I believe in positive critique--that people can learn as much from seeing what they do right as they do from seeing what needs to be improved. I also believe the strongest manuscripts and the best writing comes from the writer’s own mind and heart. So while my critique will contain many specific suggestions, the client usually does the actual revision.
I have published both for the trade and for education publishers. I have three published novels, five picture books and hundreds of short fiction and nonfiction pieces for magazines and newspapers. For twenty years I’ve taught writing and edited manuscripts for the Institute of Children’s Literature, in schools, and at writing conferences.
How it works:
In my basic critique I focus on setting, characters, conflict, pacing, style, etc. I don’t do much substantive or line editing in this kind of critique. Instead I focus on the whole book or ‘big picture.’ I will write comments on the manuscript and also write you a 4-8 page single spaced editorial letter.
Most of my experience is in the field of writing for children, but I will occasionally critique writing for adults. I critique short fiction (including both short stories and picture books) and novels, and both nonfiction books and articles. I do not critique horror.
You’ll begin by emailing me (at ) the first 2500 words of your manuscript and a letter describing your project--including the word count. The sample (and the manuscript when you send it) should be double-spaced, in 12 point or larger font. I’d also like you to describe your goals and what you hope for from the critique. I will read your sample, and based on the total word count and what you need in the critique, I’ll let you know if I can take on your project, estimate the cost, and tell you how long it will take. If you want to go ahead, you’ll send me the entire manuscript and a $100 pre-payment. As I’m working on your project I may email you with questions to be sure I understand your project thoroughly. When I’m finished I’ll send you the manuscript, my letter, and invoice for the balance of the payment.
I charge $40/hour.
Minimum fee - $40. (I’ll spend an hour critiquing your project even if it’s very short.)
For a rough estimate of costs,
•Figure 4000 words per hour of my time for book critiques.
(So a 35,000 word book might average 8-9 hours.)
•Figure 1000 words per hour of my time for a shorter work.
Please note: while I am a very fast reader and an efficient editor, I also believe that you deserve a thorough and thoughtful critique so I won’t rush through the work.
For questions or to discuss your project, please email me at
“When I was re-writing Jingo Fever, my middle grade historical novel, Patty Pfitsch was a godsend. She knows just how to encourage you as a writer while at the same time pointing out how your writing can be improved. I’m not sure I could’ve ever gotten Jingo Fever right without her!”
Stephanie GoLightly Lowden