First Page of Book Critiques (Free!)

What We Offer

Besides free downloads and plot graph calculators, that is.

The authors of Vanilla Grass love to help writers. Why? Because during our years of working toward publication, we’ve received help from others with more experience. As a result, our writing has improved.

We want to pay it forward.

Specifically, we want to help you nail your first page with a free first-page critique from two of the authors here at Vanilla Grass!

Which may lead you to ask: Does the first page of a book really matter?

The short answer? YES!

For the long answer and information on how to submit your first page for a critique, keep reading.

(Or, if you’d like, you can click on the link below and go straight to the critiques.)

First-Page Critiques

The 3 Reasons the First Page of a Book Matters

Ready for a skinny latte’s version of the full-fat importance of a book’s first page?

why are we offering free writing critiques of the first page of a book

1. The First Page of a Book is the Reader’s First Impression of an Author

First of all, how you start your book reflects your experience as a writer.

Great writers understand how to infuse every description with tones that tell the reader what to expect throughout the rest of the book.

Likewise, master authors know when to shut up and when to add more. They know how to elicit emotions by how they craft and portray their characters. And they leave the reader begging for more.

Your readers can tell the difference. While they may not push their glasses up their nose in a brown tweed professor’s jacket and declare your writing phony or genius, their natural reading instincts will kick in.

Why? Because readers are looking for themselves on those first few pages whether they realize it or not. Audiences connect only when an author uses their craft to appeal to curiosity, emotion, sympathy, and desires.

These elements should be waiting for the reader on the first page of your book. A masterful writer knows how to execute them with wondrous prose.

We know how to spot masterful writers in those first pages of a book and how to guide you to become one.

2. Consistency is Key

Secondly, the writing on your first page should reflect the same level of writing throughout your entire book. It follows, then, that f you learn to improve your first page, you will improve the rest of your manuscript.

This is a truth we authors here at Vanilla Grass fervently believe. And it follows the “best foot forward” or “cart follows the horse” adages. If you learn how to write an amazing first page that readers are hungry to read more of, then you should be able to craft 300 pages of the same caliber.

3. Editors and Agents Don’t Have Time to Mess Around

We want agents to hound you to sign with them. We then want your neighbors to rave about your polished and published prose, your relatable characters, and your descriptions that immerse readers in the world of your novel.

And while Editors and Agents can often seem more scary than they really are, they’re usually just up to their eyeballs in work. They’re the publishing industry’s high-rollers, the contractors to the stars. They’re also usually jet-lagged, peopled-out, and tired.

Despite all this, they still want you to succeed. They want to find the next big author or the one that speaks specifically to their heart. They want to succeed with you.

So when you take the time (yours and theirs!) to send them your manuscript, they want to see that you tried your darn hardest. They want to see that you care about this as much as they do.

Editors and Agents want to read your words and know that you believe in yourself enough for them to believe in you, too.

And that you did your homework and learned all the things you should and should not have put in those first lines of your book.

Which leads us to our amazing opportunity for a free first page critique!

Because, you see, most of all we want to help you get there. Whether you submit your book’s first page for us to critique and post, or you learn from others’ successes or mistakes, the content here will help you improve.

First Page Critique Guidelines

To submit the first page of your book for critique, please follow all the rules below.

Rule #1:

Please keep your first page PG, so writers of all ages and backgrounds can benefit from these critiques.

Rule #2:

Include your real name. We won’t post it.

Rule #3:

Use 12 pt. Times New Roman font and double-space your work. 

Rule #4:

Don’t list genre, audience, title, chapter etc. Start with the first line of your book.

Rule #5:

It’s okay to disagree with our opinions–they are only opinions–but please don’t harass us. Above all, our goal is to help, and offensive comments will be removed. 

First Page Critique Q&A

frequently asked questions on how to submit a first page of a book for critique

Am I guaranteed a critique if I submit my first page?

Unfortunately, no. Our volunteered time is limited, but we will strive to post one critique a week. Think of us like the Query Shark. We will get to what we can, as often as we can.

Do my chances of getting a critique increase if I submit multiple times?

Please submit only once every three months. We will contact you if/when your page goes live.

Can I resubmit if I make improvements?

Yes, please. We would love to showcase your stellar writing growth. Please reference the date you submitted previously.

If my novel gets published and my agent/publisher wants my page removed, can you take it down?

Woohoo! Of course. Please have your agent or publisher contact us, and we will gladly remove it.

Ready to Improve the First Page of Your Book?

Submit the first page of your book by filling out the form below.

    By submitting my first page, I agree it may be edited, critiqued, and posted on the Vanilla Grass blog, website, or social media sites and included in archives for the life of the Vanilla Grass blog/website/social media sites. I also understand that clicking this box constitutes my full consent to the rules and guidelines stated.

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