Welcome! Chelsea is a Pitch Wars mentor this year! To focus her attentions on the contest, she is temporarily closing to new projects.
Chelsea provides professional editing services for writers in all-stages of publication. Whether you’re preparing to query agents or seeking an editor before you self-publish, Chelsea provides thoughtful and detailed feedback to help you level up your manuscript. Though she specializes in Young Adult fiction, other categories will be considered for large services (developmental and line edits) on a case-by-case basis. For critiques of synopses, queries, sample pages, and submission packages, all age categories will be accepted.
Chelsea holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and has been evaluating writers’ work since college, beginning with The Missouri Review. Since then, she’s interned for The University of Missouri press, a literary agent, and is currently an editorial intern with Page Street Publishing. This past year she was a YA mentor in Pitch Wars 2018, and her mentee, Tina Chan, is now represented by Karly Caserza and Laurie McLean at Fuse Literary.
As a writer herself, Chelsea considers revision to be her favorite part of the writing process, and is always excited to put that enthusiasm to work for writers. Whether you’re looking for big picture feedback, in-depth line edits, or some help pulling together a standout submission package, Chelsea can help you further develop your skills and enhance your work!
This includes in-depth notes, including line edits, for clarity and formatting. This includes two passes.
Additional passes are $10 each.
Includes in-depth edits, including line edits, to ensure clarity. I’ll work with you to tighten up your synopsis until we get to that ideal single page that accurately reflects your manuscript. This includes two passes.
$45 for 2-page synopses. There may be an additional fee for longer synopses.
Additional passes are $15.
Sample Page Critique
Includes a mini edit letter (1-3 pages) discussing strengths and areas of improvement, evaluating plot, pacing, character, world building, etc.
$70 for first three chapters (up to 30 pages). There may be an additional fee for samples longer than 30 pages.
Includes a Query Critique, Synopsis Critique, and Sample Page Critique. Great if you’re planning on querying agents and want to ensure all three components are ready.
This includes an edit letter (about 4-7 pages) outlining your manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses. I’ll address plot, pacing, character development, worldbuilding, etc. This is a good option if your manuscript is a first or second draft and you’re looking for somewhere to start in your revisions but aren’t yet ready to get into the nitty-gritty of small scale issues.
Includes in-depth edits, looking at your work line-by-line, focusing on clarity, overused words, clunky sentences, misused punctuation, repetition, etc, to ensure a smoother and more rhythmic manuscript. Using Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature, I’ll leave comments and point out and correct problem areas. This option is best for writers who have already put their manuscript through several rounds of developmental edits and are reasonably sure the big picture elements are working. Though I’ll make note of any developmental issues I notice, they won’t be my main focus so it’s possible some may be missed.
Working with Chelsea as my mentor in Pitch Wars 2018 was such an honor and amazing experience. Not only did Chelsea offer inline suggestions, she helped me dig into my characters, plot, and world building, making sure each word counted. I know my plot is 1000% tighter and my character relationships more fleshed out, thanks to her. Though Chelsea will offer suggestions, opinions, and guidance, she will never try to write the story *for you*—in other words, she doesn’t “overwrite” the author’s voice, but rather enhances it and brings it to its full potential—and that is such a precious talent. Chelsea didn’t simply edit my MS, she helped develop my abilities as a writer, leaving me with new skills that I will carry on into future works. 13/10 would definitely recommend!
Tina Chan, Pitch Wars 2018 mentee
What’s your editing style?
Straight to the point. I’ll tell you what’s working in your manuscript, but I’d rather focus my energy–and yours–on the places that need the most attention. That being said, the point of feedback is to improve your work, not tear it (or you) apart, and my notes are focused not on everything wrong with your work but how to make it as good as it can be. When pointing out flaws, I’ll also suggest solutions and ask lots of questions to get you brainstorming and thinking critically. If you want to see if my editing style will work for you, you can book me for a free sample critique that will evaluate the first three pages of your project.
Do you only work on YA projects?
For developmental and line edits I currently only accept YA. For all other services, I accept all age categories.
I have a request that doesn’t seem to meet any of your services. Can I still work with you?
In the Contact form, describe your project and what kind of editing you’re looking for, and I’ll provide you with a quote for pricing. If I don’t think I can help, I’ll try to recommend someone who can.
How do I pay?
Via Paypal. You’ll get an invoice when I confirm your booking. For small services, payment is required upfront. For large services, you’ll pay in two installments: once I’ve confirmed your spot on my calendar and before delivery of your edits. For large services booked more than 14 days in advance, I require a nonrefundable 10% deposit to hold your place on my calendar. This deposit is part of the total cost for your chosen service, not in addition to it. In other words, you pay 10% upon confirmation of your booking, and the rest in two installments.
What’s your turnaround time?
Small critiques (query, synopsis, sample pages) will be returned within one week. Large critiques (developmental edits, line edits, sub packages) will be returned within three weeks. If you’re working toward a deadline, I can prioritize your work for a rush fee.
What’s your cancellation policy?
Smaller services (query and synopsis critiques, sample page edits) are fully refundable up until the date I begin working on them, and all services are nonrefundable once I’ve begun working. If you’ve booked a large service more than 14 days in advance, your 10% deposit is nonrefundable. In any case, let me know ASAP if you need to cancel or postpone, and I am happy to work out an arrangement with you.
How should I format my materials?
Materials should be sent as .doc or .docx files with your name and project title in the file name (so it doesn’t get lost on my devices). Documents should use 12-point Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins and be double-spaced, except for a synopsis, which should be single-spaced.
Can you guarantee I’ll get an agent/publisher and become the Next Big Thing?
I can only guarantee honest and experienced feedback. Publishing is a subjective business and lots of things are out of yours, and my, control. What I can do is help you polish your manuscript until it shines and help you realize its full potential. The insight I offer will not only help your current project but also improve your craft as a storyteller and writer so you can put it into practice on future projects, too.
Ready to book or just want some more information? You can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form below, and I’ll be in touch within two business days.
I’m back for another round of Pitch Wars! If you’re not familiar with Pitch Wars, it’s a mentoring program in which unagented authors submit a finished manuscript and are mentored by agented authors and publishing professionals to revise and get it ready for an agent showcase. Last year I mentored Tina Chan (penname T.A Chan) and helped her revise her YA manuscript The Celestial Seas. During the agent showcase, she got 17 requests and is now represented by Karly Caserza and Laurie McLean at Fuse Literary. Now I’m back to do it all over again!
Like last year, I’m mentoring YA so if you’re a middle grade or adult writer, you’re in the wrong place. But if your manuscript is New Adult, I am open to considering it! But do keep in mind that, with me, I’ll probably ask you to age it down.
With that little bit of housekeeping out of the way, onward!
A little about me: By day, I’m Kids’ Lead at my local B&N so I spend a lot of time immersed in kidlit. By night (and evening, and afternoon, and early morning, and randomly in the middle of the day), I’m a freelance editor. Previously I was an editorial intern at Page Street Publishing where I (among other things) read submissions and wrote reader reports for their awesome YA editors. I worked on books like The Bone Charmer, Affair of Poisons, and the upcoming The Night Spinner and The Bone Thief. (All of which are amazing, and you should definitely read). Before that I did a similar job as an agency intern, reading and evaluating submissions from querying writers like you. So I’ve spent almost three years looking at the work of agented and unagented writers, evaluating it, and brainstorming ways to strengthen it so I’ve read a lot of manuscripts, pitches, and queries, and I know a lot about what works and what doesn’t. Other fun facts: I’m a makeup/skincare junkie, a card-carrying member of the Beyhive, and a Golden Girls superfan (Dorothy Zbornak is me). I’ve got a sweet dog named Chloe, and right now I’m really into Dungeons & Dragons (Rogues are the best class!).
Now onto the good stuff!
This year I’m looking for:
Fantasy. I’m looking for all fantasy, but particularly contemporary (i.e fantasy that takes place in the real world). I really enjoy the work of N. K Jemisin, Leigh Bardugo, Naomi Novik, Robin LaFevers, Susan Dennard, and a couple other fantasy favorites are We Set the Dark on Fire, The Lumatere Chronicles, The Belles. and Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. A long, long time ago I was super into Laurie Faria Stolarz’s Blue Is For Nightmares series, and I’d love to find something like that. Or featuring witches in general. Bonus points if other supernatural creatures are involved.
Science-fiction. I’d especially like to find something with strong afrofuturist threads. I’d really like to find something that deals with fringe science or really wild, trippy contagions of some sort, but it’s very open for me here. I This year I really enjoyed Wilder Girls and Neal Shusterman’s Scythe is one of my all-time favorites.
Thrillers and mysteries. I’d love to find a fantasy with a strong mystery component, but I’m also partial to contemporary thrillers and mysteries. I’m a big fan of dark, psychologically twisty stories (think Tana French, Courtney Summers) and I enjoy a good whodunit (like the work of Karen McManus). I’ve also enjoyed Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson, A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro and The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
Across all these genres, this are other things I’d like to see:
- Ensemble casts
- Thieves, con artists, and other dishonest types. I’m very into heists!
- Girls, girls, girls. Girl gangs, girls as rivals, girls as besties, girls. Just doing stuff. All the stuff.
- Young people wielding their political power, striving to find political power, etc. This is a big one for me, and I’d love to work on something like this this time around!
- I’m also very interested in mentoring a writer from a marginalized background, whether or not the manuscript features characters who share the marginalization.
This is not an exhaustive list! And I’m sure there are things I’ve forgotten about or don’t even know I’d absolutely love but would definitely. So if you think I’d like your book, consider sending it to me. But only as long as it doesn’t fall onto my next list, of things I’m not a great fit for.
- Straight contemporary. I’m looking for things with either a fantasy/sci-fi component or featuring thrillers and mysteries. I’m not great for anything that’s lacking these things. (The same goes for historical. Things like Dread Nation, Stalking Jack the Ripper, or The Diviners by Libba Bray are good for me, things like The Book Thief are not.)
- I’m a hard sell on male protagonists, though this is cool if they’re in an ensemble cast or dual POV (shared with female characters). This isn’t to say I wouldn’t fall in love with a manuscript that has one (it’s been known to happen), but it’s rare.
- Romance as a subplot is great (though right now, I feel myself being drawn to things that don’t feature a romance in the typical ways—I’m intrigued by already established relationships or no romance at all) but if romance is a central part of your book, I’m not the best fit for it.
- Horror. I can do a little bit of this but not too much because I’m a wimp.
- I’m not into angels/demons, fae, or elves.
- Also, because of projects I’m currently working on, nothing with elemental magic or with immortal creatures/people.
- Portal fantasy. I’m just not super into it.
- Anything with racists or Nazis or previously racist/prejudiced people realizing how wrong they’ve been.
If you’re still here and curious about my mentoring style, here’s what you should know:
I’m straight to the point and very honest. I won’t sugarcoat, but I’m not harsh. I’ll definitely tell you all the things I love about your book (and if I’m picking you as my mentee, it will be because I love it), but my focus is on whatever needs work.
My suggestions are just suggestions, and I’m here to guide my mentee through their revision, whether that means they implement all my ideas or not. I’m more interested in encouraging my mentee to think critically about their own work, and helping them brainstorm solutions they love.
Revision is my favorite part of the writing process so, though you don’t have to love it like I do, I’m looking for a mentee who’s enthusiastic about leveling up their manuscript and ready to work hard with me. If you think your manuscript is ready for the agent showcase today, I’m not the mentor for you. That being said, I’m looking for a mentee who knows their vision and is ready to do whatever has to be done to make it happen. Some of my suggestions may be extensive so I’m looking for someone who isn’t afraid to take the plunge and potentially rewrite huge chunks of their book whether it be half or the entire thing. Last year Tina essentially rewrote her entire book, and it was better for it, but it was definitely an undertaking so you shouldn’t submit to me if you’re not eager to work.
I’m good at pointing out big picture stuff (like tightening up plot, ramping up tension and conflict, and strengthening character arcs) and at the tinier details (if you say your MC is afraid of snakes in the first chapter and then they’re chilling with a rattlesnake two-hundred pages later, I’m going to notice). I’m also really, really good at cutting and trimming word counts whether it be through finding and eliminating filler words or whole filler scenes.
My mentee and I will do at least three rounds of edits. I’m very communicative and responsive to emails, DMs, and text messages (my phone or my laptop are almost always nearby) so I’m only a ping away when you need something (to run a new idea by me, to ask for clarification on a note, etc).
Even after the agent showcase, my relationship with my mentee is still going to be kicking (as long as they want it to of course), and I’m going to be following their book and their career forever, through signing with an agent to going on submission, and through the road to publication and on and on and on and on the sands of the hourglass, etc so be ready for that.
Don’t hesitate to ask me questions about my wishlist (you can most easily reach me on Twitter), I’ll answer everything as I see it.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading and good luck!
Pitch Wars 2019 Young Adult Mentors’ Wish Lists
- Aiden Thomas (Accepts NA)
- Kelsey Rodkey and Rachel Lynn Solomon
- Nancy Werlin
- Olivia Hinebaugh
- Abigail Johnson
- Rebecca Schaeffer
- Rebecca Coffindaffer (Accepts NA)
- Laurie Dennison
- Sam Taylor
- ST Sterlings (Accepts NA)
- Brenda Drake and Kyle T. Cowan (Accepts NA)
- Carrie Allen and Sabrina Lotfi
- J. Elle
- Andrea Contos (Accepts NA)
- Raquel Vasquez Gilliland and Sandra Proudman (Accepts NA)
- Ayana Gray (Accepts NA)
- Susan Lee and Auriane Desombre
- Julia Ember (Accepts NA)
- SA Patel
- Kat Dunn (Accepts NA)
- Sonia Hartl and Annette Christie
- Jesse Q. Sutanto
- Ray Stoeve
- Aty S. Behsam and Kylie Schachte
- Cole Nagamatsu
- Rachel Griffin
- Adalyn Grace
- Adrienne Tooley and Kelly Quindlen (Accepts NA)
- Ciannon Smart and Deborah Falaye
- Kristin Lambert, Sasha Peyton Smith
- Kimberly Gabriel and Dawn Ius
- Lyndsay Ely
- Jamie Howard
- Jenna Lincoln (Accepts NA)
- Jen Marie Hawkins and Anna Birch (Accepts NA)
- Judy I. Lin
- Leila Siddiqui
- Zach Hines (Accepts NA)
- Hoda Agharazi
- Michaela Greer (Accepts NA)
- Liz Lawson and Jeff Bishop (Accepts NA)
- Lindsey Frydman (Accepts NA)
- Chelsea Hensley (Accepts NA)
- Isabel Ibañez