Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can anybody be a writer?

A: Anybody who writes is a writer. Few of us have learned to practice writing as an art form. That is, to use the “secrets” of craftsmanship to achieve a particular effect–to inspire, persuade, 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 is probably no. Just as, if you had just started taking tennis lessons, you wouldn’t try to qualify for Wimbledon. 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. Also, remember that the publishing industry is changing incredibly fast. Many well-known authors are now choosing indie publishing (what used to be called self publishing), because they can make more money and publish faster. There are lots of other formats besides the traditional book offered in a brick and mortar bookstore.

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. That’s basically where my role ends. I can lead you to resources but I can not find you an agent or a publisher.

Q: I’m in California! How will you work with me?

A: I hold conferences either in-person or by telephone–when we’re getting started. Geography permitting, we can discuss your work, your writing process, and my suggestions 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). Once we’re into the process–you’re sending me work and I’m critiquing it and sending you edits and comments–we can often work by email with occasional phone or in-person check-ins.

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 with comments and a written report of what’s working well and any suggestions I have for improvement. My comments will cover structure, characterization, clarity, 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. If you want me to make major editorial decisions and change your writing, we can discuss that.

Q. What if I just want to write for myself and/or my family? Will you work with me?

A. Absolutely. I love working with people who want to explore their lives on the page but have no great desire for publication. I offer targeted prompts, suggested readings, and constructive critiques.

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.

Q. How do we get started?

A. After an email exchange, I offer a free 15-minute introductory phone conversation.