Paula Stacey, my “book mentor”—You guided me in shaping and bringing to life the story I wanted the book to tell. With your quiet wisdom, attentive ear, and guiding hand you helped me zero in on what was important. I applaud you

–Lois J. Zachary, from the acknowledgments, The Mentee’s Guide: Making Mentoring Work for You. 

Manuscript Development

Over the course of my career, I have worked with numerous authors, editors, and professional associations to develop a range of publications, including articles, nonfiction books, newsletters, and websites. A primary focus of this work is  helping experts in their fields—psychology, education, leadership studies— creatively and convincingly engage the broadest possible audience.

Most recently, I have worked with authors of fiction and creative nonfiction on shaping and strengthening their work with the goal of publication. My background in marketing and publicity, coupled with my own experience as a writer of fiction, poetry, and essays, has helped me develop the capacity to quickly diagnose problems with manuscripts, guide authors through solutions, and help them position their work in the marketplace

When I read a manuscript for the first time, whether it be a work of fiction, creative nonfiction, or a scholarly article, I focus on finding the author’s intention behind the words. Often I can see what the author cannot–connections to be made, themes to be developed, ideas lurking but not articulated. It’s my job to tease these out and help authors find ways to build on them to bring their vision to life.

For a list of publications I have worked on see my Editorial Portfolio page.

I presented Paula with a long and bloated novel, and emerged with a svelte  piece of work sculpted by her prodigious gifts of synthesis and economy. From working with structure to reordering and reworking material, Paula guided me with an intuitive, imaginative, and unwavering hand. This was a true partnership, one I continue to miss on a daily basis.

–Julie Fisher, currently seeking representation for her novel, The Restoration


Working with You

Depending on your needs and budget, my work might involve anything from a quick review of a manuscript with suggestions and feedback or extensive help with revision, or a long-term partnership in developing the work.

Manuscript Review includes:

  • Edits and annotations on the manuscript addressing sentence- or paragraph-level edits to improve language choice and sentence structure for clarity and impact, suggest substantial cuts if necessary, to model approaches for revision by rewriting passages or adding new material.
  • A developmental memo analyzing your manuscript’s strengths and detailing specific changes and options for improvement. This might include ideas for restructuring and reframing the material, highlighting conceptual or dramatic threads, making use of alternative rhetorical strategies to increasing dramatic tension or help your argument unfold.

Development Support includes

  • Meetings in person, via Skype, or over the phone to solve manuscript problems, brainstorm new approaches, and address questions.
  • Ongoing reviewing of revised material with feedback and suggestions

Marketing support includes

  • Help identifying agents,
  • Writing or editing your synopses and query letters,
  • Research to help positioning your manuscript in terms of its potential marketplace.
  • For nonfiction researching and writing proposals

Paula Stacey, writer extraordinaire, patiently helped guide me into becoming a book writer

–Maddie Witter, from the acknowledgments, Reading Without LImits: Teaching Strategies to Build Independent Readers.

What I Charge

Manuscript review. For book-length manuscripts, I do a quick no-fee assessment before we settle on a charge. For a standard manuscript review, the charge may range from $.01 to $.04 a word depending on the nature of the book. Some developmental support via phone and email is included free of charge after the initial review.

Development support. Charged at $75/hr but negotiable depending on project.

Marketing support. Writing synopses, queries, nonfiction proposals, and doing market research is charged at $75/hr. On large projects I am open to negotiating a flat fee.

Paula Stacey deserves a very special mention. She has made numerous highly practical suggestions for improving the original manuscript and given me much direct help in implementing those suggestions. In short, she has been a magnificent and indispensable support, and I shall be forever grateful to her

–Caroline Oliver, from the acknowledgments, Getting Started with Policy Governance.

Contact me to schedule a free consultation or to get started.