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Paying for Editorial services of a PB manuscript you want to submit to agents

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Hi SCBWI Community-

I am curious to hear about anyone's experience with paying for editorial feedback on a PB manuscript. I have taken my manuscript as far as I can, and am thinking this might be a wise investment.

If you have gone this route, would you mind sharing a ballpark figure of what the fees where? And what was included in the services rendered....Much appreciated. ~Ana
#1 - November 19, 2021, 08:08 AM

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Hi Ana,

I critique PB manuscripts, both for individual clients and as a part of PBCritiqueFest. (See Brian Gehrlein on Twitter.)
For testimonials, you can check out my website, jodyjensenshaffer.com.

Jody
#2 - November 19, 2021, 02:44 PM
PRUDENCE, THE PART-TIME COW, A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK, BUSY BUS series, EMERGENCY KITTENS, and more!
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Hi Ana,

I also do paid critiques, but I very much recommend you find a critique group for free first. The Blueboard has a section for finding crit groups or partners and a place where you can post your manuscript for critique:  https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?board=121.0 and https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?board=127.0. Your local chapter may also have groups. If you've already taken the manuscript as far as you can with a group, it may be beneficial to pay for a critique. Rates vary with the experience of the person. Former agents and editors may still have a hand in the industry in the way an author can't. Well-published authors may do this as a sideline, and clearly know how to achieve success. But be sure you use someone who knows PBs and is a good fit for you and your manuscript.

I suggest going as far as you can for free because you want to be in a position where the manuscript won't need many rounds of revision, each at a cost.
#3 - November 19, 2021, 06:35 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
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I suggest going as far as you can for free because you want to be in a position where the manuscript won't need many rounds of revision, each at a cost.

This.

After you've taken it as far as you can. Swap stories with another writer. You'll be amazed at how much you learn by giving critiques too. And send your work out. If you're not getting any bites, then it's time to start looking into paid crits. Good luck!

#4 - November 20, 2021, 06:31 AM
Little Thief! Max & Midnight, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

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Hi Ana,

I also do paid critiques, but I very much recommend you find a critique group for free first. The Blueboard has a section for finding crit groups or partners and a place where you can post your manuscript for critique:  https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?board=121.0 and https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?board=127.0. Your local chapter may also have groups. If you've already taken the manuscript as far as you can with a group, it may be beneficial to pay for a critique. Rates vary with the experience of the person. Former agents and editors may still have a hand in the industry in the way an author can't. Well-published authors may do this as a sideline, and clearly know how to achieve success. But be sure you use someone who knows PBs and is a good fit for you and your manuscript.

I suggest going as far as you can for free because you want to be in a position where the manuscript won't need many rounds of revision, each at a cost.

Debbie (and also Ana & Jody)), this is so helpful. Ana, thank you for asking this question. I am in a similar spot and ready to move forward. I guess I will post on the boards to find a critique group, but once I move past that, I will come back to get some professional feedback. I did have one question - what if your book is already illustrated? Should you just go ahead and self-publish?
#5 - December 29, 2021, 02:00 PM
Ellie Kleinman

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Debbie (and also Ana & Jody)), this is so helpful. Ana, thank you for asking this question. I am in a similar spot and ready to move forward. I guess I will post on the boards to find a critique group, but once I move past that, I will come back to get some professional feedback. I did have one question - what if your book is already illustrated? Should you just go ahead and self-publish?

It depends on what your goals are. Self-publishing can be tough. You have to take on every role in a publishing house. Are you able to market, art direct, etc? Will you be happy with very few sales? (Which, of course, could happen either way.) Do you want the validation of a gate keeper taking your work on? Read posts in the self-publishing area to get a feel for it.

If your illustrator is a professional picture book illustrator, some traditional publishers will take the illustrated dummy from both of you together, but this isn't the norm. If this isn't professional quality art, do not submit it to a publisher or agent.

#6 - December 29, 2021, 06:08 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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Ana,

I haven't tried out any of the others mentioned here, but I can vouch for Jody's critique skills! She recently critiqued 2 of my PB manuscripts, and her comments were not only incredibly helpful, but very positive and affirming. It's easy to get a critique back and feel dejected and discouraged, but Jody does a really great job balancing her constructive comments with positive ones.

Good luck, and have fun on your writing journey!

Andi Chitty
#7 - December 30, 2021, 08:15 AM

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Aww, thanks so much, Andi!  :flowers2
#8 - December 30, 2021, 01:15 PM
PRUDENCE, THE PART-TIME COW, A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK, BUSY BUS series, EMERGENCY KITTENS, and more!
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Of course, Jody! Thank *you*! :yourock
#9 - December 30, 2021, 01:36 PM

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For everyone on this thread, I would like to say this: I'm a professional writer, editor, coach, and critiquer. And, yes, I do charge for my services. And I don't have any problem with others in the same situation charging either. However, I am starting to be bothered by agents who are charging to critique. I know of an agent who charged a lot of money to read someone's novel. I feel there's an invisible line between what agents should and shouldn't do, and that she had stepped over it.
#10 - January 01, 2022, 02:16 PM
Ronda Roaring

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