Critiques, Consultations and Coaching

Supporting the whole writer--craft, creativity, and confidence

Photo credit: Deborah Ossi

Welcome, fellow writer!

Congratulations on knowing feedback is an important part of making your manuscript the best it can be. There is so much about the publishing process that is out of our control as writers but what IS in our control is the quality of the manuscripts we send out.

I offer critiques of picture books and novels for a fee to writers committed to their craft. This means you’ve spent some time revising and are ready to take it to the next level.

Once I receive your inquiry, I may follow up with a few questions to see if we are a good fit and if it’s a go, I’ll give you a time frame and instructions on submitting your project.

Note: The Critique brochure applies to both picture book writers and novelists. The Consultation brochure applies to picture book writers only. Novelists can contact me for information on consultations and coaching. Updated for 2017-2018 on 9/21/2017

Why Author Critiques can be a career-maker!

Author Erin Hagar provides great insight into why an author critique is as good as–and sometimes better than!–a critique from an industry professional in this guest blog post for the MD/DE/WV SCBWI region. Click the icon to read it!



It’s often a long road to publication, but authors I’ve worked with have gone on to secure agents and/or have their projects acquired by publishers. That’s very gratifying and exciting!

I just wanted to extend a giant THANK YOU.

This is, without a doubt, the most thoughtful/helpful/insightful critique I have ever received. So thank you again as your thoughts open up a fresh perspective on this story as well as other work in progress.

(picture book conference critique)

Gregory Barrington


Denise, you have such a gift for critique. You are able to [get] to the heart of a story [and] give specific ideas for meaningful changes, while at the same time, complimenting the strengths of a manuscript. In this way, the writer (me) is inspired to move forward and keep writing!”
(private middle grade novel critique)

Rondi Frieder


Picture Book Critiques

 I review and comment on picture book manuscripts up to 1,000 words. There are definitely publishers who publish picture books longer than 1,000 words (bigger publishers and smaller ones), but I believe shorter manuscripts are more in demand so I like to focus on those.

Before You Contact Me
Picture books are a unique type of book and even after reading dozens of them when I was first starting out, I still didn’t have a firm grasp on what actually made a story a picture book story. That’s why I developed introductory workshops; courses I wish I had before I started writing picture books (see below).  🙂

Whether you take one of my classes or someone else’s, I encourage you to explore picture books on a deeper level before getting a critique.

Novel Critiques

Middle grade and young adult novels continue to be popular categories with readers. I enjoy and have critiqued most genres–contemporary realistic, fantasy, historical, humor, paranormal, dystopian, etc. I look forward to your work if you’d like to send it!

Timeline: I am booked through late August/Fall 2017. If you are willing to wait, we can set something up!

In-Person Consultations

 If you live in or around Denver and would like to meet to discuss a manuscript I critiqued or just talk about your ideas and get advice, we can set up a paid consultation. This might include my reading your manuscript through once and helping you determine your goals for it, offering thoughts on its marketability, and sometimes making suggestions for target markets.

It may also be a look at creating the writing life you want, making and protecting your writing time, identifying your passions and strengths, and more.

Picture book Writers: See the Consultation brochure for detailed information and fees.

Novelists: Contact me for information on consultations and coaching.

Phone Consultations

 I  offer phone conversations to discuss more general writing and publishing questions as well as your career as a writer.

Picture book Writers: See the Consultation brochure for detailed information and fees.

Novelists: Contact me for information on consultations and coaching.

Multi-Session Coaching Packages

 If you’d like me to share your journey with a particular picture book or novel manuscript, we can discuss a coaching package. This could be as short as meeting for two sessions over a few weeks or as long as several meetings over as many months.

Picture Book Writers: See the Consultation brochure for information and fees.

Novelists: Package pricing varies depending on your novel category, length and your own needs so contact me to discuss options!

Query Critiques

I’m happy to review your query and provide feedback before you send it to an agent or editor. Download my one-page brochure for more information and my fee.


Picture Book Writers:

Make sure you’ve got the basics down

Check out one of the classes below!

Intro to Picture Books

An in-person introductory three-hour class  at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver.

You can sign up to be notified of the next class!

Check it out!

Children's Picture Books 101

What To Know Before You Write

A self-paced online introductory course that covers the basics you need to begin writing with confidence.

Check it out!


You’ve read my brochure and you’re Ready for a critique or consultation? Use the form below!


Critiques & Consultations Request Form

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