The importance of getting a professional critique of your work before submitting it to agents and publishers

Geraldine Evans is a British author. She has written 18 novels (16 crime, 1 historical and 1 romance) as well as articles on a variety of subjects. But she didn’t really get into her writing stride until she hit thirty. That concentrated her mind wonderfully. During the next six years, she wrote a book a year and received nothing but rejections until Robert Hale bought that sixth romance, Land of Dreams, a romance set in the Canadian Arctic. She then turned to crime and penned Dead Before Morning, the first novel in her Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series. This was taken from Macmillan’s slush pile and published in hardback and paperback both here and in the US, as was Down Among the Dead Men, the next in the series. 

She is now published by Severn House, who brought out Death Dance, her 13th Rafferty crime novel on 26 August 2010. They also publish her second crime series, Casey & Catt.

Geraldine's historical novel, Reluctant Queen, (written under the name Geraldine Hartnett), was published by Hale in 2004. It is the story of Henry VIII’s little sister, Mary Rose Tudor.

Start Counting the Money, Honey  by  Geraldine Evans

Del Boy of Only Fools and Horses fame, always said: ‘By this time next year, we’ll be millionaires’. Perhaps that’s your belief, too – if only you could get someone to read your book. Maybe it’ll happen, too. After all, you’ve done all the usual things. You’ve penned the Letters to the Editor, subscribed to writers’ magazines, joned the local Writers’ Circle and received your first rejection letter. Or maybe more than one…

Perhaps it’s time to consider having your work professionally criticized?  Yes, I know it’s expensive. I know the critique might be wounding to your ego, but so are are those rejections. It could well be the step forward you need. I doubt if I would have got published but for the advice I received after finishing Dead Before Morning, the first novel in what went on to become a series (Rafferty & Llewelyn). I’m currently fourteen books into the series, having just finished Deadly Reunion. It’s possible I would still be that forlorn and struggling wannabe without their help.

Unfortunately, the criticism service I used seems to have vanished off the radar, but if you check the Links Page on my website,, you’ll find the names of two reputable firms. And if you buy the writers’ bibles (Writers’ Handbook and Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook), you’ll find a lot more.

Yes, I know, you can get a critique from your friends at your writing circle, but I don’t think that’s the most suitable area for a book critique. Think about it. It could take a year (or two) for you to read out the entire book and by the time the last monthly critique meeting comes by, the other members will have forgotten most of the first half of it.

So, if you’re frustrated and yearn to have your book read in pretty quick fashion by someone in the know, think about having that professional critique. As Del Boy would say: ‘You know it makes sense’.