SERVICES PROVIDED: Suggestions for revisions that will help your query fall in line with industry standards and use language and concepts that get agents’ attention; basic editing of grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

TO ENGAGE MY SERVICES: Send me an email letting me know you’d like me to critique your query. Be sure to include your genre, word count, and basic biographical information. I will write you back and let you know where you land in my work queue and provide you with the date I will return your query with my input. If that date works for you, PayPal me $25 at wordsandshenanigans@gmail.com. Within five days of the specified critique return date, PayPal me the other $25 to the same email address.


SERVICES PROVIDED: Suggestions for revisions OF UP TO TEN DOUBLE-SPACED PAGES that will strengthen the language of your sample material, help your story and character introduction be compelling, and increase your narrative’s readability and flow; basic editing of grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

TO ENGAGE MY SERVICES: Send me an email letting me know you’d like me to critique your writing sample. Be sure to include your genre and word count. I will write you back and let you know where you land in my work queue and provide you with the date I will return your query with my input—as well as a price quote, if your writing sample is more than ten pages. If that date (and price quote, if included) works for you, PayPal me $40 (or a minimum of half the quoted price, rounded to the nearest $5) at wordsandshenanigans@gmail.com. Within five days of the specified critique return date, PayPal me the other $35 (or the remainder of the amount due) to the same email address.


SERVICES PROVIDED: (1) Consultation (required), which will include me reading your first ten pages, getting an idea of what work I think your manuscript needs, and meeting with you to discuss goals and plans. (2) Editing, which can include suggestions on: deepening of character arcs and theme, tightening of plot, eliminating unnecessary elements that cloud the narrative, and adjusting language for readability, tone, and clarity (depending on the need of the manuscript); basic editing of grammar, punctuation, and spelling.


      TO ENGAGE MY SERVICES: Send me an email letting me know you’d like to engage me for a full manuscript edit. I’ll email you back with a list of meeting dates and times that work for me. Please realize that I am currently residing in Japan, so the times I’m available can seem pretty strange! Choose which day and time work for you, email me with that information, and send the first ten pages of your manuscript so I can get an idea of your style and how much feedback you are going to require; then PayPal me $50 at wordsandshenanigans@gmail.com. I will neither read your pages nor meet with you until the $50 has been received. We will meet via video or audio call (whichever you prefer) to discuss the publishing industry as a whole, how your manuscript fits in to the publishing industry, what your goals are for the manuscript you want me to edit, and how my work can serve those goals. I will send you an email no later than 48 hours after that call to let you know if I think I can be of service to you, along with a listing of some of the specific items discussed in our phone call and specifics of what services I can provide and the date my work will be due to you—as well as the exact amount you will be charged. 

      THIS IS A REQUIRED STEP IN ENGAGING MY SERVICES. If, after we meet and I send you an email saying I am willing and able to work with you, should you decide you do not wish to work with me, simply reply with something like “Thanks, but no thanks!” The editing process is a relationship, and if either one of us doesn’t feel like the relationship is a fit, both of us should feel free to step away.

      STEP TWO: EDITING (approximately $1500 for works up to 75,000 words; $2000 for works ranging from 75,001-99,999 words; $3000 for over 100,000 words; all prices dependent on your publishing goals and the amount of work required)

      After you have received my post-consultation email and decide you want to engage me, email me your full manuscript and PayPal me half the total amount due. I will then begin work on your manuscript and have it back to you by the day specified in the email I send you after our consultation call. Within five days of the due date, PayPal me the remainder of the amount due. Then, if you like, we can schedule a post-editing meeting to discuss your work overall and provide an opportunity for questions.



      What are your qualifications for this type of work?

        Excellent question! In 2017, I received my MFA in Creative Writing (all genres; I actually concentrated in Creative Nonfiction, but my thesis project was a Middle Grade novel!). I’ve served as an editorial assistant for the National Magazine Award-winning Oxford American, a submission screener for Creative Nonfiction magazine, and the creative nonfiction editor for the online journal, Arkana. I’ve taught creative writing at the college level and editing/revision workshops at SCBWI events (I was a member for years and even served as Assistant Regional Advisor at one point). I’ve edited more than fifty manuscripts for a traditional, independent publisher, whose books are distributed by Simon & Schuster and often found in Barnes & Noble. I now work as literary agent assistant to Natascha Morris at the Tobias Literary Agency, for whom I screen queries, help edit manuscripts, and work on pitch packets for submissions we send to editors (focusing on big-five publishers). If you’re into KidLit, you’re probably familiar with some of the work she’s represented, like author Laura Taylor Namey’s A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow and illustrator Raissa Figueroa’s beautiful artwork in Oona.

        But also—I’m a writer. I’ve ghost-written a humor novel called Fecal Matters: The Phenomenon of Anonymous Public Pooping (which was sold in Barnes & Noble bookstores), and I’ve had work featured in a creative writing textbook and a post-apocalyptic story anthology. I also have had a few poems published, and dozens of creative nonfiction pieces published (Roxane Gay specifically chose one of my pieces to run on The Toast, and another piece was featured on Narratively, a national online platform!).

        A few of my awards and notables include:

        So, in short (too late now, oops!), I know what it’s like to be on the writer side of things. To be searching and searching for an agent until any positive response is like manna from heaven. I landed one agent; she didn’t work out—and if you want agent advice, I’m glad to give it, because I hate to break it to you—“ANY AGENT” is NOT actually better than nothing. Hard to believe, but true. But now I’ve landed a new agent, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE her. So there is hope and beauty and excitement to be had! And I’d love to help you get there.

        What genres/age categories do you work on?

        While middle grade and young adult are my absolute favorites, I have (for a traditional publisher) edited memoir, self-help, adult novels (thrillers, upmarket women’s fiction, book club fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction), business models, inspirational, history…the list goes on and on. HOWEVER, I am not qualified to give feedback on nonfiction proposals or picture books, and I have no interest or experience in horror.  

        Will my manuscript be super perfect and ready to self-publish (or send to an agent or publisher) immediately without ever having to take another look at it?

        Definitely not. I will be sending you back a document that has suggested edits and revisions (which are two different things!) and you’ll have to review all those edits and suggestions to make sure they work for you and to incorporate (or disregard!) depending on what you want the outcome of your manuscript to be. But my suggestions should ABSOLUTELY make your manuscript closer to being agent- or editor-ready. 

        Why do you have such specific and strict payment policies?

        Well, see, I’m a softie. And I have agreed to edit work for people whose work I didn’t think was truly ready for an edit, people who didn’t understand the publishing industry at all, and people who wanted to arrange different payment dates and methods—only to have to fight to get paid and/or not get paid at all. I’ve learned the hard way that I have to be strict about this. So…all money is due when I have specified in our email exchanges; in particular, FINAL money is due within the time frame specified, whether or not you have opened and/or finished reading the email or edited manuscript.

        What if I’m dissatisfied with the outcome of your work?

        This is an easy one! If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of my work, we will hire an independent moderator to determine if the above applicable terms of agreement have been violated. Whoever the moderator determines is correct will then pay the full moderator’s fee, plus any money that has been exchanged (if the moderator sides with you) and any money that is still due (if the moderator sides with me).


        Before my agent sees a word of my new middle grade or YA novels,
        I make sure HB works her magic on the manuscript first!
        She’s critiqued every novel I’ve written, and I consider her one of the best in the business at getting to the heart of what makes a manuscript work.

        Monica Clark-Robinson, author of Let the Children March (International Literacy Association Award
        and Coretta Scott King illustrator Honor)
        and Standing on Her Shoulders (a Junior Library Guild selection)

        HB’s reviews are always sprinkled with fantastic insight,
        clean editing, and encouragement throughout.
        My authors have been very receptive and complimentary
        to her suggestions to improve their writing.
        She turns good books into great books!

        Heather King, Managing Editor

        HB Steadham’s editorial work with my children’s book
        was stellar from start to finish. She honored the story I wanted to tell
        but helped me make it the best version it could possibly be.
        Her skills and guidance were indispensable
        in getting the book polished for publication.

        Cappy McGarr, memoir author, Emmy-nominated producer,
        and co-creator of
        the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor 
           and the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

        HB does an incredible job of maximizing the potential
        of every manuscript she works on.

        Her insights about audience, tone, and flow,
        in conjunction with her sharp eye for perfecting the language,
        make her a truly impressive editor and a valuable resource
        to anyone who has the opportunity to work with her!

        Maddie Sturgeon, Senior Managing Editor

        HB is able to zero-in on problems with plot holes, bunny-trails, and side quests, as well as misplaced character goals and resulting problems with character arc. Do yourself a favor and get HB on-board early to help tighten and strengthen your story development, then bring her back in for line edits.
        Your story is worth the investment.

        Amelia Loken, author of YA fantasy Unravel

        HB is my go-to gal and a dream to work with.
        Whatever book-related task I throw at her—
        from straightforward copyediting to heavy, in-the-weeds, developmental work—
        I know she’ll do her absolute best to provide our authors with beneficial feedback. She’s been a huge asset to our publishing house
        and someone our authors and our staff can truly rely on.

        Rachel Hoge, Production Editor

        HB edits with a sharp eye and a keen sense of story.
        She deepened our character arcs and overarching theme while honing grammar. With her help, our story has caught the eyes of several agents.
        Her skills as a writer and an editor are essential
        to getting your manuscript agent- and publisher-ready.

        KS Mitchell, author of Pen & Quin: International Agents of Intrigue 
        & Moonbeam and Purple Dragonfly Children’s Book Awards Winner