$10.99 USD

Your first chapter has to slit throats and stab hearts.
Everyone knows the first chapter is the most important one in a novel. It’s the beginning of everything. A seasoned reader will pick up a book in a bookstore, and you’re lucky if he gets to the end of the first page. If he continues ... you’ve got something. How can you ensure that he continues reading? How can you ensure that an agent will read your email? Get yourself some good opinions on each of your drafts. Edit, edit, edit. Don’t be satisfied with mediocre.

Let us help.

We’ve been editing serious, eclectic, indie, and mainstream writing for over 20 years. We receive hundreds of pitches, samples, short works, and full manuscripts per year, and we can tell you without a doubt which books we want to publish before we even leave the first page. Let us help you make your book that good.

Literary agents and publishers often ask for the first chapter. It has to pop, to slit throats and stab hearts and make them want more. Here, we offer you a chance to run your most important chapter through our Editing Bootcamp, where it undergoes a panel of veteran editors, authors, readers, and manuscript selectors who will come up with a collective critique of your work. We are fortunate to have one of the best teams of editors in the independent press, and our editing services are highly coveted and requested, even award-winning.

It’s easy: You submit your first chapter. We read it very carefully. We return to you an in-depth critique that can range anywhere from several paragraphs to several pages, depending on the work that still needs to be done before your story pops. You cry. You fix it. You become a successful, rich author. Piece of cake.

This is the toughest workshop you might ever encounter. That’s why we call it Bootcamp. The critique that comes back will probably make you cry and want to bury your pen and notebook in the bottom drawer. We are not here to coddle or nudge you lovingly from the nest. We are here to make your work stand out from the rest when it lands on the desk of the next agent, and we’re willing to bet that, right now, it doesn’t do that. We dare you to prove us wrong. No manuscript is ever above further improvement, even the most polished ones.

This will be the best and most painful $10 you’ve ever spent. Trust that your manuscript is worth it.

Each submission also comes with a complimentary digital copy of our latest book, currently Moon Up, Past Full, a collection of dark, rural Midwestern novellas and short stories by Eric Shonkwiler

Furthermore, if we love your first chapter ... we might just want to read more.

Manuscripts can be any format, subject, genre, style, length, or theme. We can only critique work in English. You can send your manuscript to us at any step of your drafting process, and you are welcome to resubmit it at a later date in a later draft, as well.

Service fees are not refunded once editing has begun or if you don’t like what we say about your manuscript. We’re not lying when we say we’ll be tough. You will not receive a pat on the back.

It is important to note that we are not editing your work; we are critiquing and analyzing it. (We do also edit.)

You may submit as many first chapters for as many manuscripts as you’d like at any time, but the service fee must be paid for each submission. This service is for first chapters only. Do not send chapters from the middle of a story.

Our turnaround is generally inside of a month. We make every effort to get your critique to you swiftly, but sometimes we have a great volume of work at once. Please trust that your critique is in the queue, in the order it was received, and please do not follow up on the status of your submission unless you have not heard back from us after two months.

Need it quicker?
Select the EXPEDITED option, and you’ll have it within 6 days.

Sign up form

Please enter a valid email address.

Your password must be at least 6 characters.