If you have a story idea and you’re not quite sure how to move forward, or if you’ve finished your novel and you’re not sure how to take it to the next level, you’ve come to the right place.

I offer the following editorial services for writers. If one of the below is a good fit for you and your work, I look forward to hearing from you!

***I am booked through 2021 and accepting new mentees for 2022***

Manuscript Consultation:

You have a complete manuscript ready for feedback. First of all, congratulations!

Here’s what I can offer you:

  • I will read your entire novel and thoughtfully prepare feedback to help this story take its strongest form.
  • I will email you a comprehensive letter addressing strengths as well as areas for improvement. Depending on your manuscript’s needs, I will focus on any or all of the following: structure, character development, theme, point of view, and pacing.
  • I will make comments directly in the manuscript via track changes to address any or all of the following: transitions, voice, dialogue, emotion, and narrative flow.
  • A brief email exchange or videochat (45 min. maximum) after you’ve received my feedback to answer any follow-up questions.

Revision (and especially revision with a mentor) is an opportunity to grow as a writer; to improve not just this manuscript, but to take the teaching points offered and make them a part of your work going forward.

Fee: 1.6¢ per word*

Manuscript Mentorship

You have an idea and a beginning—at least 20 pages. Again, congratulations!

Here’s what I can offer you:

  • I will read your initial 20-40 pages along with an outline or synopsis to get an idea of where your story is headed.
  • We will schedule a planning conversation via phone or videochat to talk about your vision for the project and to form a revision plan for the coming months.
  • Based on our conversation, I will provide guidance on structure, character development, and pacing in the form of writing and plot exercises.
  • Three additional times, either monthly or bi-monthly, I will read and provide feedback for new sections of text (20-40 pages each).
  • At the conclusion of our three months of work, we will schedule a concluding conversation via phone or videochat.

Fee: $1200*

Am I the best match for your story?

Great question. The mentorship I offer is for novels, specifically Middle Grade or Young Adult. I love many different kinds of stories—contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction, and adventure.

I am not interested in working on manuscripts that in any way promote racism, sexism or homophobia—that’s a given, right? I’m a little too squeamish for horror, and not the right person for picture books, early readers, or erotica.

Great! How do we get started?

Send an email to author [at] melaniecrowder [dot] com. Let me know:

  • a little about you, and where you are in your journey as a writer
  • the basics of your story
  • the timeline you’re hoping we can work within

If you don’t hear back from me within a week, please follow up to make sure I received your initial email.

What my students are saying:

“Thank you so much for such awesome and in depth feedback! […] I can’t thank you enough. These truly are the most helpful notes I’ve ever received. I’m excited and know my novel is getting better with each revision.”
—Daka, Writing in the Margins
“Thank you so much for this thorough, smart letter! I love these letters. They make me feel like I’m in an MFA class with a talented teacher.”
—Susan, Michelle Begley Mentor Program
“Today I remembered an old guitar story about Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Pete Townsend. The story goes that back in the late 60’s, Hendrix was touring England and Clapton and Townsend were in the audience one night. They sat astonished as Hendrix blew the roof off the place. About half way through, Clapton turned to Townsend and said. “I think we need to find something else to do.”
Listening to the wonderful Melanie Crowder brought that story to mind. Creativity personified, she is a marvelous talent wrapped in a generous spirit. Thank you for hosting an exceptional Connect!”

—Charles, SCBWI Boulder Connect

“[Melanie’s] workshop was like diving into a  mini-MFA program.”
—attendee, SCBWI workshop


Q: Do you provide copyediting notes with your feedback?

A: Nope! While my grammar chops are always improving, I do wish I had paid more attention in my high school English classes. It would have saved me (and my copyeditors) a lot of work! Seriously, though, if an error in grammar or punctuation is repetitive and glaring, I may mention it in my notes, though mentees should not expect copyediting services.

Q: How do I know that the feedback you’ll give is what an agent or editor would want as well?

A: You don’t. This industry is mercurial. And editors are searching for stories they truly connect with, which is something no one can predict. All any of us can do is write the best stories we are able, revise bravely, and constantly work to improve our craft.

Q: What makes you qualified to teach writing?

A: I hold an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a Professional Teacher License through the state of Colorado. I’ve taught for 15 years—everything from English and art to sports and yoga. By far, what I love to teach most is writing. I have learned a great deal from my own mentors and professors and I truly enjoy sharing that wisdom with my own students.

Q: I really want to work with you but I can’t afford your rates it at this time. What should I do?

A: Join your local SCBWI. Take online classes. Find a critique group. If you reach the end of your own understanding and the story still isn’t quite right, put it away and start something new! With every manuscript we write, we learn something essential and I absolutely believe that with persistence and patience, we can be our own teachers.

*Payment must be received prior to the beginning of the mentorship