Auctions: A Professional Critique of Your Manuscript.

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

Last year, as part of the fundraiser, I offered to read people’s manuscripts and give them feedback if they made a sizable donation to the Heifer.

The response was much more enthusiastic than I expected. Several people took me up on the offer, with some donations going over three thousand dollars.

So this year I decided to expand things a bit. I’ve gathered a few professionals willing to donate their critiquing skills to the cause. We’re auctioning off one read-and critique from each of them.

My thought is this, with different people to choose from, everyone has a better chance of winning the critique that suits them the best. Also, since we’re offering several options, the overall prices should probably be lower this year.

All auctions are starting at the price of one (1) penny. So go ahead and make a bid. Who knows, you might get lucky…

And remember folks, all the proceeds go to improving people’s lives all over the world with Heifer International. Personally, I think these would make great Christmas gifts for that hard-to-shop for writer in your life…

[Edit: If your manuscript won’t be ready to read for a month or two, that’s fine. It’s not like you win the auction and have to drop your book in the mail the very next day.

On the other hand, if your manuscript won’t be ready for 8 or 9 months. You should probably wait and hope we do this again next year.]

  • A read-and-critique of your manuscript by novelist and industry insider Anton Strout.

I’ve known Anton for years, and though he happens to be my mortal enemy, I appreciate his willingness to help out Heifer International by donating his time and energy to the cause.

Official description of his critique is as follows:

Anton Strout (author of the Simon Canderous urban fantasy series for Ace Books) will read your manuscript and mark it up as he would his very own, probably with less swearing. He will make notes giving his approach to what you are trying to convey, offer critical suggestions and comment on what you’ve sent. Please bear in mind that this is in no way a promise or guarantee that your work will be published. What you’re paying for is the opinion of someone who has worked for over a decade as a published author.

Anton has worked in both the writer’s workshop environment as well as the business side of the industry at one of the major New York publishing houses. He will strive to return his critique to you in a timely fashion which is dependent on his availability due to deadlines with his publisher.

Interested? You can bid on the critique by Anton Strout over here.

  • A read-and-critique of the first 20,000 words of your manuscript by agent Matt Bialer.

Matt is my agent, and I love him to pieces. He worked with me on my book back before we had a publisher. He’s all kinds of smart, understands stories, and I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

You can get more of his professional information HERE.

Matt Bialer (literary agent) will read and evaluate the opening chapters of one manuscript (up to 20,000 words) within three months of submission, not including the last few weeks of December. He will read and critique, and help the author think about the issues that could be raised by editors at publishing houses. He will write a general evaluation of the book, both strengths and weaknesses, but line editing is NOT included. If the book is fantastic or has the potential to be fantastic then offering representation is not out of the question — but representation is not a guarantee.

Interested? You can bid on this critique from Matt Bialer over here.

  • A read-and-critique of the first 20,000 words of your manuscript by Lindsay Ribar.

Lindsay is Matt’s assistant. That means she reads a lot of manuscripts and works intimately with the publishing world every day. What’s more, she does work as a freelance editor. In short, she knows about stories, what sells, and how the industry works. What more could you ask for, really?

Here’s the offical description of what she’s offering:

Lindsay Ribar (assistant to Matt Bialer, freelance editor) will read and evaluate the opening chapters of one manuscript (up to 20,000 words) within six weeks of submission. She will write a general evaluation of the book, with a focus on character, language, and story structure. Line- and copy-editing are not included. Representation is not a guarantee, but not out of the question either. Lindsay is open to editing all genres of fiction, but keep in mind that the bulk of her experience lies in the realm of YA, fantasy, SF, thrillers, and mysteries.

Interested? You can bid on the critique by Lindsay Ribar over here.


Man. It’s hard for me to do these promotional write-ups for myself. Let’s see…

Before I became a published writer, I was a teacher for five years. Before that, I was a writing tutor for nine years. So I know something about giving productive feedback on a piece of writing. I’ve read roughly ten thousand novels, and my first book, the Name of the Wind, is published or forthcoming in 30 languages.

I think about stories all the time and am obsessive about revision. I also have a soothing baritone voice, an IQ in the 160s, and the ability to steal any other mutant’s power just by touching them.

Ah hell… See? I can never take these things seriously. Just read the official description below for the details:

Patrick Rothfuss (international bestselling author, lover of women, and hirsute iconoclast) will read your manuscript and give you critical feedback. We’ll schedule this based on when your manuscript will be ready and my own schedular constraints.

I’ll read through your manuscript, scrawling notes and dirty words in the margins, then I’ll call you on the phone and we can discuss it. I won’t write you up a detailed critique because that’s not how I roll. But we’ll probably chat on the phone for a couple of hours discussing the various strengths and weaknesses of the book, your writing craft, and I’ll offer any suggestions I might have.

If I think your book is super-awesome, I might be willing to pass it along to someone. But be very aware that what you’re buying here is a critique, not a blurb or an introduction to the publishing world. A critique.

Interested? You can bid on the critique by Pat Rothfuss over here.

Remember folks, all these auctions will be ending next Sunday night (December 20th). Time is limited, so if you know someone that might be interested, I’d appreciate you spreading the word…

If you want to head back to the main Worldbuilders page, click HERE.

With thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.

This entry was posted in Subterranean Press, the craft of writing, Worldbuilders 2009By Pat20 Responses


  1. musicgeek
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

    Hooray! An opportunity!!!! I love the picture of you.

  2. Josiah Cadicamo
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

    Aww, if only you had done this a year from now i might have a book to send you. : (

    Well if you don’t do this again next year i’m going to be upset.

  3. Deborah Wolf
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    Holy crap! Holy crap! Holy! Crap! I mean, erm, this is kind of cool, I guess.

  4. Michael
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 3:52 PM | Permalink

    How about a date with Lindsay? :)

    I mean come on, you have your pimp suit on and everything. :)

  5. Anonymous
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

    160s? Dang.

    Posted December 14, 2009 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    Wow. This is incredibly generous of all of you!

    Thanks to each of you for donating your time, expertise, and constructive criticism. Talk about priceless!!!

    This old lady is in school, undecided on what she wants to be when she grows up, and is still considering writing.

    See you, hopefully, at the Heifer auction of 2012-ish with a manuscript! :o)

  7. Anonymous
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

    I think you should probably remove the might help you get into the industry part. No expectations is better. Since its just a critique there is no reason to mention it.


  8. Daniel
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

    Just curious – is there a deadline on how soon we’d have to submit the manuscript for review if we won the auction? I’m right smack in the middle of said writing project, and am shooting for manuscript status sometime mid-2010. Does the winner retain the right to send for critique at any time in the future?

  9. Vulpes Fulva
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 7:20 PM | Permalink

    If I win the lottery, I’ll make sure to bid. :)
    Also, I won’t have a manuscript I would want to show anyone for probably another 8 months or more anyway. Here’s to next year!

    And, Pat, thank you for doing all of this. This is a tremendous undertaking. The logistics of organizing something like this would drive me bonkers.

    – Trey

  10. Charles
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 8:20 PM | Permalink

    I don’t have a manuscript because I have less creative ability than a massive psychotic militaristic evil one eyed rabbit despot in the chalk country of Southern England.

    But I posted it for many friends to see.

  11. Jay Belt
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 8:35 PM | Permalink

    Sigh. If only I had buckets of money at my disposal.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 8:36 PM | Permalink

    Damn…now I wish I wrote a book instead of reading books and playing video games

  13. Anonymous
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 8:40 PM | Permalink

    hmmm……actually, I would have no idea how to even start writing a book. I hear writing is hard

  14. Tyson
    Posted December 14, 2009 at 11:38 PM | Permalink

    Wow, this would be awesome. My MS isn’t anywhere near ready to be critiqued though, so maybe I’ll start saving now for next year (assuming this becomes an annual thing).

  15. Jacob
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 2:13 AM | Permalink

    What are the implications of this regarding Yog’s Law?

  16. James Davis
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 5:21 AM | Permalink

    Very interested in this auction, but was wondering if there was a time that the manuscript has to be submitted by. I might not be ready to submit for 6 months or so, and while interested regardless, would prefer to wait until I had a more finished product to be critiqued.

  17. kaufmak
    Posted December 15, 2009 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

    dude this is possibly the coolest fundraiser I’ve ever seen. I wish I could participate, but I got nothin’.

  18. Teefers Treats
    Posted December 16, 2009 at 6:26 PM | Permalink

    Bah, dream come true right here. Too bad I would never be able to scrape up a few hundred dollars for it.

  19. Vae
    Posted December 18, 2009 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

    haha Pat, your little excerpt describing yourself was the best part of this blog. Awesome and witty as always. So which mutant’s powers have you seen fit to gather thus far? Just out of curiosity of course…

  20. Ben Alvord
    Posted December 19, 2009 at 10:25 PM | Permalink

    This is such a great opportunity. I’m really excited to possibly win one of these, or if I don’t, force someone to give a wheelbarrow full of cash to your charity. I’m just shy of the 20K word mark in the novel I’m writing, so this is perfect. Also, I really want to send out a tweet that says, “I just bought 2 cows.”

Post a Reply to kaufmak Cancel reply

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Our Store

  • Previous Posts

  • Archives

  • My Twitter

  • Bookmark this Blog

    (IE and Firefox users only - Safari users, click Command-D)