First 50 Manuscript Critique Service


There’s a LOT riding on the first fifty pages of any novel. In just that short span, a writer needs to 1) create compelling, relatable characters 2) organically weave necessary exposition into the narrative in order to establish setting, backstory, and relationships between characters 3) hook your reader by clearly demonstrating the major conflicts and what’s at stake.

And don’t forget the standard advice that the first major event of any plot should happen roughly by the fifty page mark, which, in my experience is a good rule of thumb. Oh, and voice? Immediacy? All of these important threads need to interweave in those vital first fifty in order to keep readers turning pages, as well as grabbing the interest of literary agents and editors.

As a writer who penned novels and short fiction for almost twenty years before landing an agent, I can tell you from experience that getting your novel polished to a shine is absolutely key to finding publication and securing a readership. Not interested in signing with an agent and going the traditional publishing route? Fair enough–but indie authors still need to put their best foot forward in order to let their talent shine through.


I’m now offering the First Fifty Manuscript Critique Service, essentially a skilled beta reading done by a seasoned author of five traditionally published novels which have been nominated for such national awards as an Edgar Award, a Bram Stoker Award, and an International Thriller Award, won multiple state awards, received starred reviews from Kirkus and Booklist, and been named Junior Library Guild Selections.

I don’t do line edits ( i.e. grammatical problems, sentence structure, etc.) A professional copyeditor should be hired for those tasks. My strengths lie in substantive edits: diagnosing major manuscript issues such as plot structure, character development, delivery of exposition, overall dialogue authenticity issues, and effectively tailoring a novel to its target audience.


  • My rate is now $350 per first fifty pages. This figure is based on the industry standard of roughly $46/hr, (I can be hired to beta read entire manuscripts, but the rates increase, as is outlined in the contract you will sign) and will be paid up front via PayPal.
  • At this time, I can guarantee a substantive edit turnaround in 14 days from start date. If I have other clients ahead of, you will be placed into a queue based on when you submitted, and I’ll do my best to be swift but thorough.
  • I will resubmit the document to you with my comments, and you can choose to employ my suggestions as you wish.

If you’re interested in working with me, please drop me a line via the form below. I look forward to hearing from you!

There are lots of people offering freelance editorial/ beta reader services online these days, but not many of them have the experience to bring a true novelist’s eye to whatever may be holding your manuscript back. If you’d like to share your first fifty with me, I’d love to give you my professional opinion!

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