Manuscript Critique
Courtney Maum

Getting ready for submission: A manuscript critique and mentorship

Please query at manuscripts@loft.org for availability and timeline before signing up. Send up to five pages of the work in progress. Thank you.

Open to: All genres of fiction and memoir

Word Limit: 15,000 in four submissions of 3,500 each

What you’ll submit: 3,500 words of new or revised prose every 3-4 weeks for 12-15 weeks.

What you’ll get:

A intensive mentorship that will help you ready your manuscript for submission to literary magazines, agents and/or editors. We’ll focus on honing the narrative skills that will be essential to you over the course of your writing career: character development, the creation of stakes and plot, voice, narrative continuity, appropriate uses of humor, and how to keep momentum up through a project’s murky middle. We’ll also discuss how to talk about your own writing in pitch letters, artist statements and submissions—an essential component of the writing life.

We will kick-off with a phone conversation about your hopes and goals—both in general, and for the work that we’ll be experiencing together. Then, in four installments over 12 weeks, you’ll share new (or revised) work with me that I will return with feedback, line-edits, and advice. At the end of our collaboration, we’ll have another phone conversation to review the principal takeaways and next steps for your project. What you’ll have in me is a cheerleader and a sherpa—not a judge. My main goal is that you feel good about your writing and confident in your ability to share it with the world, and that you become your own best editor. We will work hard together, but it will be rewarding and fun.

Price: $2100

Turnaround: 12–15 weeks.

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Full manuscript critique

Please query at manuscripts@loft.org for availability and timeline before signing up. Send up to five pages of the work in progress. Thank you.

Open to: full manuscripts (limited availability; please inquire).

Word Limit: 80,000 words.

What you’ll submit: a full manuscript (with prior approval from Courtney).

What you’ll get:

A detailed critique.

Price: $450 + $.05/word.

Turnaround: Inquire about Courtney's availability and timeline.

Testimonials of working with the author of BEFORE AND AFTER THE BOOK DEAL, Courtney Maum

“Working with Courtney was like making a dress and then later having someone reveal to you your own seams—a fascinating process. She's insightful, capable, and a total delight. I'd recommend her to anyone.” - writer, actor and director Bodine Boling in Brooklyn, whose second feature film, BEHAVE, is getting ready to meet the world.

"Courtney was more useful than the actual doula we used to help me deliver twins!" - writer Rebecca Moon Ruark whose historical novel, LOW HEAVEN, is on agent submission now.

“Self-promotion, even for talented writers, is one of the hardest jobs an author faces. For my debut novel, Ever So Silent, I wrote an insipid and lackluster pitch. I knew it when I read it, and, after multiple rewrites, I couldn't seem to make it better. That's when I turned to Courtney. With a fresh eye, she transformed my pitch into something truly special. Now, it entices. Now it has all the seductiveness a novel's pitch needs." —Christopher Little, writer and photographer, whose first novel is heading to the printer.

"Courtney Maum possesses deep, hard-earned knowledge of how to navigate the publishing industry. She shared this wisdom with our students in a friendly, honest, and insightful manner, offering detailed, personal advice that was also useful to every writer in the room. If you've got a pitch in need of polish, there's no question that Courtney can offer the constructive feedback you're seeking." - Susannah Felts, director of THE PORCH writing center in Nashville, Tennessee

“If you've completed a manuscript, but become paralyzed by the unwieldy next steps, Courtney will catapult you through your haze. Courtney listened to me carefully and earnestly. She analyzed all of my input (and jabbering), foiled against her extensive knowledge of the complex publishing industry. Courtney took my thousands of words and distilled them into a coherent, cohesive, relevant one-page pitch. But, more than that, she helped me make sense of my work, my message and my mission. She gave me concise exercises and next steps, and the confidence I needed to take them. Working with her gave me relief from ambiguity. Dollars spent were worth at least 10 times the amount in peace of mind. Do not hesitate to invest in your work and yourself by hiring Courtney.” -Bree Cox in Kansas, whose young adult sci-fi novel HYBRID is getting dressed up to meet agents for the first time.