Barbara Kanninen
Picture Book Manuscript Critiques

Barbara K's "Brutally Honest" Picture Book Manuscript Critiques!


Due to my current workload, I am not offering critiques at this time.  Please check back in a few months.  Thanks -- BK


Picture Book Manuscript Critique: $94.95

Follow-up Critique: $54.95

Query or Cover Letter Critique: $34.95


I call my critiques "brutally honest" because I will not just tell you what you want to hear.  Hey, we all want people to tell us they love our manuscripts, but unfortunately, that doesn't help us sell them.  The truth is, this market is tough, tough, tough, and if you want to get published, your manuscript has to be better than the other 10,000 manuscripts an editor will read this year.  Better than 10,000! 

If you've been getting only form rejections on your manuscript, then you need a brutally honest critique!


I'm a tough critiquer but I promise you, your manuscript will be better for it.  And that just might help you sell it.


What you can expect from me:

Upon payment, you will first receive from me a summary letter that lays out a number of thoughts I have on what picture book manuscripts need to become marketable.  My ideas are a melding of what I've learned from some great teachers -- my agent, my editors, Anastasia Suen, Kim Griswell, and my fabulous professional author-critique partners. 

I will evaluate your manuscript on several levels --

The overall story  -- Can we make this more instantly compelling? More irresistable to an editor?  More satisfying to the reader?  Yep!

The paragraph-by-paragraph pacing -- Can we pace this story so that it actually reads like a picture book?  Most authors unknowingly do not pace their stories correctly.  If you know how to do this, you will instantly move to the top 10% of manuscripts!

The line-by-line rhythm and wording -- Can we make this thing shine?  Make it irresistable?  Absolutely!

I will also give you a sense of what type of market your manuscript is most appropriate for.


What I do not do:

I cannot recommend submission to specific editors, though, as mentioned above, I can recommend markets for your manuscript. 

I do not re-write your manuscript for you.  I will point out spots that are awkward or (more often) just not singing in any way.  I will try to encourage you to make your writing more detailed and to use more interesting verbs.  I will sometimes suggest wording, and when I do, you are free to use it, but most often, I point out what you need to do and let you do it.  This is your writing, not mine, and only you can develop your voice.

Finally, I will not do a follow-up critique of a manuscript less than a month after I critique it.  I believe writing takes time and that you need to learn how to improve your manuscript over time, including time to let your mansucript rest to allow you to see it with fresh eyes.  This approach takes months, not days.  Critiques help you spot your trouble areas.  Then it's your job to work on those trouble areas.  You need to read books, read writing books, and revise, revise, revise, then read more books and revise again.  After you've done everything you can, and after you believe you've hit a new level in your writing, then it's time to seek a new critique.  (That said, I do love seeing manuscripts a second time.  It's truly exciting for me to see writers grow, and most do!)


Interested?  Here's what to do:

Send me an e-mail letting me know you're interested in a critique.  You can e-mail me at barbara at barbarakanninen.com or click on the Contact Me page.

I'll acknowledge your e-mail and let you know when I can do your critique.  Lately, due to the number of requests I've been getting, I'm promising about a one-month turn around.

Once you hear back from me, you need to do two things.  Come back to this page and click the "buy now" button below and use Google Check-out to pay for your critique.  Then e-mail me your manuscript as a MS Word attachment.  (I will process your payment after I send you my critique.)

Your manuscript must be less than 1,000 words.  If it is more than that, you'll have to work on cutting needless words before you send. 

Send only your best work -- you'll learn the most that way!

I look forward to hearing from you.



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Picture books are such a specific genre that it takes someone like Barbara with a keen eye and lots of experience to critique them effectively. She has helped me tremendously! -- picture book author Laura Goering


I owe a lot of my early success to Barbara's intuitive, professional critiques that whipped into shape all of my published books and got them ready for submission, including Multiplying Menace: The Revenge of Rumpelstiltskin and Princess Peepers. Thanks, Barb! -- picture book author Pam Calvert



I highly recommend Barbara's service to any author who needs an objective, helpful analysis.  Barbara gave me a number of good suggestions and pointed me in a direction that enabled me eventually to get my manuscript published. -- award-winning author, Ellen Jackson

Are you looking for Barbara's consulting company website?  Here it is: bkeconometricsllp.com