Writing Coach & Critique Partnerships

I work with first time writers, others with a complete manuscript who are ready to start their search for agents or editors, and already published authors who need an objective, critical eye on their work. I mentor both writers of literature for children as well as those writing for the adult market. I am not the best person to help you with a picture book manuscript, but I can point you in the direction to others who are far more expert at that than I am.

My goal is to provide clarity, an unbiased, professional view of your work, and an understanding how changes to your manuscript will positively impact the story and marketability of your work. I am a support system during the often arduous process of writing a novel, and to cheer you on and help you focus on what needs to happen to make every single word count. I am a passionate wordsmith and will help you work through the kinks to get your story spit-polished and irresistible.


Quick Look

One to two readings of the critical first 20 pages of your manuscript (double spaced, one-inch margins, properly formatted). These pages set the groundwork for everything else that is to come, and this is where you risk losing a reader. You will receive a two page evaluation of your opening image focusing on grounding, voice, character connection, pacing, scene structure, passive writing, showing and info-dumps. Additionally, I will write comments on your manuscript to show the weak spots and give examples of how to fix them and then recommend next steps. This can generally be completed within a week of submission and payment and is followed by a 30 minute phone or zoom consult with suggested reading materials. $195.00 

Overview Read

One to two readings of up to 68,000 words followed by a very thorough three to five page editorial letter focusing on big picture issues including plot, character development, pacing, and some notations on language. Includes some comments within the manuscript itself to be sure the author is clear on what my written notes mean and to show examples of how to fix weak areas.  We will schedule a 30 – 40 minute follow-up phone call or Zoom to discuss, answer questions, clarify, and talk about next steps. Additional pages $5/page. Depending on my schedule and how full I am, this can typically be done within ten days of receiving manuscript and payment. $695.00

Deep Dive

One to two readings of your manuscript up to 68,000 words. In addition to the plot structure, character development, pacing and voice, we will take a closer, more critical look at sentence structure, passive writing, plot devices, chapter length, word count, and dialogue fixes. You will receive a five to ten page editorial letter and up to fifty pages of your manuscript with line edits and detailed suggestions to point out repeat problem areas such as info-dumping, overuse of words/phrases, places where the voice drops, character inconsistencies, timeline flaws, point of view discrepancies, and places where you can tweak to enhance the writing. We will schedule a 60- 75 minute follow-up phone call or Zoom to discuss the notes, answer questions, clarify, and talk about next steps. Additional pages $5/page. Depending on my schedule this can typically be completed within two to three weeks of receiving your manuscript and payment. $1100.00

Query Diagnostics

Writing a good, solid query letter is not the time to let your guard down when preparing to submit your book to agents/editors. It is your story’s introduction to the people who can change the course of your career and deserves every bit of heart and soul as what you put into your manuscript. I will read and critique your query letter along with a two paragraph summary of your story and help you get it spit, polished and shiny. Follow up with a 20-30 minute Zoom or phone call to discuss.  $225.00

Long Term Mentoring

Sometimes we all need someone to keep us accountable and on track of our writing goals, including when we get our work to the scary part of submitting to agents or editors. It’s a lifeline to be connected with an author who has already been through the writing and publication process, who can hold your hand, give guidance, and challenge you when you feel like quitting (which we all experience from time to time). If this is you, if you thrive by having a reasonable number of pages of new or revised writing to turn in on a monthly basis, along with bi-weekly or monthly virtual or phone meetings to discuss ideas, changes, areas that need work, researching agents and editors, writing a dynamite query letter, or celebrating on your journey, reach out to me and we’ll come up with a monthly plan that works with your schedule and budget. We’ll walk the path together from concept to publication, or anywhere in between in the way that makes the most sense to you.

Nanci Steveson has a unique gift of being able to write with soul and teach with an equal passion. I’ve been deeply moved by her books. They entertain, but do so much more—helping children (and adults) triumph over issues like cancer, anorexia, divided families, and homelessness. But her ability to teach what she practices is just as extraordinary. I’ve taken courses on writing Middle Grade and Young Adult novels that were instructive. Hers are transformative. Moreover, she is incredibly generous in offering help and encouragement. I can’t recommend her highly enough.” —Belden C. Lane, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University

Nanci is a warm, enthusiastic teacher who encourages student participation and uses clear, concise examples to model the concepts she teaches. She offers concrete advice on conquering the often daunting task of revision, and she is open to questions and helping new writers find their way. I thoroughly enjoyed her class and would definitely study with her again!” —Erin Golden, Creative Writing Instructor Texas Christian University

Discounts & Additional Work:

Teenage writers receive a substantial discount at any stage of their progress. Please contact me for more details.

Packages can be combined up front for a 10% discount.

Additional work is billed at $65.00 per hour.

Discount for writers who I have critiqued through writers conferences, or have attended one of my craft workshops.

Feel free to reach out with any questions.