Picture Book Critique Service
I offer an in-depth picture book critique service for picture book manuscripts and dummies. Topics will include, among other things, voice, character development, structure, pacing, plot, and the takeaway. Via email.
HERE’S WHAT AUTHORS HAD TO SAY ABOUT MY PICTURE BOOK CRITIQUE AND EDITING:
Vicky Rubin has an extraordinary vision for any story we have worked on.
With her editorial talent, she digs into each paragraph and sifts through every sentence until a reasonable manuscript has turned into one I’m always proud to submit.
I constantly look forward to working with Vicky, knowing her ideas and suggestions deepen the story layers.
To everyone who asks, do you know a great editor, I always recommend Vicky Rubin.
(ps, this was for the critique service, where I write a lot of comments in the text and make editorial suggestions).
Here’s another testimonial:
I was new to the process of writing children’s books. I had read so many that I thought it would be easy. I had a few ideas, humorous stories, and I’d tell them to the children I knew. My grandmother encouraged me to write the stories down and put them into books. Armed with manuscripts, my computer and colored pencils I got to work and soon realized that I needed help. I had so many questions, when is it ready, is it good enough, does the story flow well and make sense?
I searched the internet for picture book critique services. I knew what I wanted in a critique service but it was difficult to find. I wanted support, responsiveness, honesty, and someone who would work with me on my manuscripts, not just send them back after weeks full of mark ups leaving me wondering where to go from there.
Could I find all of this in a critique service and at an affordable price? The answer is YES! I found Vicky Rubin of Doodlesoop by chance on the internet. I contacted her, explained a bit about the manuscripts I was working on and asked if she’d be willing to work with me. She responded quickly and helped me to develop two manuscripts into stories I am proud to share. Vicky was always there to answer questions and help guide the process. She took on the project with the same passion and commitment as if it were her own, she was amazing!
I was so pleased with her critique services that I decided to use her editing services as well.
From manuscript development, to cutting, editing and story completion, Vicky offers by far the most comprehensive picture book services I could find.
Thank you! Vicky!!
No prior writing experience is required. Writers of all levels of experience and walks of life are welcome.
I offer critiques that have editorial suggestions, as well as separate line editing, copyediting, and proofreading services. In addition, I can help you draft a query letter.
If you’re working on a magazine piece for kids, or you’re not sure if it will be a picture book or a magazine piece, that’s fine.
Cost of three-round crit: $125 for 3 rounds
If the story is 400 words or less, it’s $100 for 3 rounds.
If you need additional rounds after the three, the cost is $40 per round, $30 if the story is 400 words or less.
Option of one or two-round crit: Just want one or two rounds? Cost: $60 for one round; $100 for two rounds. If you wish, you can start with one, then decide if you want to a second round. For 400 words or less, it’s $45 for one round, $75 for two rounds.
One “round” means I read and comment once–so with three rounds I read and comment 3 times.
I will read your story and make detailed comments and suggestions, both in the text and in a written critique at the end of the text. You’ll receive an edited copy with the changes showing and one with them not showing.
Your story in whole and in part, including the concept, will remain confidential before, during, and after the crit, and so will your contact info.
What makes this picture book critique service a good value?
You will receive three thorough rounds of crit, not just one. This gives you a chance to implement my suggestions if you wish, to get your questions answered, and to develop your story with more confidence than you would with only one round. I do not simply write comments that are apart from the story: I write them into the story as well as after them.
From the “critter” side of things, I find it energizing to see a story develop.
My qualifications: As a traditionally published author-illustrator, I can help you visualize your story. For instance, I can suggest where text could be cut and illustrations used instead. I can also shorten texts to a desired word count.
I’m also a judge on the Rate Your Story site. Besides my books, my writing has been published in magazines, including rhyming poetry in Cricket and Spider.
As for editing, I have worked as a magazine copyeditor and have done similar work on a freelance basis for various companies. I’m a highly rated proofreader as well.
I believe in facilitation rather than judgement. Some people are very new to the process of writing and feel intimidated; there’s no need to be. I’m firm but gentle.
Here’s how it works:
Initial free consultation (optional): Send me the full manuscript via email and say that you’d like the free consultation. (If you’re not comfortable with sending it, you can send part of it, or ask whatever questions you have). I’d also like to hear about you, your writing background, and what you want out of the crit–as much as you want to say.
Time frame: I ask for up to one week to complete each round. And, I ask of you to complete the three rounds within three months, to keep up momentum–though this is not set in stone.
Please message me first to check on availability.
NOTE: All pricing is based on manuscripts of up to 1000 words. If the story is longer, we can discuss a rate. If it starts out at 1000 or less but ends up going over a little during the crit, there’s no additional charge. (If it goes up a lot in word count and complexity. there may be one, it’s case-by-case–I’ve had them go over, but so far have not felt the need to increase the cost).
Picture book editing
I offer full editorial services: substantive editing, line editing, and proofreading/copyediting. The price depends on the length of the story and level of editing.
We can work together on the editing part for up to three rounds until you are satisfied the story is really done, then move to proofreading/copyediting.
This is different than many editing services, where it’s a one-shot deal where you send the story and get it back and that’s it–I want to be sure you’re really comfortable with your finished story.
The line editing and the proofreading/copyediting have separate fees. The proofreading/copyediting finesses the text.
With over 18 years of experience in proofreading/copyediting in staff and freelance jobs, I’m a stickler about spelling, punctuation, and grammar. I use the serial comma. 🙂
If you want a custom service, such as shortening your story to a certain word count or range, or you need help with rhyme and meter, just ask.
Query letter critiques:
I can help you develop your query letter until it’s ready to send. Cost: $45 if I have critiqued the story, $65 if I have not, in which case you need to send the picture book manuscript so I can read it.
I’ll start by asking you questions until the query takes shape, then together we’ll work on developing the pitch, synopsis, bio, and other elements of a letter. For instance, we might look for “comps” (published books that are similar to yours). If you already have a draft, we can start with that.
Query letter critiques include editing and proofreading. Most query letters are done by email.
Dummy and Art Critiques
Dummy critique cost: $100. This will not include a story critique, although of course I would read the text to examine the interplay between art and text. If you have purchased a text critique, the dummy critique will be $75.
The dummy crit is one round plus a shorter follow-up round where I will look at your changes and make additional comments.
I look at composition, color palette, pacing, rhythm, text placement, variation of point of view, movement, emotion, relationships, continuity, conclusion, and consistency of characters. Using digital stickies, I will add comments to your dummy. I will critique both the black and white drawings and color ones that are part of it.
When submitting a dummy to a publisher, it should be in black and white with 1-3 color finishes. If you plan to submit it, do not do it all in color. Publishers will want changes and to know you’re flexible.
Art critique: If you are not doing a dummy but instead submitting 1-3 pieces of finished art, I’m happy to critique the art, make suggestions, and and answer your questions. Cost: $25 for the first piece and $15 for each additional piece.
My qualifications: My experience as an illustrator and art teacher, my picture-book coursework and self-study, my masters degree in art education, and my observation of hundreds of crits of my own and others’ work given by editors and art directors (over my time as an officer in the Children’s Book Illustrators Group, we invite industry people to do crits, so I’ve seen a lot!) have helped me learn to make meaningful comments.
Self-publishing and need an illustrator?
Due to time constraints, I’m not currently offering illustration for self-publishing authors. If you’re seeking an illustrator, please see cbig-nyc.com and/or this handy illustrators matchup service offered by illustrator/teacher Mark Mitchell. A lot of the people in that are talented students. (I also recommend his illustration courses!)
SCBWI. If you’re at all serious about children’s books, I strongly recommend joining SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Hope you’ll consider using my picture book manuscript critique and other services. I think you will find it to be a positive and affordable experience. If you have any questions, or need something you don’t see covered here, feel free to contact me.
Middle grade and YA critiques:
I don’t these a lot as they aren’t really my area. However, as several people have asked me for these after I’ve critiqued their picture books, and I have been glad to them, but I can’t say I have experience writing them. I can also highly recommend a published middle-grade author and writing teacher to do these. I would give you her contact info and you can email or call her and she will discuss your project and give you an estimate. She also does adult short-story critiques.