Manuscript Massage

image description: a massage table on a beach in Fiji, sheltered by a bamboo structure and white curtain, looking out on the South Pacific Ocean

Kick back and relax during your massage…

Every project reaches a stage when you need an expert eye and a caring, professional touch. As an editor for more than twenty years, I love to work directly with words, making sure they reflect your bravest, truest vision.


Does your manuscript need a massage? Let’s talk!


L-bracket-greenR-bracket-greenTo schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation,
just email me with a bit about your manuscript,
your needs, and good times/dates to talk.

About Your Deep-Tissue Massage 

Don’t worry, no nudity is required! 🙂 Here’s how it works: You’ll send me your manuscript and a list of questions. I’ll go over your manuscript twice: first without interruption, as a reader would experience your book, to get a sense of narrative flow and momentum, and the second time more slowly, as a developmental editor with an eye toward solutions.

During the first read, I notice what grips me, where the story feels strongest, and what slows me down or confuses me. I note problem areas such as pacing, organization, and confusion.

During the second read, I diagnose underlying problems and offer suggestions for reworking. I also use your list of queries to make sure we work on your toughest knots.

Then I write an editorial letter to you, similar to what an editor at a publishing house would provide. This revision guide addresses all of your hotspots, including:

  • flow, momentum, pacing, and plot
  • cohesion, continuity, any internal contradictions
  • voice, point of view, character development
  • form and structure
  • places to cut and places to expand
  • theme
  • any significant and recurring writing/grammar issues
  • your questions/concerns

I also comment in your document itself, pinpointing where you can make the most effective changes. Your manuscript will be ready to soar to the next level!

Massage Rates

  • Whole book (fiction/nonfiction/memoir):
    $7,500 for a manuscript of 60,000-120,000 words
  • Nonfiction proposal and submission package:
    $2,500 for cover letter, complete book proposal, and 1-2 sample chapters
  • Novel/Memoir submission package:
    $2,500 for query letter, synopsis, and first 30-50 pages
  • Poetry:
    $1,500 for a complete poetry collection of 50-110 pages


It’s normal to experience some pain after a massage! But it feels good, doesn’t it? After you’ve had a chance to digest the feedback, we schedule a luxurious 75-minute call to discuss your manuscript, clarify any questions, and help you move forward.

Later, as you revise your manuscript, you can always feel free to check in quickly with me by email and ask for input and clarification. I’ll also line-edit your revised query letter or synopsis, and strategize with you about dealing with an agent or editor’s feedback, at no extra charge.

Down the line, if you want more intensive help with a revised draft of the manuscript (in full or part), polishing the language, or coaching sessions on anything related to this manuscript, you’ll receive special discounts on all Write Like a Unicorn services.


  • Normal turnaround is 30 days for a full manuscript and 15 days for a submission package, to ensure that I have time to give your manuscript the loving attention it deserves, including multiple rounds of thoughtful consideration.
  • If you’re working toward a more urgent deadline, I’m happy to help! A  $500 rush fee applies.
  • Advance payment is required to reserve your massage, as I only take one Manuscript Massage client at a time. (Obviously, you want your masseuse focused on you—not hopping between your massage and someone else’s! Eww.)
  • Yes, I can work with your tech! Email attachments or in the Cloud, MS Word, Scrivener, Google Docs, etc.—if you can put words into it, I’ve probably used it. So set your tech concerns at ease; whatever you need, we’ll work it out.

L-bracket-greenR-bracket-greenReady to book your manuscript massage? Fantastic! 
Please email me and let me know when to book your massage!

Need a full-body polish?

After you revise your manuscript or submission package, you might want our triple-read copy editing service to leave your text silky smooth.

This is especially useful for authors who are self-publishing, who think of themselves as “grammatically challenged,” or who want everything to be absolutely perfect before submitting.

How it works: I’m blessed to know some wonderful copy editors, and I match you with the perfect editor for your manuscript: that magical unicorn who knows your genre, aligns with your values, and is dedicated to serving your story and your unique voice. I orient them to your work and writing style, so that they know what to look for as they give you line-by-line markups. I review every page and make additional edits as needed before returning the manuscript to you with all of the changes tracked. You get two pairs of sharp editorial eyes on your words before they go out to the world. Together, we ensure that your word choice, spelling, grammar, sourcing, and formatting are as gorgeous as your ideas. 

Note: This service is exclusively for Write Like a Unicorn clients. We’re not an editing-for-hire shop! If you’ve already worked with me in coaching, manuscript massage, or a class, and you’re ready for copy editing, please email me with a bit about your project and your word length (10,000 words minimum) for a custom estimate. 

Still writing?

I specialize in coaching for authors of color (and allies who really mean it!). Together we can find your writing flow, finish your book(s), and create compelling packages that literary agents adore. If you’re just getting started on your book, or have been wrestling it for a while and are ready for a jumpstart, I’m happy to help!

All book coaching includes the Write Like a Unicorn custom book proposal template, as well as writing prompts, detailed guidance on structure, troubleshooting your blocks and doubts, and more—all the support you need to bring your book to the world.

L-bracket-greenR-bracket-green“Unscrambles the stories ~ Gentle on the soul and sharp on the writing ~ Invaluable ~ Magic.”
(Read other writers on how Manuscript Massage and coaching transformed their writing lives!)