THE RED PEN O' DOOM
It took me a long time to get published and it might have taken me a lot less time if I'd known then what I know now. One of the things I like most about being where I am today is having the opportunity to help other would-be writers on their journeys to publication. I feel that if I can make someone else's experience easier, smoother or (G-d willing) shorter, then maybe some of my mistakes were worth it!
As a facilitator through the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Connecticut Humanities Council and the Connecticut Library Consortium, I regularly provide a series of craft workshops to interested schools, libraries and writers groups and am also available for one-on-one consultation to help design query letters, blurbs, synopses and marketing plans for a select clientele of serious writers.
How the Publishing Business Works: a personal, funny and factual look at the publishing journey from one traditionally-published author including the "How To"s of the business (query letters, critique partners, blurbs, online resources, etc.)
Getting From Once Upon A Time to Happily Ever After: a beginner's workshop about craft, when to begin at the beginning, how to crank through that "swampy middle" and create arcs that make a satisfying end.
Save My Manuscript!: an advanced craft workshop about how to use resources like Blake Snyder's screenwriting guide, SAVE THE CAT, in order to improve pacing, arcs within the 3-Act Structure, the Hero's Journey and using beat sheets to complete a novel writing project.
Hands-on Writing Workshops: fun and intriguing writing exercises using prompts, guided sensory journals, collaborative storytelling, storytelling games and perception puzzles to encourage, inspire and jump-start creativity.
Give Good Crit: as important as it is to get critique, it is also invaluable to learn how to receive and give good critique advice to not only improve your work, but beging to think critically about the craft as well as develop skills that will serve you in critique groups and partnerships throughout your writing career. Critiquing is a skill and one which requires discipline, strategy and a good head for balance and knowing your own filters. I think it is one of the most important things I can do as an author is to share how to give and receive critique that helps everyone improve as writers and readers.
** These are a few of the sample programs that I have found to be most popular, most beneficial and most appreciated by participants ages 12-adult. Writing programs can be modified for middle grade, young adult, women's groups, mother/daughter groups and seniors.
Fee: Please contact me for pricing and details.
Workshop Handouts: handouts from any workshop can be purchased by participants of online courses. These will be emailed as a Word.doc or .pdf format. Fee: $20
Blurb/Elevator Pitch: Necessary for that quick explanation of what your book's about for editors, agents, business professionals or what to say at a cocktail party. The ability to describe your book in a single sentence or deliver a 10-second soundbite with confidence is invaluable in this industry. I can help you design your blurb to hook your audience for maximum impact for use at conventions or as a basis for your professional query letter.
Queries: This is your written introduction to agents and editors, the first chance you have to shine even before they red a single page of your book. First impressions are everything and often a "No" from one agent or editor is a "No" for the entire staff, so don't send anything but the best. I love working on queries and have an excellent success record. Let me help shape your query blurb, provide proper and professional format guidance and even help point you to resources for finding the best agent/editor match!
Synopsis: The synopsis is the 1-2 page overview of your entire novel, which is often a requirement for agents and editors to get a feel for where the book is headed before they decide whether to commit to an entire project and an absolute necessity for project proposals. It is a daunting task that requires balance and precision to get to the meat of your story as quickly as possible with a beginning, middle and an end that hits voice, tone and hooks the reader. That's a lot to pack into a limited space! Let me help you organize your thoughts, highlight your manuscript's best features and proofread this important document for optimal voice, clarity and flow.
Critique: While I am very rarely available for proofreading or editing entire manuscripts given my current schedule, I do try to make myself available to pre-published writers who are working hard to get into the business of making their dreams come true. For the stalwart and brave of heart, I critique manuscripts for picture books, middle grade, young adult and adult novels (no poetry or screenwriting will be considered at this time). I have limited time, but a limitless love of reading and writing, which means that I can be swayed by good work! That said, it is necessary to observe the following guidelines before I can consider your work for critique:
• Please email me with "Critique Query" in the Subject line for consideration before sending. I will reply if interested/available within 7 business days.
• If I am interested/available, I will request the first chapter or first 500 words in order to determine if this will be a good match for both style of writing and style of critique.
• If I accept your work for critique, half payment must be made in advance, the second half upon completion. We will discuss the turn-around time you require and other sundry details. (Rush jobs are rarely considered and may incur an additional cost.)
• I solemnly swear that if I accept your work for critique I will work it to the best of my ability, but I am not a copywriter or a miracle worker and can in no way guarantee publication, but I will give you an extremely thorough, insightful and honest critique that I would give to my crit partners, often filled with suggestions, questions, little amusements and thoughtful ponderings to make it both an entertaining read as well as a helpful resource.
• Yet always remember: "You are the Author, you know best--take what you want & leave the rest!"
• If you cannot accept criticism of your work, I highly encourage you not to submit. (I didn't earn the nickname The Red Pen O' Doom for nothing!)
Fee: $150+ (Please contact me for pricing and details)
Marketing Consult: In another life, I had some experience in marketing and advertising and it has served me well in this phase of life. If there's one thing I have it's an out-of-the-box perspective with a real nose for resourcefulness. If you are at the stage where you would like to consider what to do for a hook on business cards, bookmarks or postcards, what creative ways you can promote your book to interested niche markets or brainstorm a unique a blitz campaign, I can help bring possibilities to light. This is a hands-on creative process that is entirely dependent on your specific requests and desired outcomes.
Fee: variable (Please contact me for pricing and details)