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 have no idea if it’s good enough to submit to an editor or agent.”

“I have no idea if it would sell if I independently published 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. Between our two schools for writing (for adult and children’s literature) our faculty has taught over 470,000 people to write through our courses. Now through our new IFW Critique Service we're testing out, 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 means 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.

Get your critique here.



Here is what you can submit:

Any one work of writing you want critiqued. It can be for an adult or juvenile audience. It can be:

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Picture Book
  • Memoir
  • Romance
  • Business 
  • Young Adult
  • New Adult
  • Middle Grade
  • Sci-Fi
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Western
  • Magazine Article/Essay
  • Short Story
  • Early Reader
  • First Pages
  • Whatever (our faculty is very experienced!) 

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 in to 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?

Submit your manuscript.

Understand that revision is up to you, the author, and you are responsible for all corrections.

Know that you are prohibited from using any critique comments as a review, recommendation, or blurb for your work. 

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 have multiple types of critiques, so click here to see the fees for the varying manuscript lengths. The price is per manuscript. If you have two stories that are 250 words each, that is two submissions.

How do I submit?

It's click-of-a-button-super-easy. Just click here or the big green button below and you'll be led to our submission form. Fill it out and upload your submission. Done!

Submissions must be correctly formatted (don't worry, you'll be reminded before you click the submit button!):

  • 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.

Don't worry, you'll be reminded of all this before you click the submit button!

 Terms of Agreement

Submitting your work is an Agreement between the Institute for Writers (IFW) and the submitting writer (you) regarding the critique services provided.

You understand and agree that line edits and/or comments are completely subjective, based on our professional opinion and are in no way intended as copy-editing.  You understand that given the subjective nature of such services, there is no guaranteed specific, general or overall results or returns in direct correlation to our services. Your disagreement, or the disagreement of any third party shall not be basis for a refund of the Fee and that there are no refunds provided under any circumstance due to the nature of this service. IFW will have no liability for damages arising out of the services performed under this agreement.  IFW is not and will not be liable under any circumstances for any indirect, consequential, or incidental damages.
You agree that the IFW critique is intended solely for your purpose.  By virtue of your submission for this critique service, you hereby agree that, absent a written agreement between you and IFW, you shall not use any comments provided by IFW as “blurbs,” “advance quotes,” or as any other statement of recommendation of your work/submission/manuscript, whether in query letters, submissions, galleys, published books, or any other written, published, or otherwise displayed format (including digital format) released to any third party and/or the general public for consumption.  

You represent that the work you’re submitting under this letter of Agreement is original in nature, and that you have the absolute right and discretion to submit same to IFW for the Services requested.  

"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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