Page 1 of 1

Ask the Editor: First Pages Critique

Ever wonder how agents and publishers can gauge their interest in a book project based on just a few pages? Do you wonder if your opening pages—or opening paragraph—are effective enough to hook your intended readers?
Welcome to Ask the Editor: First Pages Critique, a column published regularly at Based on your genre and pitch, we will choose an editor from our panel of experienced developmental editors to read the opening pages of your book project and provide commentary on what is working—and what isn’t.
By submitting this form, you are agreeing to have your pages—and commentary from one of our editors—published at Note that we are currently interested only in fiction and nonfiction book projects for general-interest audiences (rather than scholarly or professional). We are not able to accept submissions for illustrated book projects such as graphic novels, cookbooks, and children’s picture books—nor can we accept short stories, screenplays, poetry, or essays.

How would you pitch your book? Include the title of your project. If you are interested in traditional publishing, you might paste a section of your query letter into this form. If you are interested in self-publishing, you could provide your book’s marketing description or overview. Your pitch should focus on your book rather than your bio.

If selected for publication, your answer may be edited for length and/or clarity. Do not include any identifying information that you would not want published.

Paste below your manuscript's opening pages (up to 7,500 characters or about 5-6 double-spaced pages).

If your project is fiction and begins with a prologue, start with the prologue. If you're writing nonfiction, omit any table of contents or chapter listing.

What best describes your genre or category?

Fiction writers: If you're unsure, choose mainstream/commercial fiction.
Nonfiction writers: If you're unsure, choose general nonfiction. OR: Choose "other" if you don't like these choices.
What best describes your genre or category?

If you'd like to indicate your subgenre, this is the place to do it.

What is the age category of your intended audience?

What is the age category of your intended audience?

Your name

(optional, we will not publish this)

How would you like to be identified in the published column?

Email address

(optional, we will email you a link to the column if your pages are critiqued)

What are some of the obstacles you’ve faced in your road to publication—or what has inspired you to submit your pages for critique?

This is optional and will not be published without your permission.

Is there anything else we should know?

For example, you can provide a brief bio here. Or you could let us know if your book project is in progress or complete. You could also tell us if you are planning to traditionally publish or self-publish. This information will not be published unless you grant permission.