Professional Manuscript Critiques

Edit: If you’re still hoping to get a manuscript critique, there’s a WriMos for Worldbuilders page with some available in a special lottery this year that you should really check out…

As I write this, Worldbuilders has raised more than $92,000 for Heifer International.

So here’s a video. I could claim I’m posting it because it explains what we’re doing here at Worldbuilders, but that would be a lie. I’m posting it because my kids are in it, and my kids are seriously adorable.

So there you go. That’s what we’re doing. You can donate directly to Heifer International on the Worldbuilders team page, making the world a better place while (hopefully) winning fabulous prizes.

Or you can check out the Read-And-Critique auctions below….

*     *     *

Today we’re auctioning off professional manuscript critiques from authors, editors, and agents.

This is an exceptionally rare opportunity. Authors occasionally read a manuscript for a friend, or do a quick critique at a convention. But if you want this sort of professional attention you usually have to attend a pretty serious workshop, like Clarion. Or you have to be a student at one of the rare universities that takes sci-fi and fantasy seriously enough to bring in a professional to teach a class.

You’ll notice that I personally don’t have a critique in today’s blog. That’s because if you win the favor auction I’m running, you can cash in that favor for a read-and-critique. Any manuscript. Any size. I’ll read the whole thing, mark it up, then call you on the phone and talk about it with you.

Now, before I list all the read-and-critique auctions, I’m going to have to put on my Dad Voice: a voice which contains all the baritone authority of my teacher voice, with an added subharmonic that implies if you screw this up, I’m going to be *really* disappointed in you.

“Please read the auction descriptions carefully.”

Each author, editor, or agent is handling their auction in their own way…

  • Everyone has different skill sets, and they’re each offering something slightly different.
  • Some critiques are for 15,000 words of a manuscript, others are for 150,000 words.
  • The professionals below are busy people. Critiques will have to fit in their schedules.
  • When auctions mention “X pages” of a manuscript, that’s standard manuscript format.
  • Most importantly, you’re not buying an introduction to someone’s agent or editor here. You’re not winning representation with an agent. Or a foot in the door with an editor. That’s not what’s on the block. You’re getting writing advice from a professional.

Okay. Enough preamble. Let’s move on to the awesome….

jaimeLeeMoyer_logoFinalJaime Lee Moyer is a speculative fiction writer, poet, and editor. She’s been offering up a read-and-critique with us for years, and we’re thrilled to have her back. She’s willing to comment on plot, pacing, character arc, voice, how well the “hook” or opening works, how well the story sustains her interest, and give overall, general impressions of the story. This will seriously help your story.

If you want to bid on this, head over here.


We’re always really grateful when people offer critiques that include feedback of the query letter and synopsis too. Because honestly, my lack of ability to write a decent query letter probably slowed down publication of The Name of the Wind by two years.

That’s what Cassie is offering here: a full critique includes your query letter, synopsis, and the first 15,000 words of your manuscript.

Here’s what a previous auction winner said of her critique:

“It was definitely worth it, and was probably the thing that’s helped with my writing the most. You were hard hitting on points that needed to be said, but still really supportive and complimented the things I did right. People couldn’t ask for a better person to critique their work.”

If you want to get your work critiqued by Cassie, bid over here.


Jennifer has been a literary agent since 2011, and is offering up a critique of your query letter, synopsis, and the first 15,000 words of your manuscript. She’s helped us out a in the past, and as an agent, she’s seen a *lot* of these, and has some valuable experience to share.

Bid on it over here.

  • David Pomerico will give a critique and commentary of the first 50 pages of your manuscript.

David Pomerico

David has been throwing his hat into the ring for these auctions for years, and is now the Executive Editor at Harper Voyager. He’s worked with some big names, including some New York Times bestsellers. (If you want more details, check out his auction listing).

He’s willing to read and give a detailed critique of the first 50 pages of your manuscript. You can head over here and bid.


Josh is a fellow DAW author, and he’s kicked in critiques in the past. This year, he’s willing to read the first 100 pages of your novel and give you detailed notes and a general evaluation of the opening as well.

If you want this critique, there are more details over here.


Not everybody writes novels. So Josh is offering up a read-and-critique of your short story. It will including a general evaluation of the story as well as some detailed notes and comments.

If you’ve got a short story, this is the guy for you. Bid on this critique over here.

  • Michael Braff will read and critique the first 50 pages of your manuscript.

Mike Braff

Michael is an editor at Del Rey, and has been for six years. He’s thrown in his critiques more than once in the past, and we’re happy to have him on board again. He’s willing to give a detailed critique and commentary of the first 50 pages of your manuscript, rounded up to the nearest chapter, which is generous.

If you want this one, bid here.

  • Michael Martinez will critique up to 25,000 words of your SF/F novel or shorter work.

Mike Martinez

Michael Martinez is an author, and is willing to read up to 25,000 words of any sci-fi or fantasy work you bring to him. He’ll give you an overall opinion, his thoughts on individual sections, and ideas on direction and ways to improve. He’s said that he’s happy to engage in a dialogue with you, which is definitely worth something.

Bid on this one over here.

  • David B. Coe will critique up to 15,000 words of your manuscript.


David B. Coe (also known as D.B. Jackson) is willing to critique some short fiction or the early chapters of your novel. He’s a prolific writer (he has 3 books coming out in 2015 alone), and he’s supported Worldbuilders for a good long time, so we really like him.

If you want a novel or short story critique, head over here and bid.

Bradley P. Beaulieu

Bradley P. Beaulieu graciously offered one story or chapter critique of up to 10,000 words. Brad’s offered critiques in the past, and everyone at Worldbuilders was glad to see him back again for more. Apart from writing a ridiculous amount of epic fantasy, Brad also kicked in a stretch goal last year, because he’s cool like that.

If you would like to bask in the coolness, by all means bid over here.

  • Michael R. Underwood will critique your submission packet AND have a Skype consultation on the feedback.

Michael R. Underwood

Mike writes a lot about geekiness, which is always a bonus in our book. This year, he’s willing to critique your query letter, synopsis, and the first 10,000 words of your manuscript. He will then have a Skype conversation with you to discuss the feedback, which we think is extra cool.

If you want your entire packet critiqued, head over here and bid.

  • Matt Bialer, my agent, will read up to 20,000 words of your manuscript.

Matt Bialer

Matt kicks in this critique every year. And my book would not be as good as it is today without him and his help.

He’s offering up a general evaluation of the book, with the perspective of the issues that could be raised by editors at publishing houses. It’s a really great perspective to have.

Matt also managed to jump in with us this morning, so his auction will be live later tonight. You’ll be able to bid on this one over here as soon as it’s live.

  • Worldbuilders Monkey Brett will read and critique your manuscript.

Brett Monkey

Brett has been one of my longest standing friends and readers. He’s given me invaluable feedback on all my books, Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear, and The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

What’s more, he’s a great writer in his own right. Not only is he currently the voice behind a lot of the Worldbuilders website content and auction descriptions, he’s done webcomic work, amusing movie reviews, and plenty of longer-form horror fiction. He also has a brilliant novel waiting in the wings that I keep pestering him to publish, too….

Suffice to say, he does great critique. If you want to get his advice on your work, bid here.

* * *

Lastly, a success story.

Back in 2010, Gabriel Squailia won a read and critique in a Worldbuilders auction. He got it from my agent, Matt Bialer, and Matt was impressed enough to offer to represent Gabriel.

In spring of 2015, Gabriel’s first book is going to be published.


We here at Worldbuilders think this is pretty awesome.

Now let me say it again. We’re not in any way claiming that this sort of thing will happen if you win one of the auctions. You’re buying a critique, and that’s it. Even so, this is proof that these critiques can lead to good things. It could happen. It has happened.

So there you go. Here’s a link to all the auctions Worldbuilders is currently running. Keep in mind that there’s enough of them that they spill onto a second page.

Keep being awesome people.


This entry was posted in Cutie Snoo, Oot, the business of writing, the craft of writing, videos, Worldbuilders 2014. By Pat16 Responses


  1. squidheadkid
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 2:13 PM | Permalink

    I am feeling all the feels. Thanks, Pat.

    More about my read-and-critique experience here:|/blog/2014/11/14/worldbuilders-ho

    • squidheadkid
      Posted November 14, 2014 at 2:14 PM | Permalink
      • tarvik
        Posted November 14, 2014 at 3:14 PM | Permalink

        That’s awesome! Congratulations!

        • squidheadkid
          Posted November 14, 2014 at 7:23 PM | Permalink


      • Posted November 15, 2014 at 6:17 PM | Permalink

        What is it with 14 years to get to a first book?

        Is it the two 7’s? I guess I should be happy it’s not 3.

        Congratulations! Now I’m curious about your DJ’ing. There was a time in my life I went to the top late nights in London and New York, so I totally appreciate that spinning and mixing music is an art.

        • squidheadkid
          Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

          Thanks! Yeah, spinning was intended to be a hobby when I was living in New York and out of literary juice. I’m glad it got out of control. In the long run, it’s been a solid creative counterpoint to writing.

  2. Beej
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 2:27 PM | Permalink

    Dammit, Pat, you’ve got me crying at work AGAIN.

  3. Nico
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for that video. Put a big smile in my face :)

  4. James Islington
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 7:18 PM | Permalink

    Just wanted to add another plug for the benefits of this if you’re an aspiring writer. Pat critiqued an early draft of my book a few years ago, and the whole process was great – the feedback wasn’t just ‘this part needs to be better’, but he actually went through the underlying logic of each of his criticisms. It was a lesson as much as a critique, and more valuable as a result. Both the book and my ability categorically improved because of it.

    Though I didn’t initially get an agent, I self-published a few months ago and have had a good deal of success since – was #1 in Epic Fantasy on Amazon for a few weeks, and I’ve now had multiple approaches from both agents and publishers. I doubt any of that would have come about if I hadn’t had professional input.

    So, yeah. If you’ve written something and you’re even vaguely considering getting a critique, don’t hesitate.

    • Posted November 16, 2014 at 12:10 PM | Permalink

      You’re very kind, James. I’m glad it was helpful.

  5. nea1ism
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 7:19 PM | Permalink

    Is there an expiration date on these? As in, if I won one of these auctions, would I have to have something ready to submit right away?

    • Posted November 14, 2014 at 11:25 PM | Permalink

      Our general recommendation is that it happen within a year.

      If your manuscript won’t be ready for longer than that, you should probably wait until next year and bid on a critique then.

  6. SporkTastic
    Posted November 15, 2014 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

    Just a quick FYI – the first link in the description on the Youtube page for the video is broken; it goes to Heifer, but they give a “not found” error; the one on the main Worldbuilders page works, though.

    It apparently needs that little number code.

    • Amanda
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

      Thanks for catching that – it’s fixed!

  7. Posted November 17, 2014 at 5:39 AM | Permalink

    If only I had the dough. Still, always fun to see how much is raised, even if I’m already out in the early stages of the bidding. It’s awesome that you are doing these auctions and of course it’s great to see that so many talented people are contributing their time for the cause.

  8. Posted November 24, 2014 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

    I’m not sure this is the place to ask, but I’ve looked around and haven’t found instructions. If we’ve won a read/critique auction, will we get an email with instructions or do we need to email the specific person?

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