Get Your First 1,000 Words Critiqued By Agent

Among the most popular events at writing conferences today are “Why I Stopped Reading” panels, in which brave attendees offer up the opening pages of their manuscripts to participating literary agents, who then read them aloud and explain when and why they would likely lose interest (or, with any luck, not!). The agents follow this with a brief critique of constructive advice for the writer and for the others in attendance to learn by example.

Writer’s Digest wants to translate this experience to the pages of Writer’s Digest magazine, thanks to superstar agent Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency—and, with any luck, a little help from you. Here’s how it will work.

Writer’s Digest is looking for writers willing to submit their work to be considered for a free agent critique in the pages of the magazine.

To volunteer, submit the first 1,000 words of your novel manuscript in the body of an e-mail to with “First Page Critiques” in the subject line.

You must include your name, mailing address and e-mail address to be eligible, but if you’d prefer for your work to be anonymously attributed should it be chosen to appear in print, simply write “PLEASE WITHHOLD NAME” next to your name at the top of your manuscript. Select entries will be chosen by Kristin Nelson to excerpt and critique in Writer’s Digest.

By submitting your work, you are consenting to have it published alongside an agent’s critique in the pages of Writer’s Digest and Writer’s Digest publications. (Your manuscript excerpt may be edited for space.) Of course, you will retain the copyright and all other rights to your work.

A small selection of manuscript excerpts will be chosen by literary agent Kristin Nelson to receive an honest, personalized critique in the pages of Writer’s Digest, in which she will share her professional assessment of the opening pages of your manuscript as if it were a submission crossing her desk. She’ll explain what might entice an agent or editor to read further, and what might stall your submission’s chances before it starts, so that you can use her feedback to make your submission even stronger. You’ll also receive two copies of the issue in which the critique appears. Selected writers will be notified by June 30, 2011. All other submissions will be discarded.

DEADLINE: 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, May 22

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About Ben Sobieck

Benjamin Sobieck is a Wattpad Star and 2016 Watty Award winner. He’s best known on Wattpad for Glass Eye: Confessions of a Fake Psychic Detective, the Watty Award–winning sequel Black Eye, and When the Black-Eyed Children Knock & Other Stories. Four of his titles have appeared on Wattpad Top 100 Hot Lists, all at the same time.

8 thoughts on “Get Your First 1,000 Words Critiqued By Agent

  1. Sophia Chang

    Just to make sure – the portions lucky enough to be printed will be considered "excerpts" right? Meaning, we’ll still be able to submit the MS to agents? (Just paranoid from all the talk around the internet about not "publishing" your work beforehand and barring yourself from being able to query it.)

  2. Fiona Leonard

    What a fantastic opportunity, not just for those selected, but to be able to see what she says about everyone’s work. It’s always great to hear editors speak about their selection process, but even more useful when you can see what they’re working with.

  3. Andrew Ronzino

    Two questions:

    1. Does it have to be EXACTLY 1,000 words? Can it be off by a few? For example, if a sentence will be cut off by one or two words, do we submit it cut off or can we include those extra one or two words?

    2. Are we to include the title of the MS or any other information about it such as genre and the audience it’s geared to?



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