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Why Work with Me?

"Every author needs a Jenny in their life..."

~Anna Belfrage, seven-time Historical Novel Society Editors' Choice recipient 

When I first started offering my services as an editor, there were very few independent editors specializing in historical fiction. Fast-forward a dozen years and authors have more choices. Which is a good thing. The publishing industry can always use another good editor. But there are not as many book coaches dedicated to historical fiction, and if your coach is not an expert in your genre, you may not be getting appropriate guidance.

In my opinion, historical fiction is the hardest genre to write. Not only do you have to craft a compelling story with engaging characters, but you have to do mountains of research to bring a time period to life, you have to constantly fact-check yourself, and you have to walk a fine line between having your characters stay true to their time period while also appealing to modern sensibilities. Historical fiction is my favorite genre, and I work almost exclusively with historical fiction authors.

I know the histfic community. I’m reading the new releases you’re reading. (And I may have edited a few of them. 😉) I’m crushing on the authors you’re crushing on. I’m reading their newsletters, attending the conferences (in fact, I'm currently serving as chair of the Historical Novel Society North America Conference), following market news, chatting in the same groups. My deep knowledge of the genre allows me to help my clients position their work for success in the marketplace.

Myself and members of the Chesapeake Chapter of HNS at the Portland conference

Working with me is like working with a friend. In fact, most of my clients have become my friends and have supported me and cheered me on just as much as I have supported and cheered them. While I strive to build relationships with my clients, that doesn’t mean I won’t be straightforward and honest with you. One of my treasured clients once told me I was like “an iron fist in a velvet glove.” 

My skills come from over a dozen years of experience working on hundreds of manuscripts combined with my innate ability to know what makes a good story, to know how to get to the heart of problems and how to fix them. I didn’t take a packaged course to sell a brand-name plan; I’m not going to give you workbooks or spreadsheets or a rigid program. We’re going to work together, at your pace, focusing more on the areas where you need help and less on those you don’t. It’s just you and me, working one-on-one, on whatever you need when you need it. Working with me is a more casual and personalized experience. And I guarantee you’ll always have my attention. I work with a very limited number of coaching clients at a time to ensure I can give them the support they need.

I’ve helped hundreds of authors finesse their stories into the best they can be and then polished them to perfection. But I’ve served as more than an editor. I’ve advised on outlines and character sketches, I’ve helped write book blurbs and query letters, I’ve found comp titles, I’ve designed and consulted on book covers, I’ve offered publishing and marketing advice, and I’m always there to encourage and support.

And lastly, what good is a coach if you can’t afford her? While it’s true that investing in your writing is investing in your future, working with a professional doesn’t need to break the bank. You may have researched book coaches and been shocked by their prices. So have I! I know most writers have to be budget-conscious, and I have always striven to keep my rates affordable.