Critique Service and Writing Mentorships by Miranda Paul

This page supplies information about my fee-based, professional critique service for children's picture books, short stories, and non-fiction pieces.  For information on getting a free critique, scroll to the bottom of this page.

NEW: I am also now offering mentorship services. These can be one-time "ask anything" sessions, short-term back-and-forth guidance, or long-term mentorships in the traditional sense. More information is below.

About Me
It wasn't that long ago that I was on my quest to obtain an agent and sell my first manuscripts. But my hard work, research, respect for the craft, positive outlook—and privilege, let's not forget privilege—led me to getting published in magazines and newspapers, work-for-hire and digital markets, and ultimately landing a fantastic agent and making sales to traditional publishing houses despite today's crowded market.

In short, I knows what writers are going through because, well, I am a writer. If your writing is intended for children ages 16 and younger, I may be able to help you.

I've already helped many authors make their manuscripts stronger through classes, workshops, and critique services. I currently also run a mentorship program through We Need Diverse Books, and had a hand in my state's SCBWI mentorship program for years after winning a mentorship of my own. I want to help new and/or established children's writers like you make your stories great.  (And, hopefully, more successful in the wonderful world of publishing.)

How Much Does a Critique or a Mentorship Cost?

If you've made it down this far on the page, you're probably serious about your writing and about getting published.  While I can't guarantee anything I critique for you will ever be published, nor are you hiring me to be your named editor (consider me a "critiquer"), I can offer insight on how to make it a better piece of writing based on what I know from years of teaching, studying the craft, and writing books for kids.

Please note: The following rates for critiques apply only to stories, articles, or picture books up to 1,500 words; Poems or rhyming stories (yes, I love rhyme!) up to 900 words - unless the book is a collection of poems, in which case give me the details when you request.  All writing that I critique must be geared for children, middle grade, or young adult audiences.

CURRENT CRITIQUE SCHEDULE: Miranda is currently OPEN for critiques and new mentees.

Basic Critique...$90
Miranda will read the story and send an email letter about with big-picture thoughts on the work, its strengths and weaknesses, and possible market insights. Expected turnaround time: 3 weeks.

Critique with Some Line-Editing ...$125
Miranda will read the story, make comments and questions in the text (using track changes), proofread and offer specific suggestions or word swaps to consider, and also include a critique letter with thoughts on the work, overall strengths and weaknesses, and possible market insights. Expected turnaround time: 3 weeks

Phone or Skype Chat/Consultation or One-Time Mentorship...$50/half-hour or $90 full hour
During this time we can read through a short manuscript (or excerpt) of yours and critique it, and/or you can ask questions pertaining to the business of writing or publishing. I do not take appointments longer than one hour at a time. Time frame: Please request appointments one week or more in advance.

Long-term mentorships also available. Email for pricing.

If you hire me to be a long-term mentor, we can work out a customized agreement for expectations on both ends as well as a payment plan before . Whatever you're working towards, or if you have multiple projects you'd like to pursue, I will work with you and coach you toward whatever writing or publishing goals you define.

MG/YA Novel Critiques...estimated $.02/word or $5.00/page (double-spaced)
While Miranda loves critiquing novels, please note that she takes on only one, maybe two full-novel critique assignments each year.  She is most drawn to dystopian, fantasy, and multicultural novels that have strong characters and takes readers to fantastical places that somehow feel familiar. Please send a cover letter with the word count, genre, and short synopsis (3 paragraphs or fewer) of the book, and she will get back to you regarding availability and a more exact quote than the estimate provided above. If you'd like help with your cover letter or synopsis as well, please indicate that as well so that she may give you a more accurate quote. Estimated turnaround time: 12 weeks or more

Please note that Miranda only accepts check or Paypal as payment (you can use a credit card with Paypal). The full balance is required before completing the critique or upon scheduling a one-time mentorship or consult session. For mentorships, we can discuss a payment plan. You will receive payment instructions when you email Miranda your critique or mentorship request (instructions below).

Please note that requesting a mentorship is different than a critique. To request a critique, please email Miranda at mirandapaulbooks [at] gmail [dot] com with the words CRITIQUE REQUEST in the subject line.  Let Miranda know the word count and genre of your story, article or picture book. DO NOT ATTACH YOUR WORK YET. Miranda will respond with payment instructions and her current schedule to ensure that you'd like to proceed.  Typically, she will complete critiques in three weeks or less for picture books, and novel critiques within twelve to twenty weeks (depending on the project).

If you're requesting a mentorship—whether that's a one-time session or a long-term mentorship, email Miranda at mirandapaulbooks [at] gmail [dot] com with the words MENTORSHIP REQUEST in the subject line.  In the body of the email, write a 200-300 word bio of you that includes what you're working on, what you hope to gain from having Miranda as a mentor, and a list of any past publications, awards, or experience. The goal is for Miranda to get to see if she'd be a good fit to help further along your craft and/or career. If you have questions, just reach out and ask!

A special note from Miranda:

I must let new authors know that while I appreciate the credit you'd like to give me on your book's copyright page or in the author/editor listing of your self- or independently-published book, it is often unnecessary and, at times, wholly inappropriate to do so. 

What I offer through my critique and ghostwriting services, while cited by my clients as very helpful, does not equate to the same role as an acquiring editor at a publishing house. Often, writers hire me at a very early stage in their manuscript's development, or for a particular purpose such as copyediting or character development. When my critique notes are complete, an author may not communicate with me until their self-published book is released, and the book has taken a completely different course or many suggestions were not incorporated.

An editor, named within your book or given credit on the Amazon author page, is someone who 1) chose to work with your book on a long-term basis; 2) has been involved in many or all aspects of the book's development from revision to illustration to design and marketing; and 3) was previously aware and had agreed to the use and/or mention of his/her name.

When I edit or critique your work I offer suggestions, give guidance, and do my best to steer your work in a direction that will make it a stronger work overall, and perhaps more marketable or salable. Ultimately, however, you are the author and your vision is your vision. As a freelancer, I often have very little say in what you decide to submit or publish (and where/how you publish it) weeks, months, or years after I've consulted with you on the manuscript. Own your work, and please respect mine by asking before publishing my name as the editor of your work or including a dedication.

How to Get a Free Critique

If you're not able to hire Miranda to critique your work, there are ways to get feedback on your stories or picture books for free.

If you haven't already, Miranda invites you to join SCBWI and find a local or online critique group. has a wealth of free resources and the ability to use the blueboard forum as well. (You do get more if you join as a member, and she thinks it's worth it.)

Also, did you know there is a site where a professional writer will read and rate your short story for free? For information about Rate Your Story, a free "first-step" in obtaining a professional opinion and comments on your manuscript, please visit the Rate Your Story website to get a free rating from a published writer. (Please note that while I recommend that site highly, I am no longer the owner or administrator of it. Rate Your Story is completely run by others since I sold it in 2015).

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