Close Readers Group

Book development

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You’re writing a book...

A writer's best friend is a smart reader who gives honest feedback.

We can help you make your writing, your manuscript, your concept as good as it can be, the way you first envisioned it.

Who we are

We're a group of trained editors and talented writers with many years of experience in publishing.

For us, there are few things in life more enjoyable than holding a good book. We delight in the nuances of a particularly good word choice, savor a nicely formed sentence, and linger over a passage that's especially clear, rich, and delicious.

We admire bindings and hold pages against the light to examine the paper. We know the conventions of the English language in loving detail and can bore you with stories of how they came to be the way they are.

We're also tech-savvy. We're enthusiastic about the explosion in the diversity of voices, the emergence of new markets, and the eagerness of readers brought about by digital networks and e-publishing. We're eager to discover what comes next.

We love someone's idea for a good book and can't wait to see it in final form.

If we can help you make your writing, your manuscript, your concept as good as it could be — as good as you first imagined it — we're at your service.

What we do

The “close” in Close Readers has a double meaning. Our method is to pay close attention to the words on the page, like any good editor, but also to get to know you, your goals, your personal style.

We're trained in literary analysis and creative-writing best practices... so we’re skeptical of academic jargon or dogmatic rules. We try to be descriptive rather than prescriptive, supportive rather than judgmental.

We'll point out what's off-key or problematic, but we won't stop there. We'll help you think of solutions, and we'll encourage you to keep writing and developing your strengths.

We take a pragmatic approach to each client's work, focusing on the text and how best to apply the craft of keeping a reader involved and satisfied. We know that each author, each piece of writing is unique. Our goal is to preserve and nurture that uniqueness.

We'll point out weak spots and help you correct flaws — mainly by pointing to the strong parts and telling you to "do more of this."

We've found that first impulses are often reliable guides. When something doesn't feel right, we'll encourage you to set aside the specific wording of the current draft and go back to your moment of inspiration. The next draft might be significantly different, but it's likely to be truer to the impulse that made you sit down at your keyboard that first day.

Whether you're a writer of fiction or nonfiction, an established or "debut" author, if you have a story that needs to be told or a message to get across clearly, we can help you.

If you have an idea for a nonfiction book, we can help you structure your outline, polish your sample chapters, and present the strengths and market potential of your book in the most compelling terms.

If you're in the early stages of putting your vision for a nonfiction book, memoir, novel or story collection down in words, we can help you master the advanced basics of vivid and compelling writing, a personal mini-MFA course tailored to your skills and talents and the special requirements of your project. We can help you see the scope of long-form fiction and help you engineer plot and pace. We can show you how to enliven characters, enrich environments, make voices ring true.

If this isn't your first book, you can be confident our skills are up to your standards — we won't waste your time telling you what you already know. But even established authors need "a second pair of eyes" from time to time, when a first draft isn't firing on all cylinders, or the solution to a problem is elusive, or you're trying something new and risky.

If you've already written a book-length manuscript, you've already succeeded. If readers have given you solid encouragement yet you know in your heart the current draft is still at the "needs work" stage, you're wise to seek out the best guidance you can find.

Whether your next move is to approach an agent or publisher, prepare the book for self-publishing, or simply have the satisfaction of finishing the book you wanted to write, you certainly want the next draft to be as good as it can possibly be.

A writer's best friend is a smart, sensitive reader who gives detailed, honest feedback. We're exceptional readers and coaches, and you have our full attention.

Tell us about your book.