Critique Service

Find Out What’s Working in Your Manuscript, What’s Not, and How to Fix It!

Does this sound familiar?

  • “I’ve been working on my manuscript but I don't know if it’s good enough to submit to an editor or agent.”
  • “I have no idea if my book would sell if I self-publish it.”
  • “I’m not sure my characters, dialogue, or plots are believable.”
  • “I don’t know where to go next with this story.”

If you have ever said anything even close to that, you’re ready for a professional critique from an Institute for Writers faculty member. Our instructors have taught over 470,000 people to write through our one-on-one courses.

Thanks to our IFW Critique Service, you don’t have to be a student to take advantage of their wisdom.

Why Every Writer Needs a Good Critique

Because you want the best possible book before anyone else sees it. That may be an editor or agent if you’re submitting it for publishing traditionally, or a buying customer, if you’re publishing independently. In either case, you can only make a first impression once, and you do not want your target reader, whether an editor, agent, or customer associating your name with sloppy, careless, or worse, boring writing. 

Hundreds of thousands of books are being published now. You want yours to stand out, and getting a good, solid critique from an experienced professional will put you ahead of the pack.

What can you submit?

Any one work of writing you want critiqued in a genre listed below for an adult or children's audience.

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • First Pages
  • Magazine Article/Essay
  • Short Story
  • Picture Book
  • Early Reader
  • Middle Grade
  • Memoir
  • Romance
  • Business 
  • Young Adult
  • New Adult
  • Sci-Fi
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Western
  • ... and more!

 Genre not listed? Email us at We'll make sure we have an instructor who's the perfect fit for your manuscript.

Here is what you get:

  • In-depth notes from an Institute instructor (all published writers themselves) on the craft of your submission, including what’s working and not working in your story. This includes your characters, voice, plot, dialogue, setting, style.
  • An annotated critique (comments are in the margins using Word’s Track Changes).
  • Analysis on what’s working, and what is not.
  • Insight into your weaknesses as well as your strengths.
  • Constructive feedback on whether your dialogue is strong, if your characters are compelling, and your scenes interesting enough to grab a reader.
  • Recommendations on where you need to improve and if your grammar, spelling, or structure needs work.
  • Guidance for your next revision.

What’s the difference between a critique and an edit?

The purpose of a critique is to improve the story-to identify problems in a manuscript in order to allow the writer to revise in a focused and productive way. When a manuscript is critiqued, it’s an opportunity to find out if your reader is confused, believes your character, if the character sounds real, whether your scenes ring true, feel right, and make sense. You learn if what you’re writing makes the reader want to read more. The IFW critiquer looks at your submission with a fresh professional eye and is able to point out inconsistencies, unnecessary characters, scenes, or dialogue. An editor helps fix the problems and/or instructs how to fix those problems; editorial feedback usually comes at a later stage in the writing process when the work is much tighter. This is a critique only service.

What do you need to do?

  1. Submit your manuscript.
  2. Understand that revision is up to you, the author, and you are responsible for all corrections.
  3. Know that you are prohibited from using any critique comments as a review, recommendation, or blurb for your work. 
  4. Wait for our confirmation that we received it. After your critiquer is assigned your manuscript, we will contact you again to let you know when you can expect your critique.


We offer critiques on multiple types of manuscripts. Prices vary by word length and genre. See pricing structure on the form below. The price is per manuscript. If you have two stories that are 250 words each, that is two submissions.

How do I submit?

Fill it out the form below, upload your manuscript in the appropriate section, and click the submit button.

Submissions must be correctly formatted following the guidelines below:

  • Double space your manuscript.
  • Margins should be one inch all around.
  • Use Times New Roman or Courier, 12-point font.
  • Include your last name, title, target age of your reader, and your genre in the upper left corner of every page.
  • Number all pages.

Fill out this form to submit your manuscript for critique:

"Having the critique done for a children's book that I am writing was so worth it! My book will be better because of great suggestions, as well as, needed corrections. The critique was done in such a positive manner, that I can't wait to get this book into print!"

–Margaret Lanik

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