My friend Katherine Locke worked on a client's manuscript a while back, and the result? A published book that scored two starred reviews, and has a companion novel due out in 2020. Be sure to check out Kati Gardner's Brave Enough, please.
And the iconic fantasy author Kat Howard? She worked on Mike Chen's upcoming, starred debut novel Here & Now & Then, and her guidance helped get the book where it needed to be.
But wait. Why have someone else looking over the manuscripts by the authors I've been signing?
Well, here's the thing, writerly types. I can still miss things that need work. Generally when I'm picking up an author, I'll have read through their manuscript pretty quickly (if I'm in love with a manuscript, I read it like I read any book... by devouring it), and when it comes time for edits, I'll read it again, slowly, making notes. Then usually another time. And then again.
By the time we're ready for sub, I've likely read the book four, maybe five times. At that point, I'm probably missing stuff. If I didn't catch it by the fourth or fifth read through, I'm not going to. And if that book isn't quite landing with editors I'm subbing it to, another set of eyes becomes so key. This goes for my work process as an agent and as a writer, as well as any author working on a query letter or a rough manuscript. A new set of eyes will catch things you might have missed, and pick up on issues that are closer to them.
TL; DR: More eyes, means a better letter or a better book.
After getting such fantastic results from Katherine and Kat, I thought it might be a good idea to roundup other authors and editors that offer up freelance editorial work. Because who better to help you work on that query / manuscript, then someone who has been there before? Authors and editors know what solid queries and manuscripts should look like, having read and written so many.
So... here we go!
This roundup was last updated in January of 2019.
Katherine Locke (@Bibliogato): The author of The Girl with the Red Balloon duology (please read these books!), Katherine knows her genre well, and works on Young Adult, Romance, and middle grade books. She offers up help on query letters, full reads, and line edits of manuscripts. [Website]
Blair Thornburgh (@ATallOrder): An author of Young Adult novels and pictures, Blair is a prolific talent, having worked at a publishing house (with me, at Quirk, once upon a time) and writing her own books. She offers up editorial services and has a podcast about querying. [Website]
Laura Lee Anderson (@LLAWrites): Laura, like me, is an author with Bloomsbury's digital imprint Bloomsbury Spark. Her novel, Song of Summer... well, you're going to have a lot of feelings after reading it. Have tissues ready. She looks at query letters and full manuscripts. [Website]
Helene Dunbar (@Helene_Dunbar): Helene is one of my favorite YA authors, and has a short story of her's in my adoption anthology, Welcome Home. She writes heartbreaking reads, published with Flux, Sky Pony, and Source Books, and is available to work on your manuscripts! Details can be found on her site. [Website]
Lauren Spieller (@laurenspieller): Lauren's one of my favorite book people on Twitter. She's interned in publishing and worked on a number of manuscripts for authors that have books due out soon and works as a literary agent, with some huge sales to her name. You can check out her testimonials here, and of course follow her on Twitter. [Website]
Sangeeta Mehta (sangeeta_editor) A former acquiring editor of children’s books at Little, Brown and Simon & Schuster, Sangeeta is now a full-time freelance book editor specializing in middle grade, young adult, and commercial women’s fiction. She also writes articles featuring literary agents she admires, including this Q&A about how agents approach diversity. Visit her website for more information.
Nicole Frail (@nfrail17): Nicole's an editor over at Sky Horse Press (who has handled two of my authors' books), and she's also written a few non-fiction titles of her own. You can check out her rates here. [Website]
Meredith Rich (@MeredithJHRich): Meredith is the superstar editor over at Bloomsbury Spark, and acquired my YA novel! If she made that readable, you better believe she can work on your book. She's available occasionally, particularly for query edits and genres outside what she acquires. Contact her for availability. [Website]
E.C. Myers (@ecmyers): The author of Fair Coin, Quantum Coin, and The Silence of Six, Eugene is an awesome YA author that I'm a big fan of. And guess what? He offers up some freelance editing services! Manuscript critiques and the like. Drop him a note regarding availability. [Website]
Jon McGoran (@jonmcgoran): An author with Tor, Jon's DRIFT series is a favorite of mine. Drift, Dead Out... all killer thrillers, that you should be reading. He's taught a number of writing courses and novel editing classes, and is available for select projects. Drop him a line, especially if you're working on thrillers or mysteries. [Website]
Kat Howard (@KatWithSword): Kat's an author with Saga and a published short story writer with over 30 shorts out there in the world. And she has a Ph.D in literature, you guys. Check her site out for more info regarding what she edits and her rates. [Website]
Anna Banks (@byannabanks): So Anna is one of my favorite YA authors. I adored her Of Poseidon trilogy, and her standalone, Joyride, is... well, a joy. She's offering up critiques, from manuscripts to query letters. Check out her rates on her site. [Website]
Ilana Masad (@ilanaslightly): I was lucky enough to work with Ilana early in my agency career, and I am such a massive fan of her work. And hey, she critiques and edits. She's won scores of awards for her short stories, and you definitely want to work with her. Drop her a line regarding her rates via her website. [Website]
Lara Willard (@larathelark): Working on comics? Graphic novels? Picture books? Lara's the gal for you, specializing in work with a visual angle, though she does other stuff too. You can learn more about her via her site. [Website]
Kate Heartfield (@kateheartfield): Kate and I are actually represented by the same agency! She's a Red Sofa Client, and writes speculative fiction, and is available to work on non-fiction and fiction manuscripts. [Website]
Liana Brooks (@LianaBrooks): An author with HarperVoyager and loves science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, romance, and crime fiction for any age group. If it goes boom, bang, kiss, or crash, she can help. Check out her rates on her website.
Celeste Paed (@CelesteReads): A writer who has served as EIC behind two literary magazines, Celeste offers freelance editing, copyediting, and other services with query letters and manuscripts. First her websites and contact her for rates and information. [Website]
Have someone you'd like to add to the list? Are YOU that someone? Email me! ericsmithrocks at gmail dot com!