Winning Writers has engaged contest judge and literary scholar Annie Mydla to provide expert private critiques of your books and manuscripts, published or unpublished, that have up to 200,000 words. (For critiques of short works under 6,000 words, please click here. For critiques of children's picture books, please click here.) Annie has read thousands of self-published books in her work as assistant judge for our North Street Book Prize. She is also a published literary scholar whose works can be found in Avant Literary Journal, Joseph Conrad Today, and most recently in the international journal Świat i Słowo ("World and Word"). Annie is assisted by Paweł Zagawa and Ewa Stachyra.

"Reading for the North Street Book Prize has taught me how to view books from a bird's-eye perspective, and to help authors do the same. In my critique, I'll examine how the specific details of your work interact with the wider picture, and respectfully suggest concrete paths for reworking and new development." You can view a sample critique by Annie here. You can also read Annie's insights about what makes a prizewinning book in her guest blog post for the Alliance of Independent Authors.

Please submit a digital copy of your work. You may upload it as two files if your book and cover are separate files. It is acceptable to leave identifying information on your documents. We will keep your submission private, and we will provide your critique for your personal use (i.e. please don't publish our critique without our permission).

You can expect your critique to be 1,500-3,000 words long. It will include the following sections as relevant:

  1. Critique summary
  2. Technical execution (layout, spelling and grammar, technical consistency, technical quality of any illustrations, font, accessibility)
  3. Structure and content (character, plot, theme, setting, internal consistency, structure, pacing)
  4. Use of language (register, tone, tonal consistency, literary devices, artistic style, imagery, sense of mastery, relation to themes)
  5. Recommendations and conclusion
  6. Exercises to unlock creativity

You may also submit up to 3 specific questions to be answered by Annie within her critique.

We seek to provide perspectives that will provoke new ideas and directions for future drafts. Please allow six weeks for your critique to be completed. After delivery, we will welcome one round of follow-up questions from you.

Price: $240. Your satisfaction is guaranteed. If our critique does not deliver value for you, you can request a prompt refund from

Customers say:

"I can't recommend this service enough. Annie's understanding of literature is truly impressive, and I was amazed at how much time and thoughtfulness she invested in my project. She took the trouble to understand who I am, why I want to write this book, and what kinds of skills and deficits I bring. And then she tailored her feedback and advice accordingly... I feel not only read but seen, not only helped but inspired. I highly recommend 'upgrading' to include a Zoom call with meant that the ten-page final critique Annie delivered not only addressed exactly the questions I wanted answered, but also built in very helpful ways on what was already a very substantive conversation." -Sigrid Schmalzer



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