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seaaircarol
02-04-2006, 07:41 PM
I'm wondering if anyone has tried the Harlequin Critique Service. Because my romance is particularly geared to Harlequin, it seems like a good idea. But it's a dollar a page, so I don't want to make a hasty decision. Thanks!

dragonjax
02-04-2006, 07:51 PM
I'm wondering if anyone has tried the Harlequin Critique Service. Because my romance is particularly geared to Harlequin, it seems like a good idea. But it's a dollar a page, so I don't want to make a hasty decision. Thanks!

Holy cow, a dollar a page? Man, I'm in the wrong business...

Me, I'd steer clear. I think you're much better off joining FREE critique groups and getting experience in critiquing other works along with getting feedback from other readers. Perhaps you can join romance organizations like RWA; perhaps there are mentor programs there that you can take advantage of.

And, of course, read, read, read in the genre you want to be published in.

Good luck, no matter what you decide.

Cathy C
02-04-2006, 08:55 PM
Actually, a dollar a page is quite low in the "book doctor" industry. The prices range from $1-4 per page. Remember that you'll be getting a REAL critique, though, from real editors who do this for a living. I assume that there will be comments about plot holes and flow, character believeability issues, point of view, etc. I haven't actually talked to anyone who's hired them for a critique, but will let you know if I hear from anyone who uses it to see what sort of detail they provide.

dragonjax
02-04-2006, 09:41 PM
Actually, a dollar a page is quite low in the "book doctor" industry. The prices range from $1-4 per page.

Hmm, didn't know that. I still think that it's high for a critique; a crit is NOT an edit.

(Then again, I never used a fee-for-service critique group, so what do I know?)

Cathy C
02-04-2006, 09:59 PM
A book doctor critique isn't an edit either. I didn't realize until fairly recently that the word "editor" actually means something completely different in various parts of the world. What people in the UK and other European countries consider an "edit" is a critique, where the editor makes suggestions, but doesn't actually touch the book. Our American version of the word "edit" means that the person hired actually corrects grammar, punctuation, word choice, sentence structure, etc. This doesn't happen in a British edit. Editors there have a long, legitimate tradition of providing "critiques" that are CALLED "edits".


Useless trivia, I know, but an important distinction.

veinglory
02-04-2006, 10:12 PM
As a writer who was active and living in the UK until recently I have never heard anyone use the words edit/editor except to mean some-one actively correcting work. I haven't used a book doctor but I was under the impression they edited rather than just gave a commentary?

I go with 'Zogs law'. Money flows towards the author. Other people do things differently.

Button
02-04-2006, 10:48 PM
Is there a link to this service?

I'm weary about critics. I have heard of too many scams about it that I would never take up a service without some sort of outside recommendation.

Cathy C
02-05-2006, 12:08 AM
As a writer who was active and living in the UK until recently I have never heard anyone use the words edit/editor except to mean some-one actively correcting work. I haven't used a book doctor but I was under the impression they edited rather than just gave a commentary?

I go with 'Zogs law'. Money flows towards the author. Other people do things differently.

I never had heard this definition, as I said, until just the past few months on these boards. I think it was in the "How much should I pay for an editor?" thread, and there was a battle royale going by some UK writer who had paid for an editor and how much value they received. It wasn't until someone gave the definition of what they considered editing to include that they threw up their hands and said [paraphrasing], "Whoa! That's not what an editor does! I receive a long letter with suggestions on how to improve the plot and characters and such. They would never touch the actual manuscript."

After a number of other foreign authors agreed with that definition, I realized that there were two different types of "editing". One is critiquing, and the other actual line by line corrections. It's when I started to look at a "book doctor" as a closer definition to a critique than an "editor."

Based on what they say on their webpage, I think the Harlequin critique service is probably a book doctor service, which could quite possibly be a MORE valuable service than edits and could be worth the money (if, as I say, it's what I'm thinking it might be.) Here's the link: Harlequin Critique Service (http://www.eharlequin.com/cms/learntowrite/ltwSection.jhtml?itcType=critiqued)

MMo
02-05-2006, 12:12 AM
I go with 'Zogs law'. Money flows towards the author. Other people do things differently.

(pedantic insertion here)
That is "Yog's law."
(returning you to your discussion)

Mo

veinglory
02-05-2006, 12:54 AM
oops

btw, I think the uk writer you had that conversation with was not representative. I go by the dictionary definiton of 'edit' which is pretty much the same if you use Oxford or American heritage versions ;)

L.Jones
02-05-2006, 01:00 AM
Have you submitted to Harlequin yet? I wouldn't go this route w/o first trying the submission process and seeing what happens. For one thing, you learn a lot by going throuhg it even if you don't get very far. And if you do get very far, you learn even more.

Read the line you're aiming for, check out the suggestions at eHarlequin about guidelines and submissions and give it a try.

annie
Luanne Jones
Heathen Girls (Mira, available now)

seaaircarol
02-05-2006, 01:41 AM
I haven't submitted yet, no. What I was thinking was this: If I get some helpful comments from the horse's mouth (since it's a Harlequin service), I will have a chance to revise before submitting and will theoretically have a better chance of getting an acceptance. If I submit now, they might just reject me out of hand and then I'm sunk--I can't send the same manuscript back and I might never know what its weaknesses are.

veinglory
02-05-2006, 01:44 AM
Have you had a published romance writer look it over? To put it bluntly your stategy might make sense for a potential near miss--but if their are fundamental issues you could get the needed advice for free.

L.Jones
02-05-2006, 01:52 AM
I haven't submitted yet, no. What I was thinking was this: If I get some helpful comments from the horse's mouth (since it's a Harlequin service), I will have a chance to revise before submitting and will theoretically have a better chance of getting an acceptance. If I submit now, they might just reject me out of hand and then I'm sunk--I can't send the same manuscript back and I might never know what its weaknesses are.


There are no shortcuts, though. It seems logical, what you're saying but I bet if you could ask around you'd find plenty of folks who did what you are talking about and it didn't make much difference to the end result. Unless you have the whole manusciprt critiqued and then guess all the right ways to change it and then have it critiqued again and then get all those changes right etc before you dare to submit....
Every author I know has stories of being told they had to change X by one editor, then that editor leaves or the Sr Ed gets her hands on it and suddenly it's, I love but you have to do X (just the opposite of what the editor said)


Do you belong to RWA? If you don't and want to sell to Harl you REALLLLY should. You will have access to tons of info and be able to attend conferences where editors and authors will be, and enter contests that they judge. Personally, I'd say that's a better use of money but everyone should do what's right for them.

annie
Luanne Jones
Heathen Girls (Mira, available now)

seaaircarol
02-05-2006, 02:23 AM
Thanks for all the input, everybody.

I took the AWAI romance course, and got comments on my synopsis, query letter, and first chapter, and those were all pretty favorable. And I've entered a RWA contest (yes, I am a member), but that's only the first chapter. I don't see how to get a critique for the whole manuscript without paying somebody.

dragonjax
02-05-2006, 04:17 AM
A book doctor critique isn't an edit either. I didn't realize until fairly recently that the word "editor" actually means something completely different in various parts of the world. What people in the UK and other European countries consider an "edit" is a critique, where the editor makes suggestions, but doesn't actually touch the book. Our American version of the word "edit" means that the person hired actually corrects grammar, punctuation, word choice, sentence structure, etc. This doesn't happen in a British edit. Editors there have a long, legitimate tradition of providing "critiques" that are CALLED "edits".

I find this utterly fascinating. Thanks for mentioning it!

pdr
02-05-2006, 09:48 AM
Just to note for you all and especially for my fellow Kiwi, Veinglory.

No, I'm not an expert, but in NZ and Oz, and in the UK unpublished novelists are advised to use an editorial service before submitting to a publisher (or agent if you use them).

The editorial service is usually called a consultancy, advisory service, or editorial and advisory service. They offer manuscript assessments, editorial guidance and publishing advice. Most of these ed. service people worked for publishers and are still scouts for publishers and agents. They know the markets and what the publishers want.

They give valuable advice for improving your work and making it publishable. They act like Beta readers and whilst pointing out that your grammar is wonky and your punctuation needs improving they do not do a line by line edit. What they do offer is 'a professional appraisal of novels, short stories...' to quote one of the well known English ones.' With the object to '...help writers achieve publication...' To quote from another's advert.

A novel going to a publisher (or agent if you must!) with a good editorial service recommendation never sits on the slush pile and probably gets published. That's why we use them. Publishers like them because it keeps their slush pile to a reasonable size and they've saved many a writer a red face by catching mistakes before a publisher sees them.

I don't think they are the same thing as your US Book Doctors. Am I right in believing that book doctors don't have publishing or agency contacts?

Susan Gable
02-05-2006, 06:22 PM
Thanks for all the input, everybody.

I took the AWAI romance course, and got comments on my synopsis, query letter, and first chapter, and those were all pretty favorable. And I've entered a RWA contest (yes, I am a member), but that's only the first chapter. I don't see how to get a critique for the whole manuscript without paying somebody.

Find yourself a good critique partner. Finding a good crit partner is a wonderful thing. I've got a crit partner and a beta reader for my stuff. My crit partner is great for the bigger story issues (plot, character, pacing, etc. Yes, she's a writer as well.) and my "beta reader" is a grammar expert who catches the slip-ups that get past me. She's also very well read and loves romance, so she can give me a reader's perspective on the story.

I found my crit partner on an email loop for romance writers. I put out a call, she answered, and we've been together for 6 years now. :) We've become terrrific friends, as well. You'll find thanks to both my crit partner (s) and my beta in the front of my books. I couldn't do it without them.

I've had other crit partners in the past who, for various reasons, are no longer crit partners.

Enter into a crit partnership tentatively, with a back-up escape route already in place. In other words, both should agree to a "trial" period, after which, either party can severe the relationship with no hard feelings.

A crit partner should offer advice, but not expect you to do everything they suggest. It's *your* book, after all.

Susan G.

seaaircarol
02-05-2006, 07:49 PM
Thanks, everyone.

veinglory
02-05-2006, 07:54 PM
"No, I'm not an expert, but in NZ and Oz, and in the UK unpublished novelists are advised to use an editorial service before submitting to a publisher (or agent if you use them)."

As is happens I very strongly disagree. Having lived in all three countries I was always advised not to spend money on these services, but instead to learn how to edit my own work. I think it is easy to assume one's experiences are general to a country went actually each group or community is different.

waylander
02-05-2006, 08:11 PM
I'm possibly the UK writer who was referred to above as having used a UK book doctor.

Now I entirely accept the point about joining critique groups and exchanging critiques to polish your work.THIS IS A GOOD THING TO DO. I did it.
After all the exchange critiques, the 'book doctor' I used was still able to make considerable improvement to what was already a good book.

It was expensive, just over £1/page. I still consider that it was good value. Not only did it improve the book, but my 'book doctor' opened a number of doors for me, one of which may still result in publication with a major publishing house.

Cathy C
02-05-2006, 09:21 PM
I don't think anybody is saying that it's not CRITICAL for an author to learn how to edit their own work, veinglory. It is! This is why I'm not a fan of paid editing services which correct grammar, composition, and spelling. A manuscript should be in the best possible condition through the efforts of the author, rather than a hired hand, because future revisions and future books, require this skill in order to earn a living wage.

However, that said, there are times when getting a critique of a manuscript---learning specific issues where the basic structure of the book is faulty---can be valuable. Critique groups and beta readers are wonderful ONLY IF those people have the qualifications to recognize where the fault in the book lies. But if everyone in the group is at the same level of ability, a book can quickly turn into a "book by committee," due to varied tastes and voices, which doesn't benefit the author at all. Sometimes, there's just a nebulous something that's missing that only a professional editor can spot.

I'm not saying it's the answer for everyone, but for a person in a small area, or without sufficient contacts to know whose advice can be trusted, the Harlequin service might provide just the right advice that will benefit future books.

:)

Susan Gable
02-05-2006, 10:20 PM
Sometimes, there's just a nebulous something that's missing that only a professional editor can spot.
.

:)

And sometimes, not even they can put their finger on the nebulous something. They just know something's off. <G>

It's an interesting thing we do. :)

Susan G.

Button
02-06-2006, 03:40 AM
Actually, it isn't all that much when you think about it. I'd be willing to give it a go considering where the critique is coming from. When I finish this new novel I may give it a shot. ;)

pdr
02-06-2006, 05:00 AM
Yes, Veinglory, of course I agree:

'it is easy to assume one's experiences are general to a country went actually each group or community is different.'

And in NZ, OZ and the UK we are advised to edit (check grammar, spelling and sentence structures) ourselves.

BUT - there's always a but isn't there? - as a tutor of writers I have become aware that publishers (and agents) are saying that a recommendation from an Advisory Service will place a novel directly into an editor's hands. And if the advisory service is a scout for certain publishers then it is probable that the novel will be taken on. The reputable advisory services have a long list of their successful clients and it's easy to check up on them and see if what they claim is true.

When it is so hard in far away NZ to find Beta readers with the knowledge and skill levels to do a good job then I personally feel that an 'edit' by an advisory service is worth the £300 cost. It costs almost that much in postal fees to send out all the query letters and then publishers' 1st three chapters etc. from NZ to Oz and the UK. After an advisory service 'edit' you usually have a long list of things to do and a short list of publishers who will be interested in the edited novel. It helps when you live so far away from your possible publishers.

veinglory
02-06-2006, 05:05 AM
I find beta readers entirely online....

I can see an advisory servie that has an 'in' wioth an editor would be a good play. However at the moment $300 would require me either not eating or not paying the rent ;) --hence I am hardly the best source of advice for a would be wealthy pro writer...

pdr
02-06-2006, 06:17 AM
Wish I could find some. The ones I have don't understand what a first draft is.

veinglory
02-06-2006, 06:24 AM
I find genre specific yahoogroups are a good place to start. You get to know people there and then work with them one to one.

seaaircarol
02-17-2006, 07:30 PM
Hi everyone,

I decided to give the Harlequin Critique Service a try. I sent out my

ms the day before yesterday. Apparently it takes 6 to 8 weeks for a response,

but as soon as I get it, I'll let you know if I found it helpful.



Carol

Irysangel
02-18-2006, 09:53 PM
Wish I could find some. The ones I have don't understand what a first draft is.

I think most readers don't understand what a first draft is. I have about 4-5 beta-readers, but I always send them my second or third draft. If you send them your first draft, they'll just waste time (yours AND theirs) by picking apart stuff you already plan to fix on the next draft.

seaaircarol
04-06-2006, 03:11 AM
Hi Everyone,

Got my critique back today. It took exactly seven weeks (two weeks to get there, three weeks there, and two weeks back).

I think they did a good job on it. The critique is four pages long and deals with characterization, plot and conflict, the romance element, and POV. There's also a short evaluation checklist included.

I found the comments to be thoughtful and constructive, and I would recommend the service to others--especially if you are hoping to sell to Harlequin. BTW, I did the full manuscript critique but you can also do a partial.

Sakamonda
04-06-2006, 05:32 PM
I've actually found excellent beta readers online via this site. I just posted a notice under "Romance" and asked interested parties to send me a private message. Give it a try.

Writing Jedi
04-13-2006, 05:59 AM
Hi Everyone,

Got my critique back today. It took exactly seven weeks (two weeks to get there, three weeks there, and two weeks back).

I think they did a good job on it. The critique is four pages long and deals with characterization, plot and conflict, the romance element, and POV. There's also a short evaluation checklist included.

I found the comments to be thoughtful and constructive, and I would recommend the service to others--especially if you are hoping to sell to Harlequin. BTW, I did the full manuscript critique but you can also do a partial.

Thank you for reporting back! Glad to hear you found in worthwhile...oh boy it is very tempting.

So the comments were got were personalized, as in, it was very clear they read the entire manuscript and gave you specific details?

Did they give you an overall grade or a general idea of how "close" you could be to publication?

Thanks!

seaaircarol
04-13-2006, 06:41 PM
Yes, the comments were very specific and included quotes from my manuscript. No, they didn't give a grade or indication of how close it was to being publishable (that would have been nice)--but they said something like "I'm confident that as you revise you'll be able to add to the existing strengths of the manuscript."



I really do think it was worth it.

ElleF
04-14-2006, 11:13 PM
Seaaircarol, I have a question about the critique service.

I would like to send them my most recent manuscript, but I'm not sure of their guidelines.

They ask for an outline. Now I know that some people use outline/synopsis interchangably, but I don't. When I do an outline, it's like a thesis outline, which in no way resembles a synopsis.

Could you tell me what you sent as an outline?

Thanks!
ElleF

seaaircarol
04-14-2006, 11:40 PM
Dear ElleF,

Well, I didn't have to do an outline because I submitted the entire manuscript. They only ask for an outline if you send them a partial. Have you been looking at the info on www.eharlequin.com (http://www.eharlequin.com)? Here's what they said about the outline:

an outline of 8 to 20 pages (as per the Romance Novel Submission Format). An outline is a summary of your story from beginning to end. Do not begin your outline where chapter 3 ends.

Good luck!

ElleF
04-16-2006, 04:01 AM
Thanks Seaaircarol!

My plan is to send in the first three chapters of my current work if my first submission with them is rejected. By the time I got the critique back I would be finished the manuscript and able to encorporate whatever suggestions were provided before submitting.

I'm just stumped by the "outline" request. They use synopsis quite freely on the site, but this is the only place they ask for an outline.

Elle

brainstorm77
02-20-2009, 01:28 AM
good thread

brainstorm77
10-29-2009, 03:00 AM
Bumping for the info of others :)

Button
10-29-2009, 09:34 PM
Apparently I replied to this thread years ago and I forgot. :)

I need to put in more of an effort into finding beta readers and one pro that's been published who can give me advice. I tried a couple of critique groups but they mostly did rotating chapters. I'd sit down to do one or two chapters, and I'd prefer to have a print out of the whole thing and get through it with high lighter and red ink style.

I guess the question is, what's the best way into finding readers and professionals to work with? Joining RWA or anyone have recommendations?

job
10-31-2009, 12:55 AM
I guess the question is, what's the best way into finding readers and professionals to work with? Joining RWA or anyone have recommendations?

I have two betas. I met them through the local RWA chapter.

Lainey Bancroft
10-31-2009, 02:35 AM
Apparently I replied to this thread years ago and I forgot. :)

I guess the question is, what's the best way into finding readers and professionals to work with? Joining RWA or anyone have recommendations?

If you are targeting Harlequin, spend some time in the Harlequin forums. They run frequent challenges and contests. (I found my first critique partner in the eHarlequin "find a critique partner" thread. I also had my first one-on-one exchanges with an experienced, multi-published author after winning a Writing Round Robin on Harlequin, and then went on to win and get a runner-up placement in the 'Ultimate' contests. Nice little addition to a query letter fwiw)

I haven't spent much time in the HQ forums recently, due to lack of time and the fact I'm not currently writing anything aimed at Harlequin's category imprints. But two-three years ago, the Harlequin author's had a strong presence on the boards and were always very supportive and helpful, plus everyone who hangs out there either reads or writes or wants to write for Harlequin.

Good luck!

maryjmarcus
11-03-2009, 05:16 AM
I've used the Harlequin critique service too and found it worth every penny. I received good constructive criticism. The suggestions were so useful, I eventually sold the ms., but not to Harlequin.

AliceUK
11-08-2009, 12:30 AM
Are the critiques done by the actual Harlequin editors? Or does the service use completely different people?

xccorpio
11-08-2009, 05:26 AM
I agree with Lainey, Harlequin’ website is the best way to know what to do if you want to get published by them. No other publisher gives more guidelines and tips. There are very explicit about what they want to buy. The following links are an example of what I'm saying.

How to Write the Perfect Romance! (http://www.eharlequin.com/articlepage.html?articleId=1425&chapter=0)

The Harlequin American Romance Editors' top ten dos and don'ts. (http://www.eharlequin.com/articlepage.html?articleId=1374&chapter=0)

Harlequin Presents—The Beginning (http://www.eharlequin.com/articlepage.html?articleId=1325&chapter=0)

All the learning to write articles. (http://www.eharlequin.com/store.html?cid=535)

The following is a thread where one can participate and meet long time published writers, who are generously sharing their experiences. You can ask anything there.

http://community.eharlequin.com/forums/simply-series/catherines-mannly-men

And it's all free!
:)

Susan Gable
11-08-2009, 07:12 AM
IThe following is a thread where one can participate and meet long time published writers, who are generously sharing their experiences. You can ask anything there.

http://community.eharlequin.com/forums/simply-series/catherines-mannly-men

And it's all free!
:)

You can find authors in MANY of the threads on eHarlequin. Each line has their own thread, so if you have a specific line you're targeting, go hang in that thread.

The editors monitor the boards, too.

I hang in the Superromance thread over there. :)

Susan G.

xccorpio
11-08-2009, 06:48 PM
Thanks Susan for clarifying that.

I posted that thread because it includes a few authors, who published in different lines.

HQ website is very helpful, but the layout itís confusing. Navigation is hard, a lot of digging needed before success. I wish they use vBulletin.

Can you please post a link to the Superromance thread? I check the main forum page and couldnít find it. Like many great stuff is buried somewhere.

seaaircarol
11-08-2009, 07:29 PM
Are the critiques done by the actual Harlequin editors? Or does the service use completely different people?

Hmm. I don't think the editors do the critiques. My critique wasn't signed, so I don't know for sure.

Susan Gable
11-09-2009, 12:14 AM
HQ website is very helpful, but the layout itís confusing. Navigation is hard, a lot of digging needed before success. I wish they use vBulletin.

Can you please post a link to the Superromance thread? I check the main forum page and couldnít find it. Like many great stuff is buried somewhere.

Oh, amen to that! I can be very hard to navigate! I bookmark (not in IE, but in eHarlequin.) as "favorite" the places I like to hang out, and that way...it's easier to find them. LOLOL!

The Super thread is VERY active. Lots of authors there.

http://community.eharlequin.com/forums/simply-series/make-mine-supers-17#new

We also have a Superromance blog:

http://community.eharlequin.com/content/harlequin-superromance-group-author-blog

Susan G.

xccorpio
11-09-2009, 02:16 AM
Thanks, I will check it out, and add it to my favorites. ;)

popbunny
12-11-2009, 09:05 AM
I used the service - here's the thread I posted (and my update today)

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=134936

Collectonian
12-11-2009, 09:44 AM
Looks like Harlequin is no longer offering this service?

Dee Carney
12-11-2009, 06:56 PM
Looks like Harlequin is no longer offering this service?

Correct. See the multiple posts on AW about Dellarte Press (and/or Harlequin Horizons)

Harlequin got rid of the critique service when they started this vanity press operation.