Picture books are deceptively simple. They’re so short, it seems like you could jot one down in between flipping pancakes and feeding the cat. But writing a well-crafted, marketable, picture book that captivates, enlightens, and entertains adults and young readers alike is tougher than it looks. Although the text is short, each one is a masterful blend of important story elements that make them fun, meaningful and memorable.
If you're having trouble with your manuscript, I can help. I offer professional online picture book critiques for fiction and nonfiction, rhyming and nonrhyming manuscripts up to 1,500 words.
What You Can Expect
Kind, but honest feedback about your work.
A detailed letter that not only celebrates your story's strength's, but pinpoints and discusses important story elements that could be improved such as, the title, opening hook, character, conflict, story arc, kid-friendly underlying themes, satisfying endings, voice, rhythm, rhyme, read-aloud-ability, and picture book structure.
Your critiqued manuscript where I'll make specific edits, comments and suggestions about what to reconsider and revise to take your manuscript to the next level and make it shine.
I’ve published over 100 books and 500 stories and articles for children that include picture books with major children's book publishers, such as HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin, Henry Holt, and Bloomsbury.
My books have received numerous awards, including one of Amazon's Best Picture Book of 2013, NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for K-12, IWLA Book of the Year Award Recipient, a Charlotte Award Nomination, and Rhyme Revolution's Best Rhyming Picture Book of 2016.
As a writing instructor for the Institute of Children's Literature for the past 14 years, I’ve reviewed countless manuscripts for hundreds of aspiring students.
I’ve taught picture book workshops and critiqued manuscripts for The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) at regional conferences.
What writers say
“Your critique is so excellent and everything you said makes sense to me … I had no idea of the necessary structure necessary to ‘reach’ the children with a story. Your quick return is also very much appreciated.”—Gunther Hauk
Recommendations constructive and helpful
“I wanted to thank you once again for your excellent critiques. I am finding your recommendations constructive and helpful.”—Dana Meinders
“Wow! Such a quick response. Thank you so much for your critique. It’s wonderful to get feedback from such a skilled and talented author.”—Kathy Shanahan
"Thanks for your priceless critiques."—Kristy
“Thank you so much for this wonderful critique. I really appreciate your kind words, thoroughness and clear and direct feedback. It’s very helpful.”—Jimmy Vee
No better feeling
"There is absolutely no better feeling in the world than getting that first email saying, 'We have accepted your story.' . . . [Thanks for being] such an incredibly dynamic, positive instructor."—Elizabeth
Made me look at my book in a totally different way
“Thank you very much for your insight and critique. It's made me look at my book in a totally different way.” —Barry Jones-Donaldson
"I must say Lori Mortensen 's critique was genius! I love learning from writers. The ideas and revisions are flowing. Thank you!"—Joanna Rowland
"Thank you so much, Lori. You were spot on for your critique and you provided so much more info than my two critique groups were able to give."—Diana Lynn
Dreams do come true
“Your patience, insight, and incredible critiques helped me SO MUCH and I will forever be grateful to you for that. As you are well aware, becoming an author was my life-long dream. I am finally starting to realize that dreams DO come true, and it's just surreal. Once again, THANK YOU for ALL your help and guidance in helping me become a better writer.” –Liz Pickart
An amazing writing class
“There is no amount of words (not even 1,000) to convey our gratitude for all the help you've provided. Each critique was an amazing writing class in of itself. I wish you could have seen our faces and heard our "omg!" as we read your suggestions. You have challenged us and we have loved it! It's like sitting at the feet of a Master. Now it's time to let all of this cook in our heads as we go forward.”—Jan Ahders
Insightful and inspiring feedback
“You made so many strong points … I will spend today studying your exciting critique. Thank you for getting inside my writing so well. Never before have I had such insightful and inspiring feedback!”—Micki Ginsburg
Manuscripts up to 1,000 Words
Manuscripts up to 1,500 Words
Second Critique of
the Same Manuscript
The Next Step
First, send me an email at lori "at" lorimortensen "dot" com to check availability.
Once the critique is confirmed, click the appropriate PayPal button and send your manuscript to me as an email attachment following the guidelines below:
Manuscript should be a Word doc or docx document.
Put contact and word count information in the upper left corner, single spaced.
Use standard 1-inch margins
Double space your text.
Use a common 12 pt. font
Include a title in all CAPS five inches down from the top.
Allow one week to receive your critique, although I can usually get them back to you within a few days.