A while back I discovered this blog called Rate Your Story and have recently submitted two different manuscripts to their services. It is a brilliant free way of getting someone from their panel of judges to read your picture book manuscript and give a rating from 1 – 10 (1 = the best mark) and a bonus extra little bit of feedback. Most of all it gives you some kind of indication of wether or not you are on the right track.
Many of my fellow participants of Julie Hedlunds writing challenge 12 Picture books in 12 months in 2012 have also submitted their work and it is great to see all their feedback and delight at how their work is developing.
I know I must be improving because I have sent two manuscripts so far. Last weeks story about a zoo, had a rating of 7, so it either needs a lot more work on it or maybe needs to be put at the bottom of the pile for now, so I can focus on others that read better.
The second manuscript about a tooth fairy had a rating of 5. An improvement, even if it is a small one! Do I feel a sudden need to give in and decide that maybe this isn’t for me? Not a chance, I feel more determined than ever to see those ratings get closer to number 1!
The closing date for the latest lot of submissions is 7th Febraury 2012, so you have got to be quick to get in by tomorrow if you are interested.
Of course this is not the only thing I do to give me an indication of the standard of my work. I also send my manuscripts to professional editors and assessors, my critique group, publishing houses and writing competitions. I have written about this before in my post about the importance of Participating. Having some kind of deadline is good for you, it stops you procrastinating and wasting valuable writing time!
Anyway Good luck with your work, wherever you submit it!