Announcement: Now closed for critiques

Given the demands on my time from a number of directions, I am now closing for new critiques indefinitely. I still have several critiques I’m working on that I need to get back to the authors on; if you’re one of those people, I apologize for the wait. You will be hearing from me soon. For anyone with whom I haven’t made a payment arrangement or agreed to do a critique, I apologize that I won’t be able to assist you.

To be able to have the time I need outside of my day job to start Tu Publishing, I need to reserve my evenings after the day job for that, once I finish the critiques that are in the current queue.

If you are local to me in Utah, I plan to recontinue the seminars on writing and publishing that I have done in the past. I’ve meant to schedule another one soon, but I’ve been swamped, and haven’t been able to do so. Seminars use much less of my time than one-on-one critiques, and so I’ll be able to schedule those much more freely in the future.

If you aren’t in Utah and would like me to come to your area for a seminar on writing and publishing, please contact me at stacylwhitman AT, and we can discuss the particulars. Generally, you’ll need at least 20-30 people for a general seminar, and 10-15 people for an in-depth seminar.

My sincere thanks to all those authors with whom I’ve had the chance to work one-on-one this last year. I enjoyed reading your work, and I hope that my feedback was useful as you work toward publication.

*big sigh*

All I want to do right now is just play World of Warcraft and watch movies and pig out on food that’s really bad for me, but I’m actually going to go home and get critiques done. This week at work has been pretty scatterbrained. Weird problems kept coming up. Several things keep getting delayed because of weird errors that aren’t the norm. I kept thinking there had to be some easy explanation, some stupid mistake I was making–because it had already happened a couple times, when I would put http:// on an address that didn’t need it and didn’t work because I was doing a secure FTP instead, that kind of thing. Not realizing that I had the disc for the Norton problem I was having, and the associate editor having to ask me where the disc was when he was trying to troubleshoot the problem. Um, whoops. You know how a new job can be a little overwhelming at times!

But it turned out that the other problems that I was running into were actually real problems that the associate editor (who is our really smart all-things-computer guy to ask when it’s not a *huge* computer problem, for which we ask the actual computer guy) couldn’t solve either. I don’t know whether I feel bad about needing his time or justified that the problem was real.

At any rate, it’s been the kind of week that I just want to heave a big sigh that it’s done. Now, on to catching up on critiques for my “other life.” I really need to finish these up–some people have been waiting on me for months, which I feel awful about. Again, thanks for your patience, and I’m going home now, so at least 2 more people should hear from me tonight or tomorrow!

Tidbits–Tu Publishing, book club, critiques update

  • We’re up to almost $1000 on the Kickstarter project for Tu Publishing. Thanks so much to everyone for pledging, and please feel free to share the link with anyone who you think might be interested, even if they can only spare $5. We’re starting this through Kickstarter because it’s secure, run by a third party, and it’s a great way for me to be able to give back to the people who pledge — if you donate $10, you get a coupon for $5 off a book, and so forth. The idea is that if a lot of people pool together, artistic projects can get off the ground more easily. Tu Publishing will be a for-profit company, but we are committed to literacy for all children and young adults and will be getting involved in local and national endeavors as we grow, such as YALSA’s Teen Read Week. (If you have literacy projects to suggest involvement in, especially ones that I can volunteer for here in Utah, please feel free to let me know. I’m on the lookout, and will be getting more involved in the community once I finish up the critiques I’ve got in the queue.) If we reach our Kickstarter goal, and add to it the money from a private investor and some savings of my own, it will be enough to cover the costs of our first season’s books (author advances, small stipends for freelance, printing and shipping costs, and marketing), and it will also show a bank that we are a good investment for a small business loan going forward.
  • Our first two books will be fantasy or science fiction, and I’ll specifically be looking for books that feature characters of color, characters from minority or non-Western cultures, and/or non-Western/minority cultures. That’s pretty broad–it could be Japanese or Jamaican, Alaskan Inuit or African American settings and/or characters, and I’m not looking for books where race is necessarily the issue–just really great stories that will entertain readers from 7 to 18 (and up, if you count me and all you folks like me!). So if you’ve got a children’s or YA novel that you think will fit this criteria, if we make our Kickstarter goal I’ll be acquiring manuscripts beginning January 1. That means you’ve got just over three months to whip that manuscript in shape! I’ll be posting more specifics for our submission guidelines as that time comes closer, so keep an eye on the Tu Publishing Submission Guidelines page. As you can imagine, just as with the critiques, during this transitional period to my day job, these website changes will be coming along sporadically. I’ll post about them here as well to alert you.
  • In addition, several people have asked that instead of giving them the incentive, that I give it to their local libraries, which is completely doable. If we reach the goal, I will be contacting everyone to get their mailing information to send them their rewards. At that time, if you want me to send it to your local library instead of you, all you’d need to do is let me know their address. Full books will be sent later, of course, when the first season’s books are printed.
  • I’m hosting a book club tomorrow, where we’re going to discuss Justine Larbalestier‘s How to Ditch Your Fairy. The book is a fun read so far, but I need to finish it tonight! If you’re local and can’t make it tomorrow, feel free to go ahead and send your suggestions for what to read next month, so that we can have plenty of time to decide and prepare. If you can come tomorrow and need to know where to go (7 pm, my house), please drop me an email and I’ll give you the scoop.
  • The new job is becoming quite fun. In my off time, I’ve slowly been getting back to authors on their critiques, so thanks again to everyone for all your patience as I transition and finish up those critiques while starting a new full-time job. Now, if I can just get health insurance going, life would be just about perfect (it’s a small non-profit based in California that uses Kaiser Permanente, which means that here in Utah I’d have no coverage with that, which means that I have to get an individual policy, which is really, really complicated when you have chronic conditions like asthma). If you’ve been wondering why I twitter so much about health care, it’s because I have a personal interest in the health care crisis, seeing as how I’m having my own personal health care crisis. Hopefully, by my talking about it openly, it will put at least one face on the discussions out there–the face of a self-employed (and now employed by a small nonprofit) worker for whom taking care of something as simple as an asthma condition becomes out of the question due to the cost of health care and insurance.

Day job, change in critiques

Just to let you all know: I have found a day job. Yay for paying the bills! Freelancing is great for many things, especially the flexible schedule, but regular work is hard to come by these days.

It’s not a job with a trade publisher (I’m not going to announce here what it is, to keep those things separate), so it won’t conflict with what I’m doing in my freelance life, but what it does mean for you, however, is that I’ll be much, much slower on critiques. I’m suspending any new critiques for now so that I can catch up on the critiques I already have in the queue. I don’t think I’ll be able to take any new critiques until at least October.

I will also want to keep room open in my schedule for working on the small press (another reason this day job is a godsend–once I start taking submissions for the small press, I will be ethically obligated to discontinue paid critiques, and honestly, I’d rather move forward on having the ability to publish people, rather than just give them advice on how to get other people to publish them! 🙂 ). It’s moving forward–I’m still very much in the pre-startup phase, but I should have something to announce next week, so stay tuned.

For those of you waiting on critiques, as always, thanks for your patience. I’m getting them back to people one by one, and if you haven’t yet heard from me you should soon.

Critique pricing change, seminar deals

While my going rate for a full developmental edit is $50 an hour due to my own needs to pay the bills (based on the market rate for developmental editing ($50 is actually at the low end), what I made as an in-house editor, my years of experience, my master’s degree, and my going rate on other editorial services), I realize that most authors are in the same position I am, strapped tight for cash. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I’m going to go ahead and reduce my hourly rate on full developmental edits permanently until I no longer do critiques.

What’s that, you ask? I might be ending my critique service? Yes, but not right away. It’s definitely helping me to pay the bills (and I hope helping the authors I’m critiquing!) while I work on the number of other things I’m working on, but once I either get an in-house position or officially start looking for submissions for my small press (which won’t be agented-only submissions), I will of course be discontinuing the paid critique service for ethical reasons. Right now, I keep the critiques and the submissions for Tor separate by requiring agented-only submissions for Tor.

But until the time comes for that — which I don’t have a timeline on; I’ll definitely announce it when the time comes — I will continue to do full-manuscript developmental editing for authors at $30 an hour. The submission packet will still be a flat $50 fee because it often takes me much more than an hour to critique them.

For those who attend my seminars, I offer a discount on my critique services on full manuscripts, as well. When the going rate was $50 an hour, I was charging only $30 an hour for seminar attendees. Now that I’ve decided to lower the rate, the discount for seminar attendees will drop to $25 an hour (sorry, I can’t afford to discount it more; when you’re self-employed you can pretty much count on half of that money going to taxes, so my take-home rate is actually much, much lower than that).

So, if you decide that you need the services of a freelance editor (and that’s very much a personal decision), hopefully that will help you to better afford my services.

We’re always learning

I finally just realized today how to fix a problem that some people can’t see my comments in the margins for my critiques because of platform problems or not having Word: I will start saving my crititques with the Track Changes and comments as PDFs! Why didn’t I think of this earlier?

So if you don’t have Word and are either waiting on an edit from me or will be asking me for a critique in the future, make sure to tell me to save your manuscript as a PDF when I return it. You’ll be able to see the comments (and print them out if you like) and not have to worry about trying to get to see it on a computer with Word or have me try to copy and paste all the comments into a separate file, which is time-consuming and confusing (the nice thing about Track Changes in Word is that when you add a comment, it references the place you’re referring to).

It’s a simple solution to a complicated problem. I love it when it finally comes together, but I do wish I could go back and fix some critiques from the past months. Speaking of which, if you got a critique from me in the past and don’t have Word, you likely didn’t get my full comments (and I didn’t even realize this was a problem until someone recently spoke up about it). I have a file of everything I’ve ever critiqued (I don’t delete the files once I send them to authors, in case something comes up later that I’ll want to reference), so if you’d like me to send you a PDF so you can be sure to get the full value of the critique, I’d be glad to send it along.

Critiques update/other news

If you’re waiting on me for a full manuscript critique, I’m hoping to get back to several people this week as I finish up loose ends on a number of projects, and even more loose ends on several short projects. If you don’t hear back from me on your full manuscript this week (those of you who I’ve said I will get back to this week will hear from me, no worries), you will probably get feedback next week.

In other news, this week is BYU’s Writing for Young Readers conference. I’m not involved with it this year, but I’ve heard a lot of excited chatter from people who will be attending, so I hope those who do go will have fun and learn a lot from people like Tracy and Laura Hickman and Greenwillow editor Martha Mihalick.

The weather has been so beautifully mild for the last few weeks, I’m wondering if I brought Seattle weather with me, as I always do when I travel to Utah. I thought that trend would end with me moving here, but perhaps not!

I am off to get back to work on the edits I owe several writers, so have a good week!

Extending my personal economic stimulus plan

Looking at the subject, that could be interpreted a couple different ways. 😀 But what I mean today is that I’ve decided that with the way the economy is currently headed, it might be best for me to continue to offer individual authors a discount on my hourly rate for full-manuscript developmental edits. I think it helps out all of you who I’m working with to be able to afford an editor’s help if you feel you need it, and it helps out me as I’m working on the next stage of this transition in my career. If you’re interested in getting a critique, check out the details on my website. The $50 fee for a 3-chapter/cover letter critique will remain the same, however, because I already usually end up spending more than one hour on each of those.

Speaking of that, time management is one of my biggest challenges as a freelancer. I love giving detailed feedback to everyone that I work with, and try to do the best job possible for each and every project. So sometimes I end up spending entirely too much time on a project. If you’re curious how I manage that, one incentive that I give myself is capping the amount I’ll charge on a full manuscript at a certain number of hours. I give each author an estimate based on the word count of the novel and a sample (either one that I’ve already seen via the submission packet critique, or one that the author sends for me to glance over as I decide whether to take on a project). I will give a range of hours (for example, something like 20-25 hours) and then give a dollar estimate based on my hourly rate. While I may (miraculously) come under the estimate, and charge less accordingly, my policy is to cap the total at whatever the high end of my quote was.

So, if that helps reassure anyone worried that perhaps an edit of your book might take more time than originally estimated, and that you may be required to pay more than you’ve budgeted, believe me, I know how you feel. This is my way of making sure that your costs and my time are kept in check.

Manuscript critique discount

We’re all dealing with tough times right now. Getting your manuscript critiqued by an experienced editor is definitely a luxury, and an expensive one at that.

With that in mind, I’m offering a discount for the next month (expires March 11) on my manuscript critique services. Critiques of submission packets (first three chapters and query/cover letter) will still be a flat $50 fee, but if you decide to have your full manuscript critiqued, I am knocking down my hourly rate from $50 an hour to $30–which for a full manuscript would involve a substantial savings.

So if you’ve been thinking about having me look at your manuscript, but couldn’t quite fit it into your budget, perhaps this may help you fit it in. Email me to discuss particulars at stacylwhitman AT

Bio and Author Recommendations

Stacy Whitman specializes in fantasy and science fiction for children and young adults, and related genres. She spent three years as an editor for Mirrorstone, the children’s and young adult imprint of Wizards of the Coast in Seattle. She holds a master’s degree in children’s literature from Simmons College. Before that, she edited elementary school textbooks at Houghton Mifflin and interned at the Horn Book, as well as a brief stint as a bookseller. Stacy edited such favorite fantasy titles for children and young adults as the highly acclaimed YA series Hallowmere, the middle grade fantasy adventure series that debuted with Red Dragon Codex, and The New York Times best-selling picture book A Practical Guide to Monsters.


Stacy provides all phases of editorial services to publishers, including developmental editing, line editing, copyediting, and proofreading. Contact her at stacylwhitman AT gmail DOT com to discuss projects.


Stacy’s middle grade and young adult novel critique and editorial services for individual writers come in two sizes:


·         Critique of the cover letter/query and first three chapters from your finished manuscript, giving an editor’s point of view on the strengths of the first impression. Service includes comments on her impressions of the story from the first three chapters and how the beginning hooks the editor, including suggestions for improvement. This usually takes about an hour of her time.

·         Developmental edit of the full manuscript, including an editorial letter to suggest improvements in plot, character, pacing, voice, audience, and any other areas in need of improvement. Comments will also be noted in the manuscript itself. The time this takes varies from manuscript to manuscript. Email to discuss particulars.



The cost of these services are based on her rate of $50 an hour, with a minimum of one hour. Contact her at stacylwhitman AT gmail DOT com to discuss your project.


Special discount For returning clients who want a full developmental edit, a $50 discount off the cost of the edit. Ask me for more information.


****Individual consults on queries, chapters, and manuscripts are for manuscripts that are already finished. If you have more general questions, I’m always glad to answer them here on the blog as time permits, but for questions specific to your manuscript, you’ll get the most out of my advice if you’ve finished your book first. Note that this specific advice is a paid service, but if you have a general question that would be of use to
all blog readers, by all means ask away and I’ll post an answer for all to see.




“Stacy was my very first editor, and I really couldn’t have asked for a better person to induct me into the world of publishing. It felt more like the book was a collaboration of ours rather than a tug-of-war as can so often be the case. I’ll always be grateful for her nurturing honesty and excellent editorial eye.”

—Tiffany Trent

In the Serpent’s Coils

By Venom’s Sweet Sting

Between Golden Jaws


“I highly recommend Stacy. She’s a pro you can count on for good, solid advice, and she’ll help you bring out the best in your manuscript.”

—Printz Honor author Amanda M. Jenkins

Queen of the Masquerade

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“Stacy Whitman not only has a keen eye for editing, but has a deep understanding of the children’s market. I know this for a fact, since she was instrumental in helping me sell my first children’s book.”

—Brandon Sanderson


Mistborn trilogy

Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians

Wheel of Time: A Memory of Light (with Robert Jordan)

“Stacy was my first editor, and I feel very lucky to have worked with someone who understands my writing so well. She has a knack for seeing the true story inside a manuscript and helping an author bring that story up to its highest potential. She is a great communicator, and is positive and enthusiastic to work with. I am grateful that I got to work with her and hope to continue to work with her far into the future.”

—Rebecca Shelley, writing as R.D. Henham

Red Dragon Codex

Brass Dragon Codex



“Stacy’s editorial work on my book was nothing short of brilliant, and I have no doubt whatsoever it never would’ve reached publication without her. I’ll forever be in her debt.”

—James Dashner

The Maze Runner

The 13th Reality



“As an editor, Stacy has a clear vision of the potential of a story and its characters as well as the talent to bring out the best in a writer. She is committed to her writers, her advice is open for discussion, and she has an intuitive feel for where the writer wants to go with the story. I enjoyed working with her and hope to do so again in the future.”

—Angelika Ranger

Maiden of the Wolf


“Stacy Whitman is an excellent editor. Her feedback is invaluable, and her ability to look at a book both as a whole and as individual scenes is exceptional. She places each moment in the manuscript within the overall plot, and her commentary not only helps the moment; it does wonders for the whole. She’s enthusiastic, easy to work with, and brings a great deal to any project she works on. I’m grateful for the times I’ve worked with her, and look forward to doing so often in the future!”

ee Soesbee

Black Dragon Codex

The Elidor Trilogy

Elements Trilogy


“The best friend a manuscript ever had is a good editor. If you’re like me, you can get too close to the material to see where you’ve missed things. I worked with Stacy on Wizard’s Return, my third YA book for Mirrorstone. She worked with me to fill in some gaps in the character arcs and to focus the story as a whole. I can say without reservation that she made it easy for me to take my work from good to great. Stacy is easy to work with, throughly professional, and highly skilled. Your manuscript deserves her as its editor.”

—Dan Willis

Wizard’s Return

Dragon Well

Dragon Spell


“Stacy was the first editor I ever worked with and I now consider myself spoiled for future books. She kept a perfect balance between criticism and praise, and I improved greatly as a writer because of her comments. She was always available when I had questions about everything from basic plot to author appearances. Bronze Dragon Codex would not be the book that it is without her, and I can never thank her enough.”


—Amie Rose Rotruck < /p>

Bronze Dragon Codex