Introductory Critique

Written assessment of your manuscript’s first 10 pages, addressing craft, market, and overall effectiveness

The Editorial Department’s introductory critique provides a fast, affordable means for writers to get vital feedback on the pages that matter most: your opening.

Our experienced fiction and nonfiction editors know what agents and publishers want and will provide a detailed, written critique of your opening, a candid assessment of whether or not your work is ready for the marketplace, and specific suggestions to make your opening more captivating. Included in the price is a brief follow-up consultation by phone or email, so you can ask questions, discuss ideas, and plan next steps.

Please note that this service is available for novels, novellas, and narrative nonfiction only, with a projected final word count over 15,000. Authors interested in critiques of shorter works, such as stories, essays, and flash fiction, should contact the Tucson office.

The written component of the introductory critique is an editorial memo, from an editor experienced in your genre, which usually ranges between 2–3 pages in length and breaks down the following:

  • what works
  • what doesn’t work or could work better
  • specific suggestions to improve the pages
  • ideas for next steps, if you’d like further help with more of the manuscript
  • your editor’s overall impression of the condition of your opening and where it stands relative to the genre’s expectations and conventions

This memo will be delivered to you as a Microsoft Word document, with an invitation for you to follow up with your editor by phone or email, so you can discuss the comments, ask questions, plan next steps, and so on. This follow-up consultation is included in the price.

Jocelyn Bailey

Favorite genres include historical fiction, women's fiction, literary fiction, memoir, and topical nonfiction

Amanda Bauch
Favorite genres include historical fiction, women’s fiction, science, medicine, urban fantasy, Christian, self-help, memoir, and autobiography
Whitney Bak

Favorite genres include women’s fiction, fantasy, romance, YA/MG fiction, and narrative nonfiction

Gregory Collins

Favorite genres include literary fiction, memoir, mainstream fiction, and coming-of-age novels

Julian Delfino

Favorite genres include fantasy, science fiction, YA fiction, literary  and mainstream fiction

Sean Fletcher

Favorite genres include fantasy, science fiction, YA fiction, and MG fiction

Marcia Ford

Favorite genres include memoir, multi cultural fiction, literary fiction, thrillers, and thoughtful works on religion and spirituality

Karinya Funsett-Topping

Favorite genres include literary fiction, romance, short stories, essays, and stories involving animals or magic realism

Peter Gelfan

Favorite genres include memoir, literary fiction, mainstream fiction, humor and satire, thrillers, science, and philosophy

Lindsay Guzzardo

Favorite genres include contemporary women's fiction, romance, literary fiction, mainstream fiction, and historical fiction

John Robert Marlow

Favorite genres include thrillers, mystery/suspense, action/adventure, middle grade and YA fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and true crime

Julie Miller

Favorite genres include memoir, literary fiction, thrillers, and books involving ecology, nature, animals, and the environment

Brian Preston

Favorite genres include humor and satire, memoir, travel, and historical fiction and nonfiction

Shannon Roberts

Favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy,  LGBTQ, and magic realism

Diane Stockwell

Favorite genres include memoir, history, politics, science, true crime, women's fiction, mainstream fiction, and historical fiction

An introductory critique is $75 for up to 2,500 words. Pricing for longer samples of any length available on request.

Turnaround time for introductory critiques is usually less than 1 week.

To request a quote, make a submission, or request more information 

Please visit our online welcome center, email us at, or call us at (520) 546-9992.

What happens next?

All inquiries to The Editorial Department will be personally fielded by author services director Ross Browne, who will do the following:

  • confirm receipt of your materials
  • gather any further information needed
  • do a no-cost/no-obligation preliminary review, to get a feel for which editor(s) and service(s) best fit your project’s needs
  • provide a written quote with price and turnaround time for any recommended services
  • answer any questions about recommended options or possible alternatives
  • schedule your project with the assigned editor, if you decide to move forward
  • explain and finalize the appropriate billing arrangements
  • provide a firm delivery date and keep you updated on our progress, as appropriate
  • deliver your feedback or editing to you once it’s ready
  • arrange for follow up with your editor by phone or email, once you have reviewed your feedback and/or editing
  • advise on next steps, and schedule reviews of new drafts if requested

Privacy & Confidentiality

We have utmost respect for our clients’ privacy concerns and will never sell, share, or disseminate your contact information. We will treat all materials supplied to us as confidential.

Formal nondisclosure agreements are not required but are available on request. More info is available here.

“…coherence in the world [an author] creates is constituted of two concepts he holds, which may be in conflict: one is his world view, his sense of the way the world is; and the other is his sense of morality, the way the world ought to be.”

Rust Hills