If you write/illustrate picture books, don't miss out on #PBCritiqueFest 2021! This is a great opportunity to get a pro's eyes on your work...for FREE! Your critique partners are so important, but a professional critique is a must, IMO, before you query anything.
I've been lucky to win several critiques, including one in 2019's #PBCritiqueFest, and have paid for others--that works as well as winning, but who doesn't love a freebie? Each critique has helped me move a manuscript forward, often in unexpected ways.
Lisa Amstutz (who is one of the agents participating in #PBCritiqueFest this year!) critiqued the manuscript I recently sold to Familius through a conference opportunity in early 2021. She gave me a thorough critique that included her "spitballing" a great idea! Only problem was...I couldn't figure out how to work it into the story at the time. Then, when Familius asked for an R&R, it all clicked! I went back to Lisa's critique, focused on her idea, and completely revised with that as the jumping off point. Familius loved it!
A potential bonus of professional critiques is that they can help you build relationships. When I queried an agent a year after a critique, she was enthusiastic about the revised manuscript and requested more. Following a critique with an editor, she told me to submit the revised version when it was ready. An established author who I won a critique with was later happy to do a manuscript swap with me. A CP of mine actually signed with her agent following a critique.
Of course, you shouldn't expect any of that. Expect to get professional feedback that will help you hone your craft and strengthen your writing!
A professional critique is the step beyond your critique group and the step before querying/submitting your story. Don't skip this step!
And don't miss your chance for a free critique through Brian Gehrlein's wonderful #PBCritiqueFest! Check out www.pbspotlight.com or go right to all the #PBCritiqueFest details at: https://www.pbspotlight.com/single-post/pbcritiquefest-2021