Manuscript Critique and Developmental Editing Service

Hello, writer! Since you’ve landed here, I’m guessing you might be looking for a manuscript critique, developmental editing, or help with your query letter. Whether you’re not getting full requests, it’s your first time querying, or you’re a self-published author finalizing your novel before publication, I would love the chance to work with you.

As a developmental editor, I specialize in helping authors refine their manuscripts and query letters, and I’m excited to say that four of my clients signed with agents in 2022, and another has already acquired an agent in 2023.

Notable projects I’ve worked on include the newly released My Sweet Girl (Berkley/Penguin Group) by Amanda Jayatissa, winner of the ITW Thriller Award and raved about by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and NPR; and Refuge (Aethon Books) by J.J. Blacklocke, the first in a riveting and heartbreaking fantasy/sci-fi series. I also work with self-published books, including The Sins of Jack Branson by David Schulze, which has already sold over 3,000 copies.

I love assisting authors on their journey to publication. It’s what I do every day. If you’re looking for clear, concise, actionable feedback on your novel or query, check out my client testimonials, then scroll down to my services and pricing below.

I’d love to have you on the schedule!

Availability: Limited space in May 2023 for manuscript critiques and developmental editing. Open availability in June. Faster turnaround on Query Packages.

Client Testimonials

“Getting that first outside perspective on a new project can be a vulnerable experience, but I’m so glad I entrusted my work to Tory. Her feedback was constructive, actionable, and super encouraging. And her ongoing engagement with and support of her clients makes the revision and querying processes so much less lonely than they can otherwise be. Highly recommended!”—Sam Lumley, agented mystery author [Twitter]

“To Tory Hunter for being an early reader of my book and whose positivity and helpful feedback gave me the confidence to finally start pursuing representation for my writing.”From the Acknowledgements of My Sweet Girl (Berkley/Penguin Group) by Amanda Jayatissa [Twitter]

“After eighteen months of fruitless querying, I enlisted the help of Tory Hunter to do a full manuscript critique, along with synopsis. As a result of her suggestions, I received a revise and resubmit request from an agent. Tory worked with me to address the agent’s concerns, and two weeks later I had an offer of representation on my cozy mystery series, which I happily accepted.” Kate Jackson, agented mystery author [Twitter | Website]

“Tory’s insight and clear explanation really helped me when I was querying.”Eilene Spear, agented contemporary romance author [Twitter]

“If not for Tory’s expertise in submission materials, I’d probably still be in the querying trenches. Her query package changes the game.”—Kyle Anthony, agented suspense/thriller author [Twitter]

“Think of Tory Hunter as the Manuscript Whisperer. Bring her your tangled, troubled prose and she’ll cure what ails it. Or come to her for an editorial overview and she’ll analyze your work with honesty, intelligence, and compassion. I was pleased beyond all expectation with the work she did for me. Worth every penny!” — J.J. Blacklocke, agented author of REFUGE: Tradepoint Saga Book One (Aethon Books) [Twitter | Website]

“Writers are told to shove their manuscripts into a drawer for months in order to get the necessary distance to edit their work. You could do that, or you could hire Tory. Her critique gave me both the ‘big picture’ of what wasn’t working, as well as chapter-by-chapter impression of details that didn’t add up. I’m excited to tackle my rewrite with her thoughtful feedback!”—Jami Denison, agented mystery author [Twitter | Website]

“Tory’s critique was insightful and on-point, and she gave me encouragement that renewed my enthusiasm and love for my upmarket women’s fiction novel. I attacked her points and the MS was made infinitely stronger, and resulted in multiple MS requests from agents, a few of which are still outstanding. Can’t recommend her enough!”—Angela Hoke, contemporary suspense author [Twitter | Website]

“A full critique from Tory empowered me to query my first novel with confidence. Her feedback was thorough and enthusiastic. Straight away, she pinpointed and offered a simple suggestion to solve my one nagging concern within my story. I was so impressed I requested her help with writing my query letter and summary. With her skill and support, I am currently querying and receiving full requests from agents. I cannot praise the value of her services enough!”—Misty L. Brown, mystery/suspense author [Twitter]

More Client Testimonials

Novel and Query Editing Services

Note: All prices are in USD.


Cost: $7 per 1,000 words

Manuscript critiques are my most popular service, and I’ve come to believe it’s because I have an action-oriented approach to feedback. When I identify potential areas for improvement, not only do I explain my concerns, but I offer potential solutions as well. I’ll never try to inject ideas into your story, but I will offer questions to consider, avenues you could decide to take, and examples of how you might approach a revision. My goal is always for the author to walk away inspired and motivated, with a clear plan for revision and an eagerness to query or self-publish.

My manuscript critique comes in the form of a detailed editorial letter discussing big picture concerns including character development, plot, pacing, structure, voice, genre appropriateness, subtext, etc. While I do take the market into consideration when offering feedback, my ultimate goal is to align with the author’s vision. I’m happy to work with experimental authors as well as those who want to hit every plot beat the genre demands.

The critique will also highlight the story’s strengths, because I believe it’s just as important to preserve what’s working as it is to identify and change what isn’t. I believe a proactive, honest, and direct approach is most useful to an author at any stage of development, from beginning to publication.

I include a free query letter critique with a full manuscript critique.


Cost: $12 per 1,000 words

The developmental editing option is a more in depth version of a manuscript critique. It comes with an editorial letter, but I will also annotate the manuscript itself with detailed edit suggestions and commentary.

This includes but is not limited to highlighting slow or weak parts of the story, suggesting material to cut or move, noting awkward transitions or dialogue, addressing plot issues, highlighting inconsistencies, suggesting structural changes, and recommending the types of subtle adjustments that are difficult to characterize but that help align the details of your story with its ultimate aim.

I include a free query letter critique with a full developmental edit.


Cost: $50

My query letter critique comes in the form of in-document edit suggestions and feedback inserted as comments using track changes, along with any additional feedback in the accompanying email, with the goal of refining your pitch for clarity, flow, and voice, along with ensuring that it properly introduces your protagonist, showcases your stakes, and offers a compelling hook while striking a balance between concrete and abstract language. You want to give enough details to give a strong sense of your story, but you also want to generate a sense of mystery.

The query critique also comes with a free second pass.


Cost: $50 + $6 per 1,000 words of manuscript (up to 10K words)

My Query Package includes a query letter critique along with an editorial assessment of your opening pages in the form of a written manuscript critique, with a focus on character development, plot, pacing, structure, voice, genre appropriateness, and what you can do to increase your chances of hooking an agent.

The Query Package also comes with a free second pass and follow-up questions concerning the manuscript. You can also add a synopsis edit for an additional $50.


Cost: $50 + $10 per 1,000 words of manuscript (up to 10K words)

My Query Package Plus includes a query letter critique along with a developmental edit of your opening pages in the form of in-document edit suggestions and feedback inserted as comments using track changes. This is a more in-depth option that provides the same feedback as a Query Package but also offers detailed, line-by-line edits combined with written feedback to maximize the flow, readability, and intrigue of your story’s opening. This has proven to be the most effective option for querying authors.

The Query Package Plus also comes with a free second pass and follow-up questions concerning the manuscript. You can also add a synopsis edit for an additional $50.

Ready to Get in Touch?

Use the contact form below. Introduce yourself and let me know what service you’re looking for. I’m happy to answer any questions and I wish you the best on your journey to publication if you decide to go with another editor.

If you’re considering working with me but want to get a better sense of my style, I recommend reading my blog, where I offer a proper mix of writing advice and passionate, incoherent rambling about the publishing industry.

I look forward to discussing your work!

Note: If you use a Yahoo email address, my reply might go to your spam folder for some annoying reason.