line Query Letter Critique - $75

You will receive in-line reviewer comments and suggestions for alternate phrasing including corrections of basic grammar and spelling errors.


For picture book writers who would like a review of their entire submission package, both the query letter and manuscript, please request when you contact me here to receive a quote.


To help you to write the best letter you can before requesting my services, I recommend reviewing following posts:


8 Query Tips No One Tells Writers, Carly Watters, Literary Agent
Query Letters That Worked, Sub It Club
Writing Your Query Letter, Tracy Marchini, Literary Agent

 

First and foremost, the query letter is a business letter. Publishing is a business, and agents and editors like to be approached respectfully and professionally. It's a small industry, and your first impression needs to be a good one.

 

Tips

  1. Address the agent or editor by name, not To Whom It May Concern or Dear Agent. This sounds so simple, yet I hear it at nearly every agent panel I've attended. 
  2. If you don't have a good way to personalize your opening (e.g. from your research or having met an agent at a conference), go right into your pitch. The point is to intrigue the agent or editor into wanting to read more. A forced attempt at personalization will quickly be recognized for what it is. 
  3. Keep your bio paragraph short and only include what is relevant. For example, if you are submitting a nonfiction picture book and your undergraduate degree demonstrates your expertise on the subject, then mention it. I never shared I have an undergraduate degree in Psychology because it was never directly relevant.
  4. If you don't have writing credentials, just list your writing association membership(s). Paid memberships show you take your writing career seriously. Avoid apologizing for a lack of credentials.
  5. Do not mention how much children, critique partners or teachers love your book. It will mark you as an amateur.
  6. Avoid stating how your book will address an important societal issue. Manuscripts described as didactic will likely not spark interest. 

 

My Story


When I spoke to a librarian in my community several years ago about the rejections I had been receiving, she said the responses reveal that my work is being read. I had not realized just how inundated agents and editors are with query letters. My stories were making it through the filter.


I then took a course in writing query letters conducted by literary agents. The feedback I received was that my letter did not need any revision at all. After joining my current critique group, one of my critique partners called me the "query letter whisperer." 


To be clear, I am currently represented and seeking to become a debut author. I would even hazard a guess that my early query letters were better than my stories. I have over two decades experience in human resources and helping people with their cover letters and resumes. So the dreaded query letter was not a dreary task for me. I have years of honed business letter writing skills to apply to the publishing industry.


I look forward to hearing from you and helping you with your kidlit writing career.