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From time to time, I receive emails from writers, asking me to critique attached poems or short stories.
In the early days, I would send a polite reply, explaining that I hadn’t time to critique their work. Now I simply delete the email and attachments and get back to my own writing. The DWT Contact page states the policy that our writers don’t answer questions via email.
Critiquing a manuscript of any length is time-consuming. Time is the most precious possession of a working writer. Asking another writer, especially one with whom you have no personal acquaintance, for a free critique is the equivalent of asking a stranger for a gift costing anywhere from $300 up. I have arrived at this figure by browsing the sites of professional critiquing services.
Rates are based on word-count, number of pages, or some combination of the two.
One service that specializes in science fiction, fantasy, and horror charges $300 for the first 20,000 words and $15 per every 1,000 words thereafter.
Another service offers a flat rate of $260 for the first 50 pages, but applies a per-page rate thereafter. A manuscript of 100-199 pages is priced at $6 per page; from 100-199 pages, $4 per page. A manuscript of 200 pages is priced at $3.75 per page.
Paid critiquing is neither a practical nor sensible solution for the beginning writer. Such services are for writers who have already done everything they can to improve their drafts with whatever help is available to them without an outlay of cash.
On the other hand, writers need the feedback of other writers. What’s the solution? Where can beginners find suitable readers for their early drafts without an outlay of cash?
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