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Work with Joan May 2016

Get a detailed, written critique of your writing and specific guidance on how to improve your work. Master the skills necessary for taking your writing to the next level. Only $3.75 per page.




It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.
— Ernest Hemingway

Why Get Feedback on Your Writing?

You'll want to get feedback on your writing if you

  • are not certain you're on the right track with your draft and need guidance before you continue;

  • have gotten conflicting feedback from others and need a second opinion;

  • have done all you can with your project and need to know what still needs to be revised; or

  • think you're ready to publish but want to make sure your work is as polished as possible.

I've determined that between now and the end of May I can provide feedback on only 1,000 pages of writing.

After that, I'm going to take a hiatus from providing feedback for anyone with whom I haven't already worked.

1,000 pages might seem like a lot but, trust me, it isn't!

Here's why.

In the past several days, too, 21 more writers have sent me their pages, so there are fewer available pages remaining.

At this point, my time in April is booked solid.

I have extremely limited time left in May.

Just two of you who want feedback on your completed manuscripts could fill my schedule.

First come, first served (the sooner you sign up, the sooner you'll get your feedback.)*

*No matter what, you'll have your feedback in hand before the end of May at the very latest.

Ready to get feedback on your work? Click here.

How Getting Feedback Works


You sign up below and I'll get back to you via email so we can to discuss your work, your goals and our time-frame. (I'll schedule work in the order in which people sign up - you'll receive your feedback no later than the end of May.)


I do the work! Depending on what we’ve agreed upon, I might do any of the following:

  • Provide detailed margin notes throughout your short piece, chapter or full-length manuscript in order to identify what’s working and what’s not.* 
  • Make suggestions about big picture issues like the authenticity and consistency of the narrative voice, the plot, theme and story, the overall structure and the like. I'll also focus on setting, characterization, point of view, and voice (applies to both fiction and non-fiction).
  • Identify your writing “tics” or habits and give you suggestions for avoiding them in the next draft.
  • Provide sentence level suggestions for cutting out unnecessary words that clutter your prose and give you guidance for using those suggestions.
  • Whatever else we've identified that's helpful for you.


We’ll review and discuss the completed work.

*With longer works like novels, memoirs or creative non-fiction, it can be helpful to begin with just one chapter. I often find writing habits in the first chapter that will be present throughout the manuscript; I can provide guidance on how to address these habits. I'll give you the tools you need to fix them yourself, and then you can apply those fixes to the rest of the manuscript so you don't waste your money on a full critique before your work is ready. Once you're ready, I'm standing by to help with the full manuscript.

The Cost

Only $3.75 Per Page

(double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font)

Choose as few as 3 or 10 pages, a single chapter or essay, or your entire manuscript; it's totally up to you.

Ready to get feedback on your work? Click here.

Types of Manuscripts

I welcome the following:

  • Individual short stories
  • Fiction collections
  • Novels, including literary, middle grade, young adult and genre fiction
  • Novellas
  • Individual essays
  • Essay collections
  • Book-length creative non-fiction
  • Memoir
  • Academic texts (for a lay audience)

I don't have sufficient expertise to help with:

  • Poetry
  • Screenwriting
  • Playwriting

If you don't see your work reflected in any of the categories shown above, have no fear! I'm flexible - simply get in touch and let me know what you're up to and we'll determine whether I'm the right developmental editor for what you'd like to get done.

Working with Joan

I love working with writers, as you know!

For more than ten years now I've worked with a wide variety of writers on all kinds of projects. I will read your work with an eye towards what's working well and what can be improved, and I'll provide you with personalized guidance and instructions about what you need to learn or do to take your writing to the next level.

Learn More


How to Get Feedback

If you've been wanting to make sure your writing is as good as it can be, now's the time to get my feedback.

Don't forget that once we hit 1,000 pages, I can't accept any more work.

And don't forget that after May I'll be taking a hiatus from from providing feedback for anyone with whom I haven't already worked.

First come, first served!

Complete these 3 simple steps to secure your feedback:






Click on the orange button below.

In the form that appears, click the 'up arrow' under 'Quantity' to select the number of pages (double-spaced, Times New Roman 12-point font) you'd like me to review, and then click 'Update'. Only $3.75 per page.

Select your preferred payment method and complete the rest of the form.

That's it!

First come, first served; the sooner you sign up, the sooner you'll get your feedback.*

*No matter what, you'll have your feedback in hand before the end of May at the very latest.

Have questions? Email me!

What Other Writers Say About Working with Me

I’ve known Joan Dempsey for over a quarter-century now, and I trust her absolutely — as a writer and as a friend. She’s one of the very few people to whom I always turn to read my work in its early stages, because she approaches writing not only with a rare intelligence and insight, but also with a tremendous compassion and integrity. She cares deeply not only about writing but also about writers, understanding from her own experience the dedication, commitment, and sacrifice that’s required to craft a writing life for oneself, and also the real joy that can arise from doing so.
— Matthew Goodman, author of "Eighty Days: Nelly Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World" and "The Sun and the Moon: The Remarkable True Account of Hoaxers, Showmen, Dueling Journalists, and Lunar Man-Bats in Nineteenth-Century New York"

Joan Dempsey was one of the first round professional content editors on my novel Bombardirovka. With her deep experience with story structure, Joan was able to point me in the direction of solving chapter-level plot issues in my work. Her insights helped me move my manuscript on down the line. Timely and thorough, Joan is a pleasure to have on your side, both for her love of writing and for her mastery of its essential elements.
— Crystal Allene Cook, author of "Bombardirovka"

I was losing hope that I would ever be able to figure out how to write the book I knew I had in me. Then I met Joan Dempsey! She totally understood what I needed. I felt I could explain myself to her and she ‘got it.’ She was able to explain the writing process to me in a way I could comprehend. With her help I was able to put my thoughts on paper. She helped me to understand how to go back over what I had written and fix what needed fixing. Sometimes she edited what I wrote but she always explained why and still helped me to keep it all true to my voice and what I felt was important.
— Sheila Swett Thompson, author of "Perley – The True Story of a New Hampshire Hermit"

Ready to get feedback on your work? Click here.