Editing services for when you're ready to submit

Query letter editing / $149

I will read your query letter and give you thorough query editing notes on voice, tone, content, presentation, and more. I’ll also share my thoughts on your story idea and its chances in the market. A great book starts with a great premise. I will let you know whether or not your story idea–as presented in your query–has the right stuff to stand out in the slush. Query letter editing can be your magic bullet.

Query letter and Synopsis editing / $249

The service described above but with additional notes on a synopsis of up to four double-spaced pages.

Submission Package Editing / $499

You can still benefit from my developmental editing guidance even if you don’t invest in a partial or full manuscript edit. I’m more than happy to comment on your submission package with the same level of detail, and here’s why: When I was agenting, 100% of my decisions were made while reading the initial query and ten pages. I had no bandwidth to read to page 50 in the hopes that “it gets really good later.” Don’t sabotage all of your hard work with an ineffective sample. With this edit, you’ll learn how to make your novel opening as strong as possible. A query, short synopsis, and ten pages of prose is the standard submission that most agents and editors request. For our purposes, this length of sample is also enough for me to get a sense of your writing strengths and challenges. I will read the first ten pages of your work and critique the writing, the scene work, the dialogue, the action, the pacing, the “promise of the novel” (this is very important, yet few writers ever think about it), the characters, and more. Your Submission Package Edit will include a line edit, actionable advice, feedback on your writing, and thoughts on what’s going through my mind as you begin your story. With my notes, you’ll have the confidence and know-how to make your work shine throughout.

The Submission Package Edit is for novels only. Please see the Picture Book page if you're writing for younger readers.

I feel so lucky to have had Mary Kole edit my book proposal. She gave thorough, thoughtful, helpful advice and professional editing, and she delivered it ahead of time. Mary is warm, encouraging and just an overall wonderful person to work with. She’s also good at hand-holding with me since I’m new to publishing. I highly recommend her to anyone looking to get their book published!
— Carrie Gale

Book Proposal Edit / $399 and up

If you’re writing a book proposal for a nonfiction or narrative nonfiction project, I’m happy to advise on your proposed book. Usually, memoirs and nonfiction are sold on proposal (though this can sometimes vary with debut writers). The proposal is a standard document that includes a pitch for your book, audience, marketing, competitive title, and biographical information, and a chapter outline. Sample chapters and a query letter usually complete the package. My book proposal edit pricing is based on double-spaced pages included in your proposal. For a proposal of 15 double-spaced pages or fewer, I charge $399 for comprehensive notes on all of the materials included (this covers those sample pages and the query as well). For up to 25 double-spaced pages, the charge is $599, and for 35 double-spaced pages, the cost goes is $749. For longer book proposal documents, please inquire for a custom quote. You can learn more about how to write a book proposal and sell your project here.

new! social media and author platform audit / $399

Everyone knows that author platform and social media are very important. But does a fiction writer have platform? And how might they develop it, if not? In my previous life, I worked for three web and mobile gaming start-ups, one of which was acquired by Google. I’ve maintained a successful blog and social media presence since 2009. Many of my clients ask me what they should be doing online, how to best invest their time, and what their strategy should be before publication and after. With a custom social media and author platform audit, I will review everything you’re doing—your social media pages and website—and give you actionable advice and resources for next steps. Build your platform in an intentional, productive way instead of wasting fruitless time and energy online.

Working with Mary is an incredible experience. Her clear, candid, comprehensive, and insightful comments are helping me to improve this work and grow as a writer. Now, I’m feeling confident about my non-fiction book proposal. Mary is kind, professional, and knowledgeable. I’m so grateful for her expert eyes and personal approach. I plan to hire Mary’s services again, and I’d highly recommend her to every writer I know.
— Elaine K.
I have worked with several freelance editors and writing coaches over the past several years, and Mary stands out as the one who has provided the most helpful, clear, specific, and encouraging feedback and suggestions I’ve received. Even though I sent her only the first ten pages of my manuscript, I’ve been able to take her comments and apply them throughout, to improve my entire manuscript. Her very candid (but always encouraging) feedback on my initial query and synopsis helped me to completely re-envision them, and in the process to more clearly understand (and articulate) the essential elements of my story. Thank you, Mary!
— Margaret
I was searching for an editor or a consultant who could possibly assist me with my query letter. I knew I had a somewhat decent draft to work with, but what I needed was direction from someone who knew what the market was looking for. Mary was helpful and communicative with me, and answered all my questions prior to helping, and after. With her help, my letter has direction and is clean. I believe it’s where it needs to be for submission to agents.
— Andrew