"Thanks to Wordy Birdie, my manuscript went from "this doesn't seem marketable" to "you nailed it!" When I hit a wall, Marlo didn't just help me around it, she helped me build a bridge over it. I'm so grateful for her insight, and I will use her services again."  Nancy Tupper Ling

Both published and aspiring authors find my experience, advice, and editing services invaluable. As a fellow writer, I understand how challenging the path to publication can be—and how deeply rewarding. I've also made almost every mistake possible, so I help writers steer away from issues before they become problems. As an illustrator, I offer the writer a useful perspective on the relationships between word, image, and design. I provide a clear, thorough, honest, and supportive appraisal for both the traditionally published and self-published writer—from picture books through YA, as well as books for adults. 

Mom's Choice Award Winner

Mom's Choice Award Winner

I have been editing books and teaching writing since the late 1990s and am a vetted developmental editor and copyeditor with a well-known network of tested and fully vetted editors. I am on faculty at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Continuing Education where I teach Writing for Children's Books (picture books) and various writing and revision workshops. I work in an editorial advisory capacity for a number of small publishers and am a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA).

My services include:

  • One-on-one or group consultations via Skype or in person

  • Copy-editing & proofreading (correct faulty spelling, grammar, syntax, and punctuation; correct awkward or incorrect word usage; fix transposed words or letters; ensure consistency in spelling, numerals, hyphenation, and capitalization)

  • Developmental/substantive editing (mark sections that need better transitional material for improved readability; eliminate repetitive, trite, or verbose material; alert Client to missing information necessary for reader comprehension; rework confusing or awkward writing; the big picture).

  • Developmental/substantive editing of rhyming verse (meter, end-rhymes, structure, content, readability, etc.)

  • Formatting for submission to publishing houses/literary agents

  • Query letter development

  • Instruction and coaching

  • Writing

  • Illustration

  • Art direction and assessment of illustrations and page design, including text placement

  • Book design, text placement, and uploading to CreateSpace etc.

  • Critique/report, including an evaluation of the following, where relevant:

    • writing instruction specific to the sub-genre

    • plot/narrative structure, the big picture

    • character development

    • cohesiveness, clarity, & flow

    • technical aspects of writing such as POV, exposition, elision

    • pacing

    • language style & dialogue

    • relationship between text and possible images

    • additional useful information and advice regarding publishers, agents, submissions, and more.

I quote based on: a sample of the manuscript, the total word count, and in accordance with the Editorial Freelancers Association rate guidelines.  

For more information, or to request a quote, please Contact Me


"Marlo ... is a far greater editor than any I have ever worked with. She did far more than simply read and comment upon my text, as others have done. Marlo worked with me extensively to develop my characters and plot into something of incredible beauty and fluidity. She dedicated her time to my novel, often working late into evening and in the early hours of morning to complete her task. Marlo took my book beyond the extraordinary. She has an instinct and passion for the fine and poignant; a talent for enriching even the most ordinary of text. She breathed new life into every word, every line, every striking sentence!" - Michelle Izmaylov

"Marlo's editing and professional guidance was excellent. She understood the story and where it needed to go." -Ray Karpickl

"Marlo really knows the craft of children’s writing inside and out and has a very thoughtful and thorough way of communicating edits and revisions needing to be made. I truly enjoyed working with her and would be honored to work with her again. She was also extremely understanding of my financial needs and worked with me on submitting payments in installments. Any author looking for editorial insight and expertise would be lucky to have Marlo as their editor." -Jenna Martin

"Marlo was not only punctual and professional, but she went above and beyond providing services of great quality and thoroughness. Through her guidance and knowledge, she gave me a new insight and vision for my work. It’s as if she breathed life into the story." -Catherine Dumas

"Marlo’s insight was truly thoughtful and much needed. Based on her diligence and thoroughness, I felt that Marlo had my best interest at heart. She has helped me see what’s needed to be fixed up in my book, without completely disheartening me in the process. She was always available and willing to answer any questions, comments or concerns that I had, and in a timely manner. I felt like I was giving my book to a friend, rather than an editor." -Sharon

"Marlo has opened my eyes to the many complexities involved in writing a good story. I am eager to take her advice and improve my book. I'm also certain I will want her to conduct a second edit after I make changes. I am confident I made the right choice hiring her to help me with this project." - Alton Campbell

"Marlo is fantastic!! I can’t say enough about her and the work/help she provided on my project. Not only is her work great, but she is also very good with people/communication and that to me is just as important. I’d love to work with her again and would refer her to others in the blink of an eye. Thanks so much for putting us together!" - Rodney Beckwith

"Marlo is wonderful! She bulls-eyed our weaknesses, and our strengths, and helped advance our craft more in few months than we had in the first five years of our writing and self-publishing middle-grade adventures." - Chris and Annie Palmer

"I'm very pleased with my decision to use the network services. Marlo was exactly what I was hoping for in an editor. Her copyediting was clean, and her substantive and developmental suggestions were spot on. She identified areas of my manuscript that needed work and made specific suggestions while remaining respectful of my tone and style." - Kimbra Cutlip

"Marlo was incredibly helpful to our project. Her advice has vastly improved our book, and she did her work promptly. She is an amazing professional and I would love to use her again for upcoming projects." - Sylvia Westphal

"Marlo was extraordinarily helpful. She taught me things that I didn't know I didn't know! She has been a tremendous help and I would highly recommend her.” - Tammy Gordon  

"I know I am a neophyte writer, and it may be considered faint praise, but Marlo is terrific! If anything comes from this project a large part of its success will be due to her work and encouragement. I am so glad I chose Marlo." - Joseph Barbaccia

"Marlo was very professional and easy to work with. I would definitely work with her again. She has tremendous insight. Her critique made a lot of sense to me and showed me where I needed improvement. I'm a new writer of non-fiction and Marlo showed me that I needed a more in-depth article. She offered a lot of encouragement."- Diane Scholte

"As a first time author I was quite aware of the possibility of being taken advantage of, but it was quickly clear that the services provided were not only legitimate, but highly professional. I am confident that I made a good choice. Marlo was professional, prompt, courteous, honest, and respectful in every regard. She was exactly what I was looking for. She patiently answered any and all questions I had about the editing process, and also gave me valuable insight that is assisting me beyond the editing process and will continue to assist me in the years to come. Her critique opened my eyes to the things that I, as an embedded writer, could no longer see in my book; things that were necessary for me to embrace in order to make my manuscript really shine. And her copyedit turned a story that merely flowed, into one that sang. I truly look forward to working with her in the future. The frightening process of handing my first book over to someone to edit was made much less daunting by finding your network to use, and then by being lucky enough to work with Marlo." (Contact info on request)

"Dear Marlo, I would like to thank you for your editing sample. It was above and beyond the other five samples I received. I LOVED how you made suggestions about how to expand certain parts of the novel. You didn't just take a red pen and slash through my ideas to insert yours. I felt some of the other samples turned MY novel into THEIR novel. I appreciate that you didn't do that. You are quite gifted and you should consider teaching a writing/editing course online, I feel you would be a great asset to many writers." - Sherry Gammon

"Marlo Garner is a multitalented, and extremely skilled professional who infuses ones work with excellent, user friendly comments and suggestions. She is very thorough and uses thoughtful, considerate language that can be applied to the text. She is approachable and and above all kind. It is clear that Marlo has a firm grasp on the scope of the work and despite how many changes need to be made, will work through each of them. I will use Marlo again for for my next revision." - Sheri Roberts, Hand Therapy Creations

"Marlo's response was prompt, her work thorough, her attitude encouraging, and the technical expertise demonstrated exemplary. A pleasure to work with." - Samara A. Adrian

"Marlo is wonderful to work with. Not only does she place great emphasis on detail, she is always available for questions and/or opinions. I'm very pleased with the feedback she provided. She is an exceptional editor." - Lori Pietrowski

"Marlo far exceeded our expectations. We were pleased with her thorough 10-page critique and suggestions for improvement. She was consistently accessible and answered all our questions. She was a great resource for guiding us in developing our story, sharing other great online sources and suggesting what to do next to get our story published. She has been a constant support and we definitely will be seeking her guidance in our re-edit as well as our future stories. Thank you so much!" 
- Laura and Alex Lee, Executive Director and Creative Producer, Little Laura Music

"She was excellent to work with – professional and insightful." - Alison

"I got an immediate response from the editor's website ... and then started working with Marlo. She's bright, focused, and flexible. She knows her craft well. Her editing and critique helped me a great deal in writing children's books. She is also lovely to work with – just the right amount of constructive criticism and motivation, and I need both. I admire her insights on writing children's books, and I believe she will improve my writing over the course of the year. Thank you!" - Judith Addington, president, Gazelle Communications, LLC

“Marlo wasimmensely helpfuland pleasant to work with. I knew I had a penned a good story, but her suggested improvements will really help my middle-grade dragon tale connect emotionally with young readers. Thanks to her encouragement and advice, I will be submitting my manuscript and illustrations to agents and editors with far greater confidence." - J. C. Stevens

"Marlo is everything I hoped for! I just received the 1st chapter back and was joyfully overwhelmed with how well it flowed plus ALL of her advise was on point and very helpful. Her critique was even more very thorough and detailed. Can't wait to start the next chapter(s). I just know that I will get published with her assistance." (Contact information on request)

"I'm impressed with the simplicity and efficiency of the process. The editing was first rate, and it was a delight to work with Marlo." - Michael Sussman

"I was impressed with your services from the very beginning. Within hours of my query through your website I was receiving quotations for the services I was seeking. I ended up choosing Marlo Garner and she was excellent to work with from the beginning to the end. My experience with her was painless, and her attention to detail as well as her ability to show me where my writing weaknesses were proved priceless. She helped with so much, there's not enough room to place it all here. I will most definitely use her and your services again in the future." - Stephen Wren, respiratory therapist and radio producer

"Marlo has been assessing and editing my manuscripts for a number of years now. I have always returned to Marlo because of her professionalism and expert advice. Marlo's feedback has always been critical but for the betterment of my work. I have enjoyed working with Marlo because she is a diligent professional and I trust her judgment. I will continue to use Marlo's services in the future." - James Stead, Primary School Teacher and Children's Book Author, Grandma's Place (Windy Hollow Books)

"I've been using Marlo's services for five years and have always found her feedback incredibly insightful. I particularly value her comments on character development, structure and dialogue. She has a keen eye for picking up last-minute mistakes. Marlo offers an invaluable service to both emerging and published writers, and I highly recommend her." - P.D. Martin, Body Count (Macmillan 2005), The Murderer's Club(Macmillan 2006), Fan Mail (forthcoming Macmillan)

"As an unpublished author I found Marlo's review of my first children's picture book manuscript, The Grippers, invaluable. I very much appreciated the time and effort that Marlo put into providing constructive criticism in a way that was still quite encouraging. The assessment was both comprehensive and well considered, covering everything from document style and formatting to narrative structure, verse phrasing and meter. I found Marlo's method of conveying ideas and suggestions to inexperienced authors by drawing parallels to existing, well-known, children's texts very effective. Furthermore, supplementary comments that Marlo made to the review helped dispel some personal myths about writing children's stories as well as improving my appreciation of the illustrator's contribution to a picture book. Marlo's early mentoring has greatly facilitated my drafting of subsequent manuscripts and, indeed, improved my enjoyment of the whole creative process! I am happy to announce that as a result of our combined efforts The Grippers was submitted to a major publishing house on 21 August, 2007." 
- Dr. Scott Chambers

"She was a joy to work with… Marlo has continued to assist me in freelance assessing of manuscripts for children, mostly picture book texts, but also short 'chapter books.' Her assessments are very thorough and beautifully written. Clients have commented that they have a whole course in picture book writing, in her reports. Marlo is also an author. I have been very impressed with the quality of her work. She is knowledgeable, writes well, draws and paints beautifully, has excellent tutoring skills and is very personable." - Dr. Virginia Lowe

"Even for an experienced writer and teacher, Marlo provides information, organization, and criticism, which makes the time with her worthwhile, and gives the project better possibilities." - Len DeAngelis

"More than excellent! So pleased I contacted Marlo and hope to continue working with her. She is very professional and thorough and having met her personally I cannot more than endorse her for all she stands for. She is a real PRO as well as alovely lady." - Manuela de Groot

"Marlo's work was even better than I expected. Her knowledge of children's poetry is outstanding in every aspect. She did more than required and I recommend her very highly." - Marie Gebel

"Really enjoyed working with Marlo! I am a repeat customer!" - Lisa Manzione

"When I sent my book to Marlo, I was simply seeking formatting advice. I honestly thought the story was great the way it was. On three separate occasions, after reading Marlo's assessment, I really understood that my story could be improved upon. She guided me through the steps I needed to take to further develop my work. Marlo's assessment advice was thorough, well thought out and clearly made sense. She helped turn a great idea into a outstanding story. I have applied Marlo's advice and her words of inspiration to my next project and look forward to working with her again. I would highly recommend Marlo to anyone who needs their work assessed or edited." - Sophia Stefanos

"Not only did I find her friendly and engaging throughout these sessions, but her knowledge of her area of expertise was clearly evident as she compared styles of literature from around the world and pointed out subtle nuances that led to their success. She was exuberant about her subject matter and just as excited to point out ways in which I could use literary devices and plot strategies to overcome the pitfalls that commonly challenge the novice writer. She went into such depth... because she wanted to give me even more of an overview for how to market my work and write effective cover letters. Marlo offered suggestions which have taken me in an entirely new direction with my writing and even influenced my decision regarding the genre I choose for future manuscripts. Marlo is more than worthy of helping children's authors find their voice. I highly recommend her in any capacity in which she can guide and support new writers in their quest to become as talented as she is." - Joy Golden

"Even for an experienced writer and teacher, Marlo provides information, organization, and criticism, that makes the time with her worthwhile, and gives the project better possibilities." - Peace, Len DeAngelis

"Marlo gave me great advice on my book, and all her editing work was spot-on. I’ve just finished revising, and feel I have an excellent product now. Marlo has also offered to look over my query letter for agents, which is icing on the cake, because I hate writing query letters!" - Nikki Benett