Query Letter and Synopsis Critiques

If you're preparing queries or synopses for an agent or publisher, I can edit and evaluate your materials and suggest improvements to increase your chances of a response. I can't guarantee you'll get representation or a publishing deal, but I can offer you insight into potential challenges or stumbling blocks in your efforts to get published.

What you can expect from my editing process:

  • For most clients, I end up rewriting and revising some portion of their query and synopsis. That said, I never consider my edits either final or perfect. Many queries and synopses require several editing rounds before we get it right.
  • This is a collaborative relationship and engagement. I work as your editor and adviser, not a writer-for-hire. I can't write in your style or voice, nor will I have the same insight as you into your characters or plot. However, I can help ensure that your query and synopsis capture the best qualities of your book. I'll need your guidance and hands-on involvement to do that.
  • I usually have questions and may require your feedback to produce the best results. Likewise, I always welcome your input and insight on what's missing or what you're hoping to achieve. If I know what concerns you, I can better address it in my edits and questions.
  • For your query and synopsis, I will correct grammar, mechanics, and spelling if needed, but I always recommend you do a final proofread before sending off your materials.
  • I will apply formatting and styling that is expected and consistent with book publishing standards.
  • I can also provide insight and advice on any legal issues raised by your project.

My goal is to help you finalize a query and synopsis that you can send to any agent or publisher, without red flags or distractions. After the editing work is finished, I'm available to answer your follow-up questions via email at no charge. You're also welcome to get in touch as questions arise during the submissions process. I want you to feel confident and less anxious as you submit your work to agents, editors, or publishers—to know that there's someone you can trust and communicate with whenever you encounter doubt or frustration. What I provide goes beyond a transaction: it's a relationship that requires communication and trust.

All consulting and editing work is performed exclusively by myself; I do not subcontract or use assistants. You will always be communicating directly with me.

My credentials: I have 20 years of experience in the book and magazine publishing industry. I'm the former publisher of Writer's Digest, and have worked or written for the Authors Guild, Virginia Quarterly Review, University of Chicago Press, Writer's Market, Digital Book World, the Alliance of Independent Authors, and Publishing Perspectives. Find out more.

The Novelist's Critique Package ($400)

For novelists, I can help you with the following submissions materials.

  • Query letter edit. I'll edit your query to emphasize the most attractive aspects of your work, and also alert you to any red flags that may prevent an editor or agent from requesting your manuscript. I've seen thousands of query letters and know what professionals look for. I can teach you how to improve your query's lead paragraph, and how to be more concise and efficient with your pitch. You'll also learn how to write your next query more effectively and without my help. We will go through as many rounds of editing as necessary until we feel the query is ready to submit.
  • Synopsis edit. Is your synopsis running too long? Are you struggling with "synopsis-speak," where your story takes on a deadening feel? I've helped hundreds of writers improve their synopsis and can help shape your synopsis to reflect the best qualities of your work, in professional and compelling language. Our goal will be to produce a 1-2 page synopsis, single spaced. As with the query, we'll go through as many rounds of editing as needed until it's ready to submit. Note: If your synopsis exceeds 2,000 words, I may not accept it for editing until you shorten it.
  • One round of feedback on your first five pages. Sometimes agents allow you to submit your first pages along with your query. I'll read your first pages and offer insight on how an agent or editor may perceive them. However, my feedback here is more related to publishing standards and expectations for your genre, and does not constitute an editorial evaluation. I do not offer feedback on revisions of your opening, and most importantly, I do not offer a hands-on edit of these pages unless there is a pattern of grammatical or stylistic errors that would cause significant concern. 
  • Click here to view an example of my work with a client.

I'm more than happy to answer via email all of your questions about the submissions process and publishing industry. While I don't offer hands-on assistance with finding the right agents or publishers for your work, I outline the process here.

To get started, please fill out the contact form below.

The Memoirist's Critique Package ($400)

If you're writing a memoir, I can help with the following submissions materials.

  • Query letter edit. I'll edit your query to emphasize the most attractive aspects of your work, and also alert you to any red flags that may prevent an editor or agent from requesting your manuscript. I've seen thousands of query letters and know what professionals look for. I can teach you how to improve your query's lead paragraph, and how to be more concise and efficient with your pitch. You'll also learn how to write your next query more effectively and without my help. We will go through as many rounds of editing as necessary until we feel the query is ready to submit.
  • Synopsis or chapter overview edit. Depending on the structure of your memoir and what submissions materials you're preparing, I'll help you with your synopsis draft or with your book proposal's chapter overview. Note: If your synopsis or overview exceeds 2,000 words, I may not accept it for editing until you shorten it.
  • One round of feedback on your first five pages. Sometimes agents allow you to submit your first pages along with your query. I'll read your first pages and offer insight on how an agent or editor may perceive them. However, my feedback here is more related to publishing standards and expectations for your genre, and does not constitute an editorial evaluation. I do not offer feedback on revisions of your opening, and most importantly, I do not offer a hands-on edit of these pages unless there is a pattern of grammatical or stylistic errors that would cause significant concern. 

I'm more than happy to answer via email all of your questions about the submissions process and publishing industry. While I don't offer hands-on assistance with finding the right agents or publishers for your work, I outline the process here.

To get started, please fill out the contact form below.

Query or Synopsis Only ($200)

Just looking for a query edit? Or only a synopsis edit? I can help, regardless of your genre/category. We will go through as many editing rounds as needed, until it's ready for submission to an agent or publisher.

Submittal Form and Payment

I will respond within approximately 1 business day to let you know I received your materials. Currently, my turnaround time for first edits is about 3 weeks. If you have trouble using this form—or have questions about this service—please email me or use my contact form.

  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: doc, docx, rtf, txt, pages.
    You may upload up to three files (query, synopsis or chapter overview, and first pages)
  • $ 0.00
  • American Express
    Discover
    MasterCard
    Visa
     
    Your payment is being made on a secure site.
caret-down caret-up caret-left caret-right

I wanted to let you know I've officially signed with Liz Winick Rubenstein! Thank you again for all your help and for being so quick to get back to me when I was clueless.

Thank you for helping me with the query that got me Chip MacGregor as an agent. Now the book, Al Shabah, is releasing. Not bad for a debut author from a small town in Lebanon. You are the best coach in the business.

My book, The Whole Pregnancy, just got a publishing deal with Skyhorse Publishing out of New York. I really found your advice helpful, so I just wanted to thank you!

Aimee Aristotelous
The query you edited earned me a request for a full read last week which resulted in an offer this week! I've secured representation with Trident Media Group.
Gale Massey
Just wanted to share the good news that my book, Running with Raven, came out today from Kensington Press. Thanks for your guidance in getting me here.

After months and months and months of querying and rejection, I sought Jane's help because I trusted her. With years of industry-experience backed by loads of market research, she helped me to root out the elements of my submission materials that agents and publishers wanted to see. Within a week of working with Jane, one of my top-choice agencies contacted me requesting pages.

Ted Wesenberg

Having been a beer-money-making self-published author, I was too familiar with the query letter rejection email. Some might say numb to the process. But with my recent manuscript, I was hellbent on flipping the script and piquing an agent's interest. Jane helped cross that off my bucket list. She was easy to work with and very responsive to our set deadlines. Her edits were easily explained and understood. It was the best money I've spent in a long while and I received my first ever positive response not 90 minutes after hitting send on a query email. The request for my first 50 pages won't put me on the Times bestseller list, but it let me know that my query letter did exactly what I needed.

Ken Harris

I worked with Jane as my editor/consultant on the query letter for my novel, as well as its synopsis. I now think of Jane as the Ferrari of editors—a true pro. She's a crisp and succinct coach, she's incredibly responsive and effective, and she's very pleasant to work with in general. She earned my trust quickly and I can't recommend her highly enough!

Rich Turgeon

Jane was an absolute pleasure to work with. She provided clear and concise insights into the world of publishing, offering invaluable knowledge, specifically pertaining to the submissions process. Jane’s professionalism and punctuality were absolutely refreshing. Working with Jane is a no-brainer for any writer looking to get published.

Greg Labe

Thank you so very much for your expertise in revising and finesse in polishing the query. It would not be the same without your input.

Linda Noble

I've reviewed the edits and believe you have done a great job. My wife (and best critic) agrees! You shortened the synopsis while preserving the critical parts.

Richard Coico

I like the changes you made. The query is 100% clearer and right to the point now. I learned a lot about writing a query letter from your lecture from the Great Courses. It prompted me to seek out your help with my query letter. I'm so glad I did, you're a genius.

Ariana Fae

I can’t thank you enough. Of all the critiques and edits I’ve had in the past—and there have been tons—your methods are the most impressive. Your work is professional and excellent.

Marlene Bell

You’re input and experienced eye has been enormously helpful in getting me out of the storyteller mode and into a pitch mode.

Stephen Foehr

I’m comfortable with your revisions and greatly appreciate your help. I will call on you for other projects. Thanks again.

Lewis Cook

Jane, thank you for everything. You made a meaningful difference in what I'm sending out. Really, your help was invaluable.

Tom King

Thanks so much for your work. Your ability to take what I sent you and turn it in to a quality query letter is simply amazing. I think writing a query is in many ways more challenging than writing the novel itself.

Stephen Terrell

Just wanted to let you know a publisher has already asked for a manuscript! Woohoo! Thanks for your help. I feel like I'm starting off on the right foot having consulted with you.

Lauren Heintz