From Ellen Fisher in the comment column a few posts back comes this:
BTW, I had a small publisher try a similar thing on me once. They rejected my manuscript, but they were willing to tell me what was wrong with the manuscript-- for a mere $180, I think it was. They'd be willing to look at the manuscript again only if I paid them for a critique. Needless to say, I marked that publisher off my list very quickly:-).
Exactly the right choice.
In case anyone is unclear about this; NEVER EVER under any circumstances EVER
send money to an agent. They pay you. You don't pay them.
If they get paid for expenses it's AFTER a book has sold and money accrued.
If they want money upfront for expenses, it's a huge red flag.
If you want to find out what is wrong with your manuscript join a writing group, go to a writing conference or find an honest friend.
Publishers who have all sorts of sideline businesses in critiqueing, marketing, and small animal talent agencies aren't making enough money in publishing to support themselves.
That bodes ill for money available for sales, pr, marketing and royalties.