Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can anybody be a writer?
A: Absolutely! Anybody who writes is a writer. Few of us have learned to practice writing as an artform. That is, to use the “secrets” of craftsmanship to achieve a particular effect–to inspire, pursuade, entertain.
Many of us have to unlearn much of what we were taught in school.
Q: Can anybody get published?
A: Yes and no. The first thing you must ask is, am I ready to seek publication. If you’ve just started to write, the answer may be no. Just as, if you had just had some tennis lessons, you probably wouldn’t try to enter Wimbledon just yet. Beware the tendency to rush things. If you’re just learning the craft (and your work will show it!) no amount of storming the gates will get you published. But once you’ve taken some time to pay your dues, your chances for publication are good.
Q: Will you help me find an agent or editor?
A: If you skipped right to this one, please read the previous answer. Otherwise, let me observe that my role is to help you get to the point where an agent or editor will be genuinely interested in your writing. Believe me, that’s the only way it happens. “Knowing somebody” may get you read, but it won’t get you published. Have patience, take some time to learn your craft, and publication will happen as a matter of course.
Q: I’m in California! How will you work with me?
A: I hold conferences either in-person or by telephone–and find both methods equally effective. Geography permitting, we can discuss your work, your writing process, and my suggestons face-to-face. Normally, I hold in-person meetings in my home (if we meet at your house or office, there is an additional fee for my travel time).
Q: Will I need any special computer software?
A: Yes. I use email and email attachments extensively.I ask all clients to submit their work by email, in the form of a Microsoft Word document file attachment. I do my reading and commenting on the computer, so it’s vital for my clients and me to be on the same word processing platform. Since I use Word’s commenting feature to deliver my critiques and suggestions, clients must be using a current (updated) version of Word. Otherwise, when I return your file with full comments, they may be invisible to you.
Q: Can you edit my manuscript?
A: I will read your manuscript and provide you a written report of what’s working well and any suggestions I have for improvement. My comments will cover structure, characterization, plot, pacing, voice, and language. I will read book-length manuscripts, essays, and articles, and will include concrete examples to illustrate what I’m commenting on. My fee covers a 15-minute telephone call during which I’ll answer your questions about the critique.
Q: What do you charge?
A: I base my overall fees on a standard rate of $100 per hour, for coaching, critiquing, and editing. In special cases, limited financial aid may be available.