Consulting and editorial services for writers
How do you catch the attention of a gatekeeper? Land literary representation? Secure a publishing contract? If you're going direct-to-ebook, how do you gather a rabid fan base and generate sales? All you have to do is craft an amazing book. It's as easy and as difficult as that. If this sounds daunting or you've been discouraged in the past, you don't have to do it alone. I know just how to help.
Whether you have a full, polished novel or a notebook full of one-liners, whether you want a quick phone call or an in-depth edit, whether you're just starting out or a veteran author, I'm qualified to guide you to the next chapter in your story.
As a former literary agent with eight years of experience in the traditional publishing industry, I can't wait to dig into your manuscript. Writers need no-nonsense, practical, business-minded advice from a professional on the inside. At the same time, they work best with other writers, people who know the ups and downs of the creative life and can appreciate the craft. I have an MFA in Creative Writing and have written a craft guidebook myself. I can balance between motivating you as an artist and providing actionable feedback that can finally turn yours publishing dreams into reality.
My goal for our work together is to inspire you to do a truly transformational revision. Anything less would be a waste of your time, and mine. As a literary agent, it was my job to know what sells, and I will pass that market insight on to you. I'm extremely thorough and precise, you will see in my notes exactly what you need to do to take your work to the next level. I can motivate you through the biggest blocks: I believe in the creative spark of every writer.
While my personal specialty is children's literature, from fun picture books to gritty young adult novels, the craft of fiction is the same across all categories and genres. Please don't hesitate to contact me about any project, in any style, for any audience. Contact me when you're ready to revolutionize your manuscript.
about mary kole
Since 2009, my website Kidlit.com has inspired thousands of aspiring writers with articles on the writing craft and getting published. The blog has been named one of the “101 Best Websites for Writers” by Writer’s Digest every year since its inception, and my success online led to a book of completely original content on the art of writing novels for the middle grade and young adult categories, Writing Irresistible Kidlit, out from Writer’s Digest Books. My webinars for Writer’s Digest and various appearances at writer’s conferences and events (from Japan to South Dakota!) have reached thousands more writers in person.
I have eight years of publishing experience to bring to our work together, and perspectives on several facets of the industry. After earning an English and Theatre BA at Santa Clara University, I began my career freelance writing for newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times. While pursuing my MFA in Creative Writing at the University of San Francisco, I interned at my first literary agency. Upon completing my degree (and securing representation for my own writing), I interned in the children’s editorial department at Chronicle Books in San Francisco.
Then I went on to read for the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, one of the oldest and most prestigious children’s book literary agencies in America. Three and a half happy years there as an Associate Agent gave me a solid foundation in the business and cemented my love for all things children’s literature. I then became a Senior Literary Manager and founder of the children’s book department at Movable Type Management in New York City. In 2013, I left to finally pursue my first love, editorial work, full-time. My work directly with writers had always been my favorite part of agenting, and so it wasn't a tough decision to make.
I grew up in the Bay Area and spent many years in my adopted home city of beautiful San Francisco, CA. After three years in Brooklyn, NY, at the heart of the publishing industry, I now live in Minneapolis, MN, with my chef husband, Todd, son, Theo, and two needy and adorable pugs, Olive and Gertie.
Click here to purchase Writing Irresistible Kidlit, my book on fiction craft for MG and YA novels, out now from Writer's Digest Books. This will show you my writing philosophy and give you lots of valuable advice. There are over 35 example novels cited and discussed throughout.
Writing is an artistic calling, but publishing is a business. How do you reconcile the two? Success in this industry is part talent, part dedication, and part education. Does your story idea work? Is there a market for what you're writing? Are your craft elements working well? You are not alone with your questions. I can help with any question or concern. Learn more about my menu of services, below, or create your own custom package.
30-Minute Phone Consultation
Even if you don't have a complete project, you can still pick my brian about your story concept or the publishing industry. Brainstorm, bounce around ideas, learn about agents, editors, and market trends. I will review up to ten pages of material in preparation for our call. You'll be surprised by how much you can learn. Read more here.
Query and Synopsis Consulation
Thorough notes on the voice, tone, content, presentation, and more of your query letter and synopsis. I'll share my thoughts on your idea and its chances. You may have a great book, but do you have a great pitch? This service will help you stand out in the slush. Read more here.
Submission package edit
This is one of my most popular offerings: Comprehensive notes on your query, synopsis, and the first ten pages of prose. Everything an agent usually wants to see in a submission, and we'll really make it shine. Read more here.
This is a service for those who are currently writing, or about to start. We'll delve into three rounds of editing for your novel outline. You give me your best shot at your idea, and I will find opportunities, issues, and where the potential truly lies. We do a total of three revision rounds, until you have a strong road map from which to write your novel. Read more here.
picture book edit
The picture book is a lively, fun, and wonderful market. I will give you comprehensive notes on your strongest picture book manuscript, feedback on your query, and a critique of up to three additional ideas you might have in your pipeline. Read more here.
Partial manuscript edit
Whether you want me to read 50, 100, or 200 pages of your manuscript, I will give you comprehensive and actionable margin notes. You choose the length, and reap the benefits of careful attention on every paragraph and page. Read more here.
full manuscript edit
My most time-intensive and exciting service, for serious writers only. The Full Manuscript Edit includes careful attention on every single page of your novel manuscript, from start to finish. You will receive thousands of notes, and unlimited back-and-forth for clarification as you dive into your revision. Availability is very limited due to the comprehensive nature of this service. Read more here.
A new and very popular service. I'll read your entire manuscript, top to bottom, and give you actionable, summarized feedback in the shape of a Reader Report document. We did these all the time at the agency. I'll comment on major elements like character, plot, voice, writing style, and give you practical, concise advice with citations from the text. Read more here.
create your own
I am more than happy to design a custom service for you. Read more here.
Rates for consulting services
These rates are for consulting services and remain the same, no matter how long your complete manuscript is.
rates for manuscript-based services
Some of these rates depend on word count, and quoted word counts are examples. Submission Package Edit and 100-Page Edit investments are fixed. Full Manuscript Edit and Reader Report investments will adjust up or down depending on your particular manuscript length.
Picture Book (Under 1,000 Words) $299
Picture Book (Over 1,000 Words) $399
Picture Book (With Illustrations) $399
Submission Package Edit $399
100-Page Edit $1,749
Full Manuscript Edit (For 50,000 Words) $3,000
Reader Report (For 50,000 Words) $1,500