more testimonials

Writing is a very personal and oftentimes frustrating endeavor. As an aspiring author you pour in all the skill, dedication, intelligence and courage you can muster. You should demand nothing less from your editor. Mary Kole poured herself into making me a better writer. Not just better for my current project but better for the rest of my career. As much as I value the treasure trove of improvements she offered for my manuscript, they pale in comparison to her advice on honing my craft. If you have labored to bring the story you love to life, then don’t sell yourself short when it comes to editing. You will not regret having Mary give your manuscript the most thorough reading it has ever had.
— Joe
Mary Kole will be your Hermione with an editorial pen. If you’re searching for a sidekick to help you overcome the dark forces of editing, then her services are all the magic you’ll ever need. I can’t thank her enough for her insight and prowess in helping discover whenever something is amiss. A true muggle-born wizard if there ever was one.
— Curtis, who signed with an agent after our work together
If you are new to the publishing world and are overwhelmed by the vast amount of information, let Mary be your guide. She has an incredibly clear and easy way to cut through the clutter and confusion about the submission process. Be it your manuscript or query, you will have a newfound confidence that your work is as succinct as it can be for the market.
As you navigate your way through the various publishing protocols, Mary is always happy to answer any question that may come up. Invaluable! After using her services, you will have a strong belief your proposal is as excellent as it can be.
— Stephen R., illustrator
Working with Mary brought new life to my plot and storyline. She showed me what I was doing right, and also what I needed to improve upon as well as HOW to do that. I’ve taken courses in writing children’s literature that haven’t offered as much one-on-one attention or insight.
— Sarah
Your feedback on my submission package was extremely helpful—specific, thoughtful, and really insightful. The comments helped me take a deeper look at my character’s inner life and motivations and shine a brighter light on them. I am especially appreciative of the fact that I could take your comments and apply them throughout my manuscript. Thanks so much for your clarity, encouragement, and truly valuable feedback!
— Deborah
Mary, I appreciate you for being the voice of reason my writer’s head needs, and the voice of encouragement that does my writer’s heart good. Your report was incredibly detailed and your insights made me see many parts of my story — and my writing style itself — in a new light. While your “tough love” approach may not be for the faint of heart, it’s the right approach for any writer who truly wants to grow and become a better storyteller. Thank you for patiently answering all my questions, helping me sort through what to submit to you, being a true professional, and demonstrating your wonderful sense of humor. I recommend you to any writer who wants a comprehensive review from a savvy editor.
— Carol
Thank you so much for your detailed feedback! You really got to the heart where my query is strong and where it needs some work. Your advice will not only help with my current project, but with future projects as well. After reading your notes, I was compelled to pick up a copy of Writing Irresistible Kidlit and I have no doubt it will be an invaluable resource!
— Clara
Mary’s comprehensive evaluation of my manuscript was outstanding and more than I expected. After digesting her detailed (and at first, overwhelming) feedback, I was re-energized to revise my work. As a former reporter, I trust constructive criticism by experienced and talented editors. Mary’s editorial eye is as sharp as I’ve seen. Her suggestions were spot-on. And like any good editor, her input included a dash of praise, just enough to let you know your story is on the right track, but needs some work. If you’re willing to do the work, her guidance is invaluable.
— Edward
I was privileged to work with Mary Kole in 2014. Over the course of the year, we worked on two of my picture book manuscripts. I had been struggling with both, and felt like I was going in circles. Mary targeted areas that needed work. She was encouraging and direct, two qualities that are critical in a good edit. I worked hard that year, and grew by leaps and bounds. I can’t wait to work with Mary again.
— Karen
I just have to write and say thank you so much for all the extremely helpful editing suggestions you have given me, regarding my submission to you. You have really given me a lot to think about. It was so enlightening to read your notes. You have such a gift of explaining how to improve the work, without the criticism being offensive. It was, on the contrary, very constructive, and made me feel a renewed enthusiasm towards my writing goals.
— Susan
Mary’s critique offered compact, POWERFUL suggestions I’d never considered or heard from anyone else. She helped me push myself to find creative and stronger ways to tell my story…all with a balance of professionalism and teamwork. I honestly felt like we were collaborators. Even after reading her book and following for years, I’ve learned new lessons. I don’t know anyone else out there who can offer this level of experience and expertise on manuscripts written for young people. Worth every penny!”
— Elizabeth
If you’ve read Mary’s blog or her book, you know she’s an expert on craft. I hired her for a query critique, and she gave me an incredible amount of helpful feedback — much more than I was expecting. My critique partners and I had polished my query as much as we could, and working with Mary was the perfect next step. She pointed out some bigger issues I hadn’t spotted and gave me great line edits, plus she answered a bunch of questions I submitted with my query and invited me to send her follow up ones. It’s hard to see one’s own work objectively, and given her background, Mary is great at critiquing work from an agent’s point of view. I can’t wait to get to work incorporating her feedback, and I already feel so much more confident about sending it out to agents. You only get one shot at grabbing an agent’s attention with your query, and Mary helped ensure my work was the strongest I could make it. This was a great investment, and I’m so glad I finally took advantage of Mary’s services.
— Kate
Mary’s notes are a combination of insightful and supportive. She calls out your strong points as well as your weak ones, leaving you inspired to pick up your own editing pen but with a more precise sense of purpose. She is generous with her time and experience and I couldn’t be happier with the results and the directions I’m going next.
— Kurt
Thank you SO MUCH for the great feedback! I’m feeling very encouraged by your comments, and you pointed out some important things that I need to improve.
— Sarah
Wow…. I’ve just read your comments and I have to say that this is the most complete critique I’ve ever had! Thank you so much for your time and your thoughtful comments. I knew that this manuscript still needed a lot of work and you’ve given me a lot of specifics.
— Nicie
WOW. Wow. Wow. Wow. I knew your edits would be good, but what has floored me is how much of a learning tool they are. Thank you for taking such incredible amount of care with my manuscript and putting so much effort into it. Of course there is a little bit of me that’s scared I can’t do what you’re asking, but I’m excited about how hard these edits will push my manuscript and abilities as a writer. For so long I feel like I’ve been writing in this nowhere land having no clue if anything I wrote was any good. To know what my weaknesses are is incredibly empowering. I can now focus my efforts to those areas to try and really improve. And the lines you liked gave me hope that I can do this.
— Sarah
WOW. Wow. Wow. Wow. I knew your edits would be good, but what has floored me is how much of a learning tool they are. Thank you for taking such incredible amount of care with my manuscript and putting so much effort into it. Of course there is a little bit of me that’s scared I can’t do what you’re asking, but I’m excited about how hard these edits will push my manuscript and abilities as a writer. For so long I feel like I’ve been writing in this nowhere land having no clue if anything I wrote was any good. To know what my weaknesses are is incredibly empowering. I can now focus my efforts to those areas to try and really improve. And the lines you liked gave me hope that I can do this.
— Kim
When I first read through a picture-book critique from Mary my shoulders droop, my face sags. So this MS isn’t perfect?! It’s not completely, definitely, undeniably The Next Big Thing that should go out to editors today, right now?! (Yeah, I’m a dreamer.) But then I read her comments through again. She’s expertly pinpointed my strengths and my weaknesses. So I go away to think, shoulders slightly less droopy. Later, I attack that MS with zeal and it’s completely, definitely, undeniably improved. Even better, I use her comments on one MS to improve my other picture book stories too. I’d highly recommended her editorial services to anyone who wants a proper, grown-up critique of one of the most difficult-to-nail genres in kidlit!
— Siski
My middle grade made the rounds with my critique group and through several revisions. Still, something wasn’t clicking and I was stuck. When I saw that Mary Kole was offering editorial services, I decided it was time for a professional critique. Mary’s personal attention to my novel was phenomenal. She pinpointed areas for improvement and used specific examples to suggest fixes. The intuitive comments were reassuring and helped me dig deeper. Her encouragement and fresh perspective put me back on track. I plan on applying Mary’s guidance to future projects and look forward to hiring her again. Whether it’s your first book or your 21st, your submission will benefit from Mary Kole’s keen eye.
— Jenn
Thank you for the excellent feedback for my query and manuscript. The comments were very clear, detailed and delivered in a very motivating way. It gives me a clear understanding in which direction I should go and I am excited to work on the changes.
— Anna
I was planning to submit my novel to Indian publishing houses and I was basically looking for a line edit of my submission package. But I got much more than that. Mary showed me where my plot was slightly off. It was a very subtle thing that most people would not think of pointing out – till Mary, no one I worked with did. Now, of course, it’s jarringly obvious to me. I guess that’s why working with a professional who has industry experience is important. It wasn’t only my mistakes that Mary pointed out. She showed me what I was doing right. It came as quite a surprise, actually. And I realized then that it’s far more important to know what you’re doing right than what you’re doing wrong. It’s so much easier playing to your strengths.
— Sia
Mary edited the first 100 pages of my novel, and gave me the most thorough critique I’ve ever received. In her feedback she pointed out areas in my story that weren’t working, explained why they did not work, and gave me suggestions on how to fix the problems. As a new writer, I’m finding Mary’s advice invaluable.
— Rose
I was looking for a book that would help me become a better writer. Luckily, I found Mary Kole’s book, Writing Irresistible Kidlit. I learned a great deal and was thankful that I was receiving such valuable information. This time, I was on my way to actually fulfilling a lifelong dream of becoming an author! I was thrilled when I realized that Mary was offering her editorial services. Mary is a consummate professional, extremely respected, and highly qualified. Through my entire critique (first 10 pages, synopsis, and query), Mary was prompt, answered all of my questions, and remained firm, but positive.Every line I wrote was carefully scrutinized with helpful (and I might add, spot on) suggestions and comments. I appreciate and respect her honest and straightforward approach. Editorial services aside, Mary is absolutely adorable and kindly responded to my crazy emails! I love her already! I will definitely be requesting Mary’s editorial services again. She is truly amazing.
— Pam
What can I say? I will start with Thank you! I read your notes, and I it was so amazing to me how you were able to see things I did not, some things I should have, and other things, I quite possibly never would have. I feel as though you totally understand me, yet you give it to me straight. I have always wanted to be a novelist, so now that I find myself writing children’s picture books, I often get a little lost. Thank you for helping me to find my way. Your suggestions on my query letter are just what I needed to begin fearlessly searching for a place to call my own. I know confidence is important, but I am guessing it is more annoying than appealing when it’s coupled with a bad query. I now consider you my secret weapon.
— Tracy
There are many parts that comprise an edit by Mary Kole. The most important one, however, and the one I am most grateful for, is that she identified the limitations of my writing. She also pointed out the way I can push back those limits. To me, that is gold.
— Len
Mary’s critique was spot-on. She did editing at a micro level and also at a macro level, all the while weaving her comments together harmoniously. The energy and purpose her notes brought made me want to read her notes more than once (which i did) so I could really mull over what she had to say; sitting down to chew the cud, so to speak. She gave a great idea that freshened (read = revolutionized) the story’s entire premise by blasting out of the box and reframing the tale from a brand-new POV. Loved her suggestion, which led to a good shift – could almost hear the sound of multiple glass ceilings breaking with that change in POV. Also, she is so encouraging and couches every comment tactfully, which got me a bit jittery and confused at first but then after I let the comments rest for a few weeks, came back, had another look, and it was veni vidi vici from there, y’know. Picked out lots of meaty goodness between the comment lines when I had a second perusal. There was a lot of mined potential she helped me pick, promise she helped focus my attention on and the best thing was she achieved that without having to say anything at all discouraging. Not even once! Even the comments she made pointing out unmistakable errors were made with tact. I thank Mary VERY MUCH! She’s a great editor and a genuine person and that makes for a lethal combo – good lethal!
— Ruth
Your suggestions were so granular and useful that I was able to make changes that (I think) make the characters more engaging and improve the story overall. I’m going through the manuscript, applying your suggestions throughout, and then more querying!
— Robin
Mary Kole has a sharp eye for detecting weaknesses in a manuscript and her critiques are incredibly thorough. Thanks to her comments and suggestions I not only improved my manuscript and proposal, but I’ll be able to use her sound advice for all my future works.
— Mayra
I decided to fulfill my dreams of seeing my children’s book (already successful in Europe) on U.S. bookstore shelves. People told me I was crazy, but that motivated me even more! With no knowledge at all about the U.S. book market, I chaotically started submitting my manuscript, only to find myself in a depression, thinking maybe I was crazy. But then I accidentally found Mary Kole´s website. This lady knows what she’s talking about! I immediately wrote to her, and this is how the second chapter of my story started. She is just excellent and my other dream is to hug her one day once I cross the ocean for the launch of my book. I feel that with her support, I can overcome the obstacles of the book business and finally please readers around the whole world. Thank you, Mary!
— Mia
I really can’t thank you enough for the breadth of your analysis. Even after a fast first pass, you’ve identified fundamental areas for improvement. I’m tellin’ ya, Mare, once your corrections are in place, this pup is gonna dazzle readers!
— Greg
I took a look at your notes and I have to say: they’re some of the BEST DARN NOTES I’ve ever received. You were so honest, thorough, refreshing, and helpful! I am printing them out AS I TYPE so I can apply your amazing advice before I send the manuscript off. I gotta say: you’re one of the best critiquers I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. You were so thorough! I can’t thank you enough.
— Christine
Thanks so much for the detailed critique of my story. I think all of your criticism and suggestions are spot on and will go far in making my story stronger. It’s so hard to see some of these things for yourself as you write and you have a great eye for pacing that I haven’t quite developed yet.
— Alice
Your comments and suggestions are fantastic and dead on, complete with actionable advice. Thank you. This is exactly what I needed, and it’s like you knew it without me telling you. I’ll be revising with a new eye. If I were an audience, I’d give you a standing ovation.
— Mary
This story is going to be so much better thanks to you! As will the next one, and the next… you really are a one-woman MFA. Hope I’ll do you proud :).
— Krista
Mary scratched more than the surface of my PB going deeper than any book or class I’ve taken. Her specific and thorough edits pushed me to grow in an educated direction toward my dream.
— Debbie