1. dave_c
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    dave_c Active Member

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    is professional critique worth the money?

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by dave_c, May 31, 2012.

    Its something that appeals to me but just wondering if its worth paying for, or if people think that the crit you get from forums such as these is as good as it gets?

    It would be nice to get some truly in depth feedback without revealing my work to the masses in an incomplete form.

    Just wondering if anyone one on has used such services and what you thought about them.
     
  2. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    I've never had anyone review professionally my work. but this is what i hear. A lot of people say it's not worth paying for, a lot of people will claim to be professionals but are real sharks and will take your money and do the minimum possible. on the other hand some people had great experiences and were really happy with the results.

    I think it comes down to finding someone who understands your style and is qualified for this kind of work.

    I personally wouldn't pay for it. but that's a personal opinion.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A professional critique won't mean much unless you are pretty close to publishable anyway.

    So why not just submit it? If you get accepted, great. If you are rejected, but it's by a narrow margin, you stand a good chance of gettin geedback at no cost. If you hear nothing, it either means you are not close to publishable yet, or that publisher didn't care for it, or hasn't read it yet. So you submit to other publishers, and meanwhile, you go through your manuscript one more time to see what else you could have done better.

    Also, as was mentioned, just because someone is willing to accept money from you to give you a written opinion, it doesn't mean they know Shiites from Shinola.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    too true!

    many [perhaps even most] you'll find by googling, or who advertise in writing magazines aren't worth the fees they charge... and those who are good enough to be worth paying will cost more than you can afford to toss down the drain, since there's so little chance you'll ever make any money on the work...

    i take on paying clients now and then, but i always tell them up front that there's virtually no chance of them making back my fee and i'll only agree to do an edit or rewrite if they feel that my doing so will help them to improve their skills, so they can do it on their own eventually, as all writers must...
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't know much about the economics of doing this, but instead, why not take an online writing course for what might be similar money? I've done this several times with the Gotham program, and it's very rewarding. Your instructor will be a published writer and generally an experienced critiquer, and you'll also get get good feedback from your fellow students, all of whom are very serious about writing and will critique your work with a great deal of honesty (without being mean about it).

    And, no offense to many members of this site, but your fellow students will all be adults. I know there are many young teens on these forums, and many of them haven't read enough yet in their own lives to put your work in its proper context. Gotham, in their main fiction programs, takes only adult writers, and in my experience, the average age of the students is between 25 to 45 years. Lots of reading in that group, as well as lots of good and varied life experience.

    Fair warning: You will be expected to critique their work as well, and you'll find that a few of your fellow students are startlingly good. You might find yourself losing a bit of confidence in your own work after reading theirs.

    Still, I found the prices reasonable and the experience very valuable. Why not consider it?
     
  6. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I wouldn't. Try a well-read friend. They can provide good feedback and they don't cost much!

    If you go to school somewhere, maybe ask a prof that likes you to read the first couple K. Look at the comments they made, and you yourself can apply that to your work. My 2 cents.
     
  7. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd been considering taking a Gotham course. Has anyone ele, besides Minstrel taken one from them? Also, thanks Minstrel for the info. I've also considered taking one of their weekend live workshops. (I'm near Philly, so I can get to NYC -- it's not super convenient, but it is do-able.)

     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry. I left minstrel's comment unedited because overall, it was a general recommendation to take a writing class.

    But this site draws the line at specific recommendations or comparisons of particular commercial providers.

    You'll have to search offsite for comparison shopping.
     
  9. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry about that.

     
  10. Siena
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    Siena Active Member

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    If you truly value the critic, it's worth it. I'd pay to have Ridley Scott look at my work.

    I would recommend some people, but i'm new on the forum and it will look like i'm promoting.
     
  11. bethklewis
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    bethklewis Member

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    A publisher at one of the Big Six has offered to critique my work for a (not small) fee. I respect this person's opinion and the company she works for is top of my list if I ever got my work published. This person's opinion is worth a lot and the critique would include a report and fully annotated mss but it's on the pricey side. I'm getting great responses from agents at the moment so I'm not sure the critique is needed, it would be more of a bonus. I'm not sure what to do.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry, but this makes no sense... big six what?... and if you meant the 'big six publishers' whatever that refers to, did you then really mean an 'editor' there?... and at what publishing house?

    in any case, this sounds highly unethical to me and screams 'scam'...

    a 'great response' from an agent would be 'i love it, sign with me!'... so are you getting pleas to let them rep your book, or what?

    i don't see giving someone with shady ethics a lot of money as being any kind of 'bonus'...
     
  13. bethklewis
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    bethklewis Member

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    Publisher is her job title. She is the head of an imprint in one of the Big Six publishing houses. This is in the UK so maybe job titles are different than the US or elsewhere but it is correct to say that this person is a publisher. I know this person, have met them, chat to them regularly via social media so it's not a scam. Editors/Publishers often 'sell' critiques either to raise money for charities or as a freelance editing service. It's not unheard of and it seems cynical to jump straight to scam and assume someone has shady ethics.

    As for the agents, I've sent out 10 queries in the last month and had 5 requests for fulls so yes, I'd say that was a great response so far.

    So my question was should I take advantage of this offer, although it is pricey but nowhere near what 'professional critique services' charge, or wait and see with agents.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's your money. But if I had a positive response to a submission, I wouldn't turn around and throw money at someone to critique it.

    And if someone is a publisher, asking for money from a submitting author sounds way past unethical.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i have to agree with cogito on all points...
     
  16. Egor
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    Egor Member

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    To answer Mammamia:

    Big Six =

    Harper-Collins
    Hachette Book Group
    Macmillan
    Penguin Group
    Random House
    Simon & Schuster

    And, Bethklewis, in the end, it's your money. I don't think there's an unethical conflict of interest in a publisher making money on the side editing manuscripts for people. The reason I say this is because I hold out hope that there are those writers out there who want to author a great work, and not just get an advance check, and there's no scam so long as you get what was agreed upon. However, as Cogito said, if you're getting requests for fulls from agents, you don't need a professional critique, unless of course you intend to self-publish.

    Good luck. :)
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    thanks, egon, but the reason i wondered, is that beth is in england and the uk version may not be the same firms as the north american trade publishing houses that make up the 'big six' group...
     
  18. Egor
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    Egor Member

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    Good point.
     
  19. bethklewis
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    bethklewis Member

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    The Big Six are the same in the UK as they are in the US.
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    thanks!... useful info...
     
  21. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    I have and it was really helpful. Mistrel's warning is fair, but I gained a lot of confidence because of the general supportive nature of the teacher and the fellow students in critiquing my work.
     

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