Perspiration: Professional Critiques

See also: Perspiraton: Self Study

professional critiques

Laura Atkins: Do you have a children's book manuscript and need advice about how to improve it? Laura has seven years of experience in editorial departments at children's publishers, and she teaches Creative Writing as part of the MA in children's literature at Roehampton University. Based on this experience, she offers a children's book manuscript critiquing service. For more about her background, please see her website.

From her time in editorial departments, she knows those who had their stories critiqued by others often stood out from the enormous number of unsolicited manuscripts. Whether you are trying to send your story to publishers, or to find an agent, it is always helpful to get advice and feedback from those with experience in the field.

Laura will review manuscripts for picture books or novels for middle grade or young adult readers and give you her thoughts on how she sees your manuscript working in terms of plot, narrative voice, character, pacing, and anything else she notes.

She knows how important it is for creative people to get positive feedback, so while being honest, she will be careful to highlight what she thinks is working as well as where she would suggest development.

See more details about her picture book critiques.  

She charges £60/$100 for a picture book manuscript of up to 3,000 words, and £4 per page after that (double spaced, 12 pt font, one inch margins).

For middle grade or young adult fiction, she charges based on word count. Please email Laura the number of words and a short description of your project, and she can give you a quote. It is possible to pay by bank transfer or cheque in Pounds Sterling or she can issue an invoice using Paypal (with a small extra charge to cover their fees) which allows payment in any currency.

It is possible to pay by bank transfer or cheque in Pounds Sterling or she can issue an invoice using Paypal (with a small extra charge to cover their fees), which allows payment in any currency.

She prefers that a manuscript be delivered via email, and will give feedback within six weeks. Please email her for more information: laura [at] lauraatkins.com.

Bluebird Works Creative Consulting: author-editor Kara LaReau (formerly of Candlewick and Scholastic) offers a variety of creative services to authors, agents, and publishers.

Peek: "Throughout my career, I’ve been dedicated to providing artists with the attention they and their books deserve. While I’m always honored and delighted to work with established artists, nothing gives me greater pleasure than to nurture and champion burgeoning talent. I enjoy collaborating with artists who are passionate about their work and about writing in general, who understand and appreciate the role of revision in the bookmaking process, and who possess an open mind, a good sense of humor, and a willingness to take risks."

After 22 years at Viking and six as cofounder of Roaring Brook Press, Deborah Brodie is now a freelance editor for publishers and a book doctor for literary agents and individuals. She also teaches creative writing in the MFA program at the New School in New York City and is an MFA mentor at Simmons College in Boston.

Bruce Coville, author of the international best seller MY TEACHER IS AN ALIEN and the wildly popular UNICORN CHRONICLE series, says,
“Deborah Brodie knows the book business inside out. With her keen knowledge of structure she can help a struggling author get the book that's hidden inside . . . out!”

Deborah approaches manuscript doctoring as a one-on-one tutorial about the field of children's books. In every aspect of her editorial work, she focuses on supporting and advocating for the health of the author and the work.

Tracey Adams and Josh Adams, Adams Literary Agency: “Our clients value Deborah’s vast publishing knowledge, in-depth editing, and nurturing presence."

Deborah works on exactly the same range of genre, age group, and subject matter as she did during the thirty years she worked in publishing houses. She edits concept books for the very youngest to chew on (literally!), picture book art and text, learning-to-read and early chapter books, middle grade fiction and nonfiction, teen fiction and nonfiction, plus fiction and nonfiction for adults.

Mary Pope Osborne, best-selling author of the MAGIC TREE HOUSE series: “Working with Deborah on Happy Birthday, America was wonderful. She helped me shape the unfolding plot of the story.”

Much of the strengthening of a manuscript takes place in cutting out didactic passages, refining the language, and getting to know the characters so well that actions and emotions are credible and the point of view makes sense. Deborah believes it comes down to trusting your reader enough not to spell out every detail and, of course, to be willing to revise, revise, revise.

Susan Cohen, agent, Writers House Literary Agency:
“Deborah truly wants what’s best for a book and for her authors—and she knows how to help them achieve it.”

Deborah sees her main responsibility as asking questions—the right questions—that lead the author to new insights and practical new approaches to plot, characterization, pace. She often suggests writing exercises to shake things up and help move the author in a more productive direction. Sometimes she works out “homework” assignments to keep up the writing momentum.

Rosemary Stimola, agent, Stimola Literary Studio: “Deborah Brodie is a consummate professional and editor of distinction … a visionary, able to dig into a narrative and bring it to polished perfection while enhancing a writer’s voice.”

Deborah’s fees are commensurate with her thirty years’ experience as a working editor and creative writing teacher. The most extensive work involves detailed notes throughout the text, plus a multipage editorial letter highlighting the strong points and giving specific suggestions for parts that need strengthening. If it’s appropriate, she suggests a plan for the writer to move ahead in revising, as well as with career planning. And she always provides an opportunity for back-and-forth about writing and publishing.

Jean Marzollo, author of the bestselling I SPY series: “Deborah is great to brainstorm with. She really cares about making books the best they can be.”

Deborah’s fees for this in-depth editorial work for picture books start at $250; novels and nonfiction projects start at $3,000. For a second round of revising on the same fiction or nonfiction project, fees start at $500; picture books at $100. This includes light copyediting and editorial polishing.

Jane Yolen, author of almost 300 books for children, teens, and adults: “Anyone really interested in publishing the very best book they can write could hardly do better than with her editorial advice.” 

She also offers a lower-cost alternative—a consultation on the phone (or in person, if it’s possible to meet in Manhattan). She bills the phone or in-person consultation at an hourly rate, usually $200/hour, plus a reading fee.
The consultation is for discussing general comments about voice, characterization, plot, audience, format, and market. The author may also ask questions about writing and publishing.

David A. Adler, author of the best-selling CAM JANSEN series: “Deborah first noticed Cam Jansen’s potential and helped establish Cam in one of the earliest First Chapter books ever published. She’s a talented editor.”

The turnaround time depends largely on the length and complexity of the manuscript. She allocates a range of 2–8 weeks, a time frame tailored to the individual needs of the project and the author.

Her Web site, DeborahBrodie.com, was designed by Lisa Firke of Hit Those Keys. To reach Deborah, please e-mail a Word document of the manuscript, plus a brief synopsis of the plot, to Deborah@DeborahBrodie.com. She will review the work to get a sense of what's involved, and then she’ll get back to you with a fee and schedule.

Patricia Reilly Giff, author of two Newbery-Honor winners, LILY’S CROSSING and PICTURES OF HOLLIS WOODS: “Deborah Brodie is a wonderful editor, warm and responsive to the writer. She's worked with me on several of my books, and each one became richer because of her advice.”

Rachelle Burk teaches an adult education course in Writing for Children in East Brunswick, New Jersey; and is published author of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for children (see website for list).

She minored in creative writing and has years of experience critiquing manuscripts, many which have subsequently been published. She is a writing mentor for an annual Teen Arts event, critiquing manuscripts for high school writers.

Rachelle offers critiques of picture books, chapter books, articles, and poetry for children. She will point out your strengths and weaknesses, and provide feedback on plot, pace, voice, dialogue, character development, style, and structure. When needed and/or requested, writers will receive line-editing such as word choice, and suggestions on where to cut. Manuscripts are accepted by email. Fees start at $25 for a 5 page manuscript. For complete fee information, log onto www.RachelleBurk.com and click on Critique Services, or email at Rachelle.Burk@comcast.net.

Editor Sarah Cloots (formerly of Greenwillow) is available for consulting, copyediting, proofreading, line editing, and critiquing. She can help your book at any stage of the game--from idea development and writing guidance through submission and marketing advice. She specializes in children's and young adult titles, both fiction and non-fiction, but is also happy to work on projects for adult readers. She is also available for writer's conferences.

If you would like to hire Sarah, please send an email to sarahcloots@gmail.com with a description of your project (genre, page count, and reading level) and what service you would like to hire her for. Sarah will write back with a rate quote within 24 hours.

Stacy DeKeyser writes both fiction and nonfiction for middle graders and teens. She has received grants from SCBWI and the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism for her fiction. Stacy also has ten years' experience as a freelance proofreader and copyeditor for publishers including Ten Speed Press and Stanford University Press.

Stacy offers manuscript critiques from a writer's perspective. She provides "big picture" evaluations of novels for children and teens and offers practical advice on how to master elements such as:

  • Plot and story arc
  • Voice
  • Point of view
  • Characterization
  • Dialogue
  • Organization and structure
  • Length
  • Pacing
  • Appropriateness for the intended audience

Stacy also provides copyediting and proofreading services for authors preparing their work for POD publication.

For complete details, including rates and submission information, visit www.thejustifiedline.com

Jill Esbaum's picture book critique service offers:

  • A comprehensive manuscript critique, including marginal comments on the manuscript itself, noting problem areas and suggesting solutions.
  • A detailed letter. I'll talk about your story's strengths and weaknesses and give you practical information to help you improve those less-than-stellar areas. Depending on the story, I might talk about strong beginnings, characterization, dialogue, didactism, point of view, structure, tense, voice, etc.
  • Prompt attention to your manuscript. I strive to finish a critique within two weeks of its arrival at my home. I'll e-mail you to let you know when your package arrives and when it goes back into the mail.

Fee: $100 per manuscript.

Manuscripts should be under 1000 words, typed and double-spaced.

Please e-mail jillsbooks@netins.net for further information.

Margot Finke unveils the mystery of Voice, Focus, Rhyme, and that all important Hook. Polish your picture book or mid- grade novel with either an Overview or an In-depth Critique. Go to "Critique Service" Page.

Author Lila Guzman, Ph.D. coaches four-to-five children's/adult writers annually, helping them to revise manuscripts in progress. She charges $3 per page (Courier New, 25 lines per page). There is no charge for a synopsis or query.

Clients receive a reading and critique of their work, including line-editing and suggestions for improvement. Re-reads of revised manuscript are offered at no charge. In addition, six weeks of classes focus on craft issues (point of view, pacing, etc.) that have arisen from the manuscript at hand. Once the novel is sold and the contract signed, the client takes Lila out for a champagne and lobster dinner.

Lila doesn't accept every writer who queries. Prospective clients must first submit to her for consideration the first ten pages of a novel in progress.

Lila's writing has been awarded by the National League of Pen Women.

Read about Lila at her website (http://www.lilaguzman.com/) and view more details about the critique service at http://www.lilaguzman.com/Critique.html.

One-on-one private instruction is available by Austin author Bethany Hegedus. Bethany's novels BETWEEN US BAXTERS (WestSide Books) and TRUTH WITH A CAPITAL T (Delacorte/Random House) have both been named to Bank Street Best Books for their respective publication years. Forthcoming with Antheneum/Simon & Schuster is GRANDFATHER GHANDI, a picture book co-written with Arun Gandhi, grandson to the "Mahatma."

Bethany's focus is on scene and structure, character development, and uncovering and sustaining one's unique voice. She takes on a variety of students, those who are just beginning to those on the verge of publication.

Bethany holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and her students have gone on to be accepted in MFA programs. For her availability and her rates, please email bahegedus at gmail.com.

Esther Hershenhorn is well-acquainted with both writing children's books and today's world of children's book publishing. Her award-winning children’s titles include the picture book CHICKEN SOUP BY HEART, winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award, and the middle grade novel THE CONE$$ION$ AND $ECET$ OF HOWARD J. FINGERHUT, a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year and a Crown Award nominee.

Esther teaches adult Writing for Children classes at the University of Chicago’s Writer’s Studio, the Newberry Library and Ragdale, an artist’s residency program in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Esther also works with members of the children’s book community to advocate children’s books and their creators. She serves both on the Board of Directors of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, an international organization that numbers 20,000 members, and as the Regional Advisor of the organization’s 900-member Illinois Chapter.

Esther works with writers — wherever they are in the writing and publishing process — to help them discover, craft and market their stories. Her careful manuscript readings and thoughtfully-worded comments reflect her teaching experience, her publishing experience and her talents and skills. The writer learns not only which story parts work and which parts could work better, but which parts should always work to tell any story well. In a successful picture book, the writer offers up concrete details from which the reader draws Life's Universal Truths. Esther works hard so her comments do the same, so that from her specific criticisms of a specific manuscript, the writer learns the tenets of writing for children in today's markets. She also work with writers who are eager to respond to editorial requests for revision as well as with writers eager to self-publish their stories and projects.

Esther's fees reflect the hours necessary to offer a comprehensive and thorough reading and analysis. The fees vary, according to manuscript length and format, but are based on her hourly rate of $75.00.

To learn more about Esther's Writing Coach services, visit her website www.estherhershenhorn.com.

To learn more about Esther’s fees, email her at: esthersh@aol.com.

“When I gave up my own editorial service, I searched for someone who could take it over for me who had the same dedication to the care and nurturing of writers that I had put into the job. I found that person in Esther Hershenhorn.”

—Barbara Seuling, author
HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S BOOK AND GET IT PUBLISHED

“Other ‘coaches’ may have followed her lead, but on the writing field, Esther Hershenhorn is the Phil Jackson of Writing Coaches. Time spent with her is truly transformative, both for the author and for the work.

—Esme Raji Codell
Chicago, IL
www.planetesme.com

“As a writer new to the mid-grade genre, my greatest challenge (besides the writing process) was locating objective guidance on my work. My graphic novel had hatched so many plot lines and characters I couldn’t keep track of who was where or doing what to whom. I vowed to locate the absolutely best Writing Coach in North American and, voila! met Esther at an SCBWI conference. She patiently helped me find my way through the maze of confusion that had tied my story (and stomach) into knots.

“Esther knows her stuff, has a sparkling sense of humor and a complete understanding of structure, characterization, plot and dialogue—the works. She’ll (kindly) help you discover your story’s strengths and weaknesses and fire you up in such a way that you’ll enthusiastically rip into re-writing. Best of all, once you’ve worked with Esther, she holds you in her heart and consciousness ad infinitum. The Ever Ready Bunny Writing Coach, Esther continues to work on your behalf, frequently passing along snippets of writing/marketing tips relating to your work.”

—Molli Nickell
Publishing Consultant, Cover2Cover
Tampa, Florida

“Working with Esther Hershenhorn is one of the best ways a writer can improve his or her craft. Esther has the unique gift of respecting your voice without imposing her own point of view. Her insightful questions jump start your creative process and her sensitive comments are the catalyst for change. Drawing on her background as teacher,writer,editor,she thoughtfully compiles an adjunct reading list with your specific writing needs in mind. Engaging in a dialogue of ideas with Esther is a truly empowering experience.With unflagging enthusiasm,she encourages one to forge ahead with confidence and focused intention. I strongly believe that hiring Esther Hershenhorn as your Writing Coach could make the difference between getting another ‘good rejection letter’ or your finally nailing it with a contract!”

— Mimi Chapra
Philadelphia, PA
AMELIA’S SHOW-AND-TELL FIESTA (HarperCollins, 2003)
SPARKY’S BARK (HarperCollins, 2006)

Sarah LaPolla is offering full critique services for YA and adult fiction and narrative nonfiction. Specialties include YA fantasy, science fiction, mystery, coming-of-age, YA and adult literary or commercial fiction, and memoir.

Full manuscript critiques include:

  • notes on the manuscript itself, indicating problem areas, suggestions, and what works
  • a detailed letter discussing the overall strengths and weaknesses, and offering constructive advice and praise where appropriate
  • feedback on character development, themes, dialogue, tone, POV, and overall structure

Fees: $150 for full manuscripts up to 250 pages, and $40 for every additional 25 pages. Rates are negotiable for partials. All payments will be secured through PayPal.

Contact: glasscasesblog@gmail.com.

Suzanne Lieurance offers the "Working Writer's Coaching Program." See also The Lieurance Group blog.

Amy Lin (formerly Amy Hsu) has launched editomato, "a small, online business offering developmental editorial services to children's book writers aiming to be published in the trade market." Find out more. Note: before leaving Little Brown, Amy was Greg's editor.

Lesléa Newman is the author of 55 books for adults and children, including the YA novel JAILBAIT, the middle grade novels HACHIKO WAITS and FAT CHANCE, and many picture books including THE BOY WHO CRIED FABULOUS, A FIRE ENGINE FOR RUTHIE, SKUNK'S SPRING SURPRISE and HEATHER HAS TWO MOMMIES. She has made her living as a full-time writer since 1988 (where has the time gone?).

Her literary awards include creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, a Parents' Choice Silver Medal, a Children's Crown Honor, the Alabama Children's Choice Award, a James Baldwin Award for Cultural Achievement, and a ASPCA Henry Bergh Honor. Currently she is the Poet Laureate of Northampton, MA.

Lesléa Newman believes that everyone has important stories to tell and the ability to tell them. She has taught creative writing for over twenty years, and has mentored hundreds of students. Most recently she was on the faculty of the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine, and a guest faculty member at Lesley University's Writing for Young People MFA program. She has led many writing workshops and retreats for SCBWI and Rowe Conference Center.

"As your mentor, I will mark up your manuscript in purple ink and write you a long editorial letter. I look at the big picture (themes, plot, character development) and the small picture (is this the best word choice?). I am always available for email correspondence and pre-arranged phone meetings. And if your manuscript is ready, I am happy to advise you on how to get it published."

Lesléa Newman's fees vary, depending on the project. To give you a basic idea: I usually charge $100 to critique a picture book and $2,000 to critique a 250 page novel. Fees are negotiable, depending on your needs, the time I think it will take me to criqitue your work, etc.

Please visit www.lesleakids.com or drop an email to leslea@lesleakids.com.

Some of you may know Anna Olswanger as the former coordinator of the Jewish Children's Book Writers' Conference and through her work as a literary agent with Liza Dawson Associates in New York. She's sold to Balzer & Bray, Bloomsbury, Boyds Mills Press, Cavendish, Chronicle, Delacorte, Dutton, Eerdmans, Greenwillow, McElderry, Random House, and Sleeping Bear Press. The picture book My Heart is Like a Zoo, which she sold in a three-book deal to Greenwillow (after an auction with ten publishers), made the New York Times Children's Books Bestseller list after it came out a year ago. She's also sold adult manuscripts to Pomegranate, North Light/F+W, and BelleBooks.

Anna is expanding her services to include book coaching. From what she's observed, some writers need a vision of their career, their books, and their lives. What do they want to accomplish as writers? What do they want their legacy to be? What is it about writing that makes it their choice of an art form? And more practical: What if they have one book published and can never get their second book published? What if they can't get an agent?

As a book coach, she'd like to help writers think about how they can accomplish their goals. She believes she can help them make professional decisions and, most of all, encourage them to write from their individual experience, and not from a need to chase the market. Talented writers need to write manuscripts that no one else can write. What is it about a writer that is unique, that makes her or him the only author capable of writing a particular book?

In Anna's view, a book coach can work with writers to define their goals. The coach is not their editor or agent. The book coach might talk to them about their agent and editor, and give them advice how to interact with them, but a book coach does not play those roles.

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of working with Anna as your book coach, send her an email at anna.olswanger@verizon.net and describe where you are with your manuscripts or books. She's looking to follow the careers of a few select writers.

You can visit Anna's website at www.olswanger.com.

Judy O'Malley is an editor with 35 years of experience in educational and professional books and magazines, as well as trade books and magazines for children. She was editor of Book Links: Connecting Books, Libraries, and Classrooms, a publication of the American Library Association, and launched and edited ASK: Arts and Sciences for Kids, a nonfiction magazine for Cricket Magazines.

During eight years as a children's book editor, she has been editorial director of children's books for Houghton Mifflin Company, executive editor of Charlesbridge Publishing trade children's books, and senior editor for Cricket Books.

She has worked with such authors and illustrators as George Ancona, Eve Bunting, Peter Catalanotto, Olivier Dunrea, Nikki Grimes, Cristina Kessler, Stephen Krensky, Maxine Kumin, Ellen Kushner, Pat Mora, Anne Sibley O'Brien, Liz Rosenberg, Robert D. San Souci, Elaine Scott, Janet S. Wong, Jane Yolen, and Ed Young.

Judy is now a freelance editor for publishers and a book doctor for writers and literary agents. She offers critiques and developmental editing, working with manuscripts in all genres and age groups--picture books, early readers, middle grade, and young adult; fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

As a result of Judy's broad editorial experience and extensive contact base, she can also provide assistance in targeting a writer's work to a particular sector of the publishing field.

Judy is a sought-after presenter for workshops, writers' retreats, and panels on writing and publishing for young people. She has served on the boards of directors of the American Library Association's Association of Library Services to Children, The Foundation for Children's Books, and the United States Board on Books for Young People of which she is past-president.

Judy's hourly rate for individual critiques, editorial analysis, and revision guidance is $100 per hour, and work can be conducted through email, telephone, and/or personal meetings. Consultation on placement of a writer's work with appropriate agents, publicists, and publishers is done after editorial work is completed; a flat fee of $50 is charged for this service.

For more information and for workshop topics and speaker's fees, please visit www.judyomalley.com. Judy can be reached directly at judy@judyomalley.com.

The Texas Sweethearts (Jessica Lee Anderson, Jo Whittemore, and P.J. Hoover) have authored multiple books and can help you get there too!

Jessica Lee Anderson is the author of TRUDY (winner of the 2005 Milkweed Prize for Children’s Literature), BORDER CROSSING (Quick Picks Nomination, Cynsational Book of 2009), as well as the forthcoming young adult novel, CALLI (2011). She’s published two nonfiction readers, as well as fiction and nonfiction for a variety of magazines including Highlights for Children. She graduated from Hollins University with a Master of Arts in Children's Literature, and has extensive critique experience as an instructor at the Institute of Children's Literature.
 
Jo Whittemore has published works of middle-grade contemporary (FRONT PAGE FACE-OFF) and speculative fiction (THE SILVERSKIN LEGACY trilogy), as well as professional magazine and newspaper articles. She has a Bachelor's degree in Marketing from Texas A&M University and is represented by Jenn Laughran of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
 
PJ Hoover is the author of the FORGOTTEN WORLDS Trilogy (THE EMERALD TABLET, THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD, and THE NECROPOLIS). PJ has undergraduate degrees in Computer Engineering and History and a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering. She writes fantasy and science fiction for both middle grade and young adults and is represented by Laura Rennert of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

The Texas Sweethearts will work with authors to strengthen their manuscripts to stand out in the competitive market.  Their services and fees are as follows:

  •  Query letter—$25
  • Follow-up Query Letter—$10
  • One page synopsis—$30 ($5 per additional page)
  • 10 pages of a novel-length manuscript (chapter book, middle grade novel, young adult novel)—$30 ($2.50 per additional page)
  • Follow-up 10 pages of a novel-length manuscript—$15 ($1.50 per additional page)
  • Query, one page synopsis, and 10 novel-length manuscript pages—$60 (save $25)
  • Picture Book manuscript 1,000 words and under—$50
     

For specifics, testimonies, and inquiries, visit: texassweethearts.com.

Stacy Whitman specializes in fantasy and science fiction for children and young adults. She spent three years as an editor for Mirrorstone, the children’s and young adult imprint of Wizards of the Coast in Seattle. She holds a master’s degree in children’s literature from Simmons College. Before that, she edited elementary school textbooks at Houghton Mifflin and interned at the Horn Book, as well as a brief stint as a bookseller. Stacy edited such favorite fantasy titles for children and young adults as the highly acclaimed YA series Hallowmere, the middle grade fantasy adventure series that debuted with Red Dragon Codex, and The New York Times best-selling picture book A Practical Guide to Monsters.

Stacy’s middle grade and young adult novel critique and editorial services come in two sizes:

• Critique of the cover letter/query and first three chapters, giving an editor’s point of view on the strengths of the first impression. Service includes comments on her impressions of the story from the first three chapters and how the beginning hooks the editor, including suggestions for improvement. This usually takes about an hour of her time.

• Developmental edit of the full manuscript, including an editorial letter to suggest improvements in plot, character, pacing, voice, audience, and any other areas in need of improvement. Comments will also be noted in the manuscript itself. The time this takes varies from manuscript to manuscript. Email to discuss particulars.

The cost of these services are based on Stacy’s rate of $50 an hour, with a minimum of one hour. See her blog at http://slwhitman.livejournal.com to see more about her work, and contact her at stacylwhitman@gmail.com to discuss your project.

“Stacy was my very first editor, and I really couldn't have asked for a better person to induct me into the world of publishing. It felt more like the book was a collaboration of ours rather than a tug-of-war as can so often be the case. I'll always be grateful for her nurturing honesty and excellent editorial eye.”

—Tiffany Trent In the Serpent’s Coils
By Venom’s Sweet Sting
Between Golden Jaws

“I highly recommend Stacy. She’s a pro you can count on for good, solid advice, and she'll help you bring out the best in your manuscript.”

—Printz Honor author Amanda M. Jenkins
Queen of the Masquerade

“Stacy Whitman not only has a keen eye for editing, but has a deep understanding of the children's market. I know this for a fact, since she was instrumental in helping me sell my first children's book.”

—Brandon Sanderson
Elantris Mistborn trilogy
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians
Wheel of Time: A Memory of Light (with Robert Jordan)

“As an editor, Stacy has a clear vision of the potential of a story and its characters as well as the talent to bring out the best in a writer. She is committed to her writers, her advice is open for discussion, and she has an intuitive feel for where the writer wants to go with the story. I enjoyed working with her and hope to do so again in the future.”

—Angelika Ranger
Maiden of the Wolf

“Stacy Whitman is an excellent editor. Her feedback is invaluable, and her ability to look at a book both as a whole and as individual scenes is exceptional. She places each moment in the manuscript within the overall plot, and her commentary not only helps the moment; it does wonders for the whole. She's enthusiastic, easy to work with, and brings a great deal to any project she works on. I'm grateful for the times I've worked with her, and look forward to doing so often in the future!”

—Ree Soesbee
Black Dragon Codex
The Elidor Trilogy
Elements Trilogy

“The best friend a manuscript ever had is a good editor. If you’re like me, you can get too close to the material to see where you’ve missed things. I worked with Stacy on Wizard’s Return, my third YA book for Mirrorstone. She worked with me to fill in some gaps in the character arcs and to focus the story as a whole. I can say without reservation that she made it easy for me to take my work from good to great. Stacy is easy to work with, throughly professional, and highly skilled. Your manuscript deserves her as its editor.”

—Dan Willis
Wizard’s Return
Dragon Well
Dragon Spell

“Stacy was the first editor I ever worked with and I now consider myself spoiled for future books. She kept a perfect balance between criticism and praise, and I improved greatly as a writer because of her comments. She was always available when I had questions about everything from basic plot to author appearances. Bronze Dragon Codex would not be the book that it is without her, and I can never thank her enough.”

—Amie Rose Rotruck
Bronze Dragon Codex

Writersinkville: children's book authors and freelance editors, Judith Ross Enderle and Stephanie Jacob Gordon, welcome published and aspiring authors to their Writersinkville website. Visit the library for book information. Check out Town Hall for upcoming workshops and conferences. At School find school visit information. Don't miss the Post Office, Writersinkville Press, Calabash Street Forum, or the Butcher Shop, where you can find great links. The site offers editing tips, information about Writers Ink Critique Service, and lots of fun.

Lara M. Zeises is the author of several award-winning novels for young adults, including BRINGING UP THE BONES, CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE, and ANYONE BUT YOU, all through Delacorte Press. In addition, Lara writes what she calls "brainy chick lit with soul" under the pseudonym Lola Douglas for Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin/Putnam.  As of September 2006, Lara will be offering a professional novel editing service.  She has worked closely as a critique partner for several successful YA authors, including Laurie Faria Stolarz (of the best-selling Blue is for Nightmares series), Kim Ablon Whitney (SEE YOU DOWN THE ROAD), and Tea Benduhn (GRAVEL QUEEN).  She's also mentored student authors who've gone on to sign contracts with major imprints, like Wendy Lamb Books, and one who was recently awarded the prestigious Writer-in-Residency at the Boston Public Library.

Lara's services include:

  • in-depth line edits
  • an overall analysis of the project
  • suggested game plan for revision/improvement
  • critique of query and/or synopsis
  • recommended reading list
  • guidance in terms of finding an agent and/or a publisher

The cost for this personalized attention is $3 per properly formatted, double-spaced manuscript page.  Re-reads of the reworked project will be offered at a substantial discount.  Authors who've worked with Lara will receive a $50 discount toward the online revision workshop Lara team-teaches with Laurie Faria Stolarz.

Although she prefers to work with full manuscripts, Lara would consider editing a partial MS if the project is far enough along and the premise interests her.

For more information about Lara and her work, visit her on the web at www.zeisgeist.com.  You may also want to review her blog at http://zeisgeist.livejournal.com.