Are you a serious writer looking for a careful, devoted reading and critique of your manuscript? Our manuscript critique service features two senior editor-writers with many years’ experience in both writing and editing books of all kinds. Our specialties: novels (adult, young adult and children’s), memoirs, short story collections, essay collections, general nonfiction, mysteries, thrillers and noir.
1) an extremely careful reading, followed by 2) a summary critique letter, usually 3-5 pages, detailing the editor’s overall sense of your work and what sort of revisions would make it the best possible manuscript.
$600 for a book-length work of up to 60,000 words.
$800 up to 80,000 words.
$1000 for 80,000-100,000 words.
Line-editing and margin notes are also available for an additional charge of $60/hour.
“Brad Zellar is a writer capable of conjuring character, situations and images that shift fluidly between the painful and the hilarious, always in a way that gives me a jolt of recognition. I love so many of his stories. I treasure his opinions on literature, on music, and on film. As for his editorial skills, the fact is that my graphic memoir Stitches would not exist if it were not for Mr. Zellar. He recognized in me an ability and a strength that I thought I didn’t possess. He took me (figuratively, of course) by the collar, stared me in the eye, bared a single glistening fang, and dared me to write and draw what turned out to be the book of my life.”
- David Small, Caldecott Award winner and author of Stitches (W.W. Norton, 2009), which Kirkus Reviews, in a starred review, called “Emotionally raw, artistically compelling and psychologically devastating graphic memoir of childhood trauma. . . . Graphic narrative at its most cathartic.”
“Brad Zellar is as precise and economical an editor as he is a writer. He read my novel, The End of Baseball, helped me to see and, more importantly, understand, its strengths and weaknesses - without excessively finagling with the plot. If you want a professional who can help make your prose clean and your characters real, Brad Zellar is your man.”
- Peter Schilling, author of The End of Baseball (Ivan R. Dee, 2008) which the Baltimore Sun called “the best baseball novel so far this century.”
Brad Zellar started editing my magazine work when I was a young writer, early in my career, and I’ve found that his editing makes for my favorite clips. At first shake, his approach struck me as minimalist: He never subverted the writer’s voice and always approached the copy with respect. However, he took care to smooth rough edges and add queries where he felt the writing went dead or lacked clarity. Best of all, he never took the lazy approach of simply writing over my weaknesses, but instead pushed me to make the work my own, only more mine than before and something that still makes me immensely proud. Which is to say nothing of Zellar’s skills as a writer! A master of tone, he writes likable characters with the power to elicit a great range of responses–everything from heartbreak to full-throttle belly laughs. What’s more, his work has qualities of tenderness and humility, with prose so beautiful as to make the reader blossom (or melt).
- Christy DeSmith, senior editor at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine as well as a feature writer whose work has appeared in publications such as Star Tribune, BUST, and Print.
“Thank you for introducing me to Mr. Zellar. When I first read his critique, it was evident he knew exactly what I was trying to do, and say, in my novel. I knew before I went into the critique that I had major issues with a certain area of the manuscript. Mr. Zellar immediately noticed and identified the problem. Through his critique and our subsequent conversation, I came up with a great solution to my problem! What’s funny is that I had strayed far from the course, and he led me back to where I originally began. His advice is invaluable.” - M. Longstreth
“I have worked with Mr. Zellar for almost one year now. In that time, he has edited and made suggestions for revising seven of my short stories and a novel manuscript. He reads everything at least three times, comparing notes he makes with each reading so that his final review is particularly well thought-out and consistent. For some of my shorter pieces he recommended very little change, and for others major reorganization–in other words, he doesn’t use a script. The scope of his editing services has included suggestions for reading certain novels and short stories to help me understand a suggestion, e.g., a subtle change in a narrator’s voice. I wouldn’t think of sending out a submission of any kind without the advantage of his remarkable critical eye. Please feel free to contact me with any questions (contact info available upon request). - Donna Trump
Payment (via Paypal or personal check): Two-thirds upon manuscript acceptance and the last third upon completion of the edit. Turnaround time is approximately three weeks, often sooner. For more information, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may send your work as a Word or WordPerfect attachment.