Menu Bar

Does Your Story Start with a Bang?

Five to ten pages.

That’s how long any publishing house reader or prospective agent will initially invest in your book.

If the story doesn’t captivate and impress by the time those pages have gone by, your dreams of making it beyond the slush pile will all but have evaporated.

The same is true for readers and reviewers, even if your book is complete and self-published. People simply don’t want to invest their time in writing that fails to grip and entertain from the off.

This is the reason we’re all familiar with one popular piece of advice: Start your story with a bang.

Your first chapter is your chance to make a spectacular promise and a lasting first impression. If readers won’t make it past your opening, then the rest of your hard work is sadly all for naught.

Thankfully, you can now get an expert set of eyes on your opening chapter(s) with AutoCrit’s First Chapter Critique. Covering the first 3,000 words of your book, this brand new service includes full inspection and professional feedback on your beginning from one of our in-house consultants (yes, a real human!).

Depending on word length, your report may actually include the first two to three chapters of your novel, including deep and honest feedback with in-line comments throughout. We’ll point out the strengths and weaknesses observed in your opening, and offer a thorough summary of the most high-impact changes you can make.

Covering characters, clarity, plot, presentation and more, this developmental feedback is the ideal way to make sure your book has the best chance of success, whether you’re self-publishing or seeking the traditional route.


  • Critique is limited to the first 3,000 words of your novel. You may upload your full manuscript if that is easiest for you, but do be aware that mark-up will be performed only up to the critique limit.
  • We will require your documents in Microsoft Word or Google Docs format. Since in-line commenting will be performed, PDFs are not acceptable.
  • All materials should be written in English (any form).
  • Provided materials should not include extreme sexual content, depictions of incest, or depictions of sexual abuse or activity involving minors under the age of 18. AutoCrit reserves the right to reject submissions for any reason. In this event, a full refund will be issued.
  • All submissions must be the original work of the submitting author or held under copyright by them.

“Excellent quality, filled with recommendations, advice and content, as promised. There was a LOT more added into it than I was expecting to receive. What an eye opener this was for me!”

–M. R. Hartman


How Your First Chapter Critique Works

Step 1: Upload your initial chapter(s)
Upload your first 3,000 words (or your full manuscript – we’ll simply work up to the word limit) using our secure form. This will be provided to you after purchase.

Step 2: We’ll get to work
We’ll choose the right story expert to take a look at your manuscript based on audience and genre, and get to work on your critique.

Step 3: Discover what’s working, and what’s not
You’ll receive professional, in-depth developmental feedback on your opening, including full mark-up throughout your first chapter(s). With complete honesty, we’ll point out what works, what doesn’t, and what you can do to make your story’s beginning as gripping and appealing as it can be.