Monday, 16 March 2009

SIDEBAR ALERT: Critique Sites

If you look at the bottom of the sidebar here you'll find a list of 15 critique sites. I've already mentioned Authonomy, with an estimated 3000 uploaded texts, and YouWriteOn, its message board still down as at writing, the two most popular peer review sites based in the UK. And I pointed up the USA based Flogging the Quill in an earlier post.

For me, the main problem with
Authonomy is that a reader cannot print the texts (well, you can, but it's a fiddly, long-winded process). So, it's not possible to read the texts in situations (on the tube, on a train, in bed etc.) where you would ordinarily read a book. Whereas it is possible to print texts on YWO.

Authonomy's popularity is largely due to its links to HarpernotCollins and its promise to '
beat the slushpile' - but that is exactly what it has become.

Notwithstanding the prize of a read by a HarpernotCollins's editor many
Authonomites claim they're not interested in climbing the pile and simply value the feedback. But if that were the case why then do they not post their work on a site such as ProfWriting? There's no prize as such, but there is the possibility that the work may be read by one of the Editorial Panel and Friends who include:

* Patrick Gale, novelist

* John Yorke, Controller BBC Drama Production

* Victoria Hobbs, literary agent, A.M. Heath

* Ljiljana Baird, Publisher, Spruce, an imprint of the Octopus Publishing Group

With far fewer participants then surely, if your work is as good as you think it is, it will make a greater impression, no? Or, is my logic faulty here?

My question could be phrased:

  • Would you prefer to have your work linger in a publisher's slushpile 3000 deep, waiting inline for a quick skim from a hard-pressed, overworked assistant, or, if very lucky, a grown-up, harder pressed and more over-worked, editor?


  • Would you rather your work had made it to a slushpile with only 12 other texts, confident it will receive a tough but thorough appraisal by a competent editor?

ProfWriting will not provide that (it is a peer review site) but it is something to think about. We all need to target our work.

Anyway, you may have noticed that I've split the list of all critique sites into two discrete lists:

  • Peer review critique sites


  • Expert review critique sites

to help you more easily find the kind of torture you'd prefer to undergo.

If you know of any peer review sites or expert review sites that I haven't yet listed please do let me know or pass on a link. Thanks.


  1. Thanks so much for this really useful resource - saw your post on Authonomy.
    (Chickens and Churchbells)

  2. Hi Nicola, hope all's well with you and yours. Thanks for dropping by. I did read early versions of Clucks & Clongs (only teasing - just my mnemonic for your text - but maybe worth thinking about) on YWO - I was impressed. Have you done a deal yet, or no? I'm not expert enough to comment on your text's market potential - though I feel if you have tightened your 'script since I last saw it you could be onto something. Thanks again, with regards.

  3. Nice of you to remember my chickens! Yes, it's changed hugely thanks to YWO and Authonomy help and the HarperCollins critique. Am just beginning to send my first query letters out now, and your list is invaluable.
    Perhaps Ducks and Dongs?
    Thanks again,
    Nix (Chickens and Churchbells - working title)