Thursday, September 1, 2022

Book Mentoring

As my publishing career has advanced, I've helped many different writers with their books, some of whom have gone on to become bestselling authors in both fiction and nonfiction.  It's important to know that this is not book 'editing' - what I do is actually teach you how to improve your writing.

Usually the author sends me draft chapters of their book and I give them feedback and suggestions to make the story more engaging and more salable.  Depending upon your strengths and weaknesses as a writer, some of the improvements I can help you make are:

  • Choose the right place to start your story, the best opening scene to maximize reader interest
  • Identify and eliminate 'darlings,' the scenes you may have become attached to but no longer fit in with the story
  • Increase the drama in scenes and maintain crucial narrative tension
  • Suggest places where showing might be better than telling, and vice-versa
  • Sometimes, I will rewrite short sections of dialogue or description simply to show you how I would do it and give you more options
  • (For other ways I can help, see the complete list at the very bottom of this page)
It's also important for you to know that when you hire me, I don't expect you to agree with every single suggestion I make, or change your book accordingly. I rely on you to use your own intuition and better judgement about any changes you make to your story--after all, it's your book, not mine.  I also offer some marketing/agent querying and book production services (see further below)

Pricing

Until October 1st, I'm offering discounted introductory pricing (50% off) to build a few clients back to my base.  Prices are $25 per hour (normally $50) for feedback on your novel, query letter, synopsis, etc., and $15 per every half hour (normally $30) for video chats.  Usually one hour will cover feedback for 2-3 average length chapters of a novel.  You can send me what you have and I'll stop after one hour.  One or two cycles of this process is often all some writers need to get the hang of what needs to be improved and how to go about it. One or two video chats is usually enough to cover the marketing aspects.

No Risk Guarantee
  • You don't have to pay me in advance, only after you receive my feedback or we conclude a video chat, and then, only if you feel you've gotten your money's worth.  
  • If you have any questions or are ready to engage my services, please contact me here or on one of my social networks if we're connected there.

Book Marketing Help

I can also give you advice and guidance about the various marketing aspects of your book.  Usually this is best done on a video chat (Zoom, etc.) because it requires a lot of interaction between us
  • The pros and cons of traditional versus self-publishing and which is best for you
  • Feedback your all-important one-page synopsis.  This is for query letters to literary agents/editors (traditional publishing) or for your online product page (self-publishing).
  • The crucial genre classification(s) of your book and use of keywords in your title and synopsis
  • How to locate the right literary agents and publishing house editors for your book (traditional publishing)
  • Avoiding common mistakes in querying and manuscript submission (traditional publishing)
  • Dealing with rejection (traditional publishing as well as self-publishing)
  • Specifically for self-publishing:
    • titling your novel and designing the cover
    • pricing your book and using the proven "first book free" approach
    • options for promoting your book
    • publishing options in different formats (ebook, paperback, hardback, audiobook)
    • marketing your book 'wide' versus only on Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Other Services

Feedback for improvement of an entire, completed manuscript - $1,000
"Fancy" book layout with drop caps, ornamental section breaks, etc. - $250
Technical assistance in layout uploading and and publishing a book - $400
Cover design - $500

My Writing & Teaching Credentials

  • Have published more than twenty-five novels and novellas in a variety of genres (thrillers, suspense, romance, horror, and young adult), with many becoming bestsellers
  • My work has been represented by four top NYC- and London-based literary agencies
  • PhD from Vanderbilt with twenty-five years of teaching experience at the university level
  • Taught in the University of Oxford Creative Writing Progamme from 2010-2014
  • As I said, my former mentoring & workshop clients have gone on to become bestselling authors of both fiction and nonfiction

Additional Ways I Can Help

  • Brainstorm plot twists and cliffhangers between chapters 
  • Decide whether or not to use a prologue
  • Eliminate unnecessary elements that interfere with reader engagement, such as 'chit-chat' and overblown description
  • Minimize the number of characters in your story and combine multiple characters that are doing the same plot job into one
  • Parcel out just the right amount of background information into the normal flow of the story, at the exact point the reader needs to know it
  • Identify and correct any point of view issues that might confuse the reader
  • Identify places where words 'clang' and synonyms or other ways of saying the same thing should be used
  • Identify and eliminate unnecessary repetition in your story
  • Eliminate or modify scenes or chapters that do not advance the plot
  • Write tight, character-revealing dialogue and mood-enhancing description that appeals to all five senses
  • Help you break through writer's block should you encounter it
For more information, please contact me here.

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