Are your pages ready for an agent or editor? If you hesitated to say “yes” then you should get a professional opinion.

Mary Buckham is a national writing teacher, but more important – she’s a professional author. The best advice you can get is from an author who understands what it takes to get published. She’s also one of the two authors who created the highly-successful Break Into Fiction® program taught nationally. Mary works with both unpublished writers and published authors on a limited basis as noted below.

Mary tells you what to expect from this service:

As both a fiction and nonfiction author, she is respectful and aware of the effort we all put into our work. She believes in giving constructive feedback that is grounded in examples from your own manuscript, with potential suggestions of both craft issues and further resources for you to have options if the work is not yet ready for submission. She makes a point of:

* explaining why a suggestion is made on your pages
* pointing out your strengths as well as areas you can improve
* looking at specific issues that impact fiction authors including pacing, conflict, tension and character development [if applicable]
* focusing on plot development with specific suggestions on what is weak and how to repair plot holes

Note - She will not do line edits or grammar though she can recommend services for both.


PROCESS for submitting your pages:

Before submitting your work or paying any fees, email Mary at .

Mary usually has several months of editing commitments and recommends scheduling well in advance – the reason for why you must first send an initial email. She will give you an estimated time for when to expect her analysis of your pages. If you need something quickly, email her and she will a) let you know if she can squeeze your work into her current schedule and b) tell you what the additional rush cost will be. So if you have revisions to turn in or a specific time frame for your completion date, please plan ahead accordingly.

Mary recommends a two-step process with either the first 5 or first 30 pages reviewed before moving to the entire manuscript evaluation. The major problems in most manuscripts are in the first chapters where set up is so important. If you send a full manuscript with set up issues then Mary will likely be marking the same mistakes repeatedly throughout your pages.

Once an agreement is made for consultation, follow these steps for submitting work:

Submission of the agreed upon document is done so via email in either a WORD or RTF format that Mary can download and edit on directly, as well as address any specific questions or concerns you wish her to look at [within the parameters of the service] in the body of an email.

*If you’d prefer to submit hard copy pages instead of electronically, note this in your initial email to Mary so she can give you the mailing address. You must include a return envelope with the correct postage in “stamps” (not metered) and follow the same manuscript format guidelines.

If your manuscript does not follow these guidelines, it will be returned so you can correct it:

* All manuscript pages double-spaced
* Courier, Courier New or Courier Dark font – in 12 point
* Margins are one inch all around
* Pages are to be numbered at top, right hand side
* For proposals, novels and synopses use a header that includes your title/last name
* For query letters and one or two page synopses – single spaced with one-inch borders, Courier, Arial or Times New Roman – in 12 point

Once Mary receives the manuscript pages and respective fee (listed below), she’ll acknowledge receipt and begin work.



Standard time for evaluation of your query letter and up to 2 page synopsis is three weeks unless otherwise agreed upon.

Standard time for evaluation of your partial manuscript is four weeks unless otherwise agreed upon.

Standard time for evaluation of your full manuscript is six weeks unless otherwise agreed upon.

Your pages will be returned via email. If you have a full manuscript reviewed that comes with a phone consultation, the phone consultation must be scheduled for a time no more than 2 weeks after return of full manuscript.

Mary respects your valuable time as a writer and trust that you will respect hers. Please understand that once she returns your material and completes any phone consultations your working arrangement is complete. She is always happy to chat with writers at events and signings, but she can’t “take another quick look” once you’ve revised your pages [unless, of course, you wish to purchase another critique].



She respects your confidentiality, either in written form or verbal discussion. She never shares your work with others and will destroy any electronically-submitted material you have sent to her two weeks after she has confirmation that you have received and saved the pages.



Mary is not an acquisition editor nor can she guarantee a sale of your material though if she is aware of an editor/or agent who might be seeking what you are writing she will share that information with you, if appropriate. She is not responsible for unsolicited material and if pages show up without prior arrangement they will be destroyed.



All fees are noted in US dollars only

5 opening pages for $30 – Analyzed for Hooks in opening sentences, opening paragraphs and at key points in the pages, ending hook, pacing, character development

30 opening pages - $85– Analyzed for Opening Hooks, Pacing, Set-up. This is a professional critical read-through and assessment of your manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses

75 opening pages - $200 (Includes a 30 minute phone conversation if scheduled within 2 weeks after return of pages.) This is the most critical part of the story where the key introductory information is inserted, major hooks are set, story questions are established and pacing must be strong.

Full manuscript up to 70,000 words - $350 (Includes a 30 minute phone conversation if scheduled within 2 weeks after return of pages.) *If you had the 75 page partial of this manuscript analyzed within six months of submitting this full manuscript deduct $75 from the $350 fee.

Full manuscript up to 100,000 words - $485 (Includes a 45 minute phone conversation if scheduled within 2 weeks after return of pages.) *If you had the 75 page partial of this manuscript analyzed within six months of submitting this full deduct $75 from the $485 fee.

Phone consultation [If after you’ve had 5 or 30 pages critiqued you would like additional clarification email Mary to arrange a phone appointment] – 30 minutes for $35
(Available to USA and Canadian Clients Only)

Query letter: A query letter, consisting of a one-page cover letter (single spaced) for $25

Synopsis: Short or long [up to 10 pages] – Mary will analyze your synopsis and return her critique with a bonus set of templates you can use to repeat the process on your own (one review of synopsis for fee) - for $75

Combination Query plus Synopsis (based on above stipulations): $90

Time sensitive material with specified deadline (must be arrange ahead of time): add $30 for query/synopis/5-30 pages; for longer projects add $50 for rush fee



For 5 or 30 page analysis - Payment in full via either Paypal or by check prior to submitting pages

For all other manuscript pages – 50% of fee is payable prior to submitting pages and the 50% balance is payable when Mary notifies you that she’s completed the review of your pages. Upon receiving the final payment, she will send the pages. If a phone consultation is included, she’ll discuss a mutually agreeable time via email.



*Please note – Published or Unpublished may take advantage of this, but if you are unpublished I will ask for some pages in advance so that you are ready to do this as this is not for a brand new writers.

CRITIQUE OF PARTIAL (within 6 months after retreat)
Or, if this is for a published author, CRITIQUE of 3-page synopsis/outline

I do not guarantee that you will sell your story since there is no one, not even an agent or editor, who can guarantee that. However, I will give your story the same time and attention and expertise that I have given to authors on stories that went on to debut on the New York Times and USA Today Best sellers list.


Published writers - Contact me to discuss scheduling and include an ISBN of your latest Book in print (not an e-book format). You will need to supply a one page premise and a page of back story on your protagonist (or protagonists if a romance).

Writers not yet published in print format – You need to have completed at least one novel of 70,000 + words. If so, send me the first ten pages of that story and up to 3 pages of synopsis. * These pages are only to show me your writing – I will not be critiquing them. Once I read your pages, I can let you know if I think you will benefit by what I have to share. I don’t want you spending time and money until you can take full advantage of this program. It’s not for the faint of heart, but someone who is ready to push their writing up to a higher level.

I will either work with you in Port Townsend, WA where I live or I will meet you in Seattle at a hotel near the airport or I will come to your city. See below for total cost depending on where we meet.


The cost for this two-day program of exclusive time that will include discussions on any publishing topic during meals - $1250

Once I have reserved a date to work with you, you will have one week to pay 50% to hold that date. The 50% balance is due no later than one month in advance of the date.
* If you have to reschedule I will work out a new reservation date for you. If you cancel any time up until one month prior to your scheduled time, you will receive what you have paid less 25%.
* There is no refund for canceling within one month of your reserved date, but you can reschedule.
* If you do not pay the 50% deposit within a week of being given notice of your reservation date, you may lose that date.


* You are responsible for your travel costs or for mine if I come to you.
* If you come to Port Townsend, WA there will be no additional travel cost for me.
* If you want me to meet you in Seattle, WA there will be an additional $200 to cover my expenses.
* If I come to your city, the additional cost of my flight, hotel and any hired transportation will be agreed upon in advance and these costs will be paid no later than one month prior to the reserved date, in addition to the 50% deposit.
* NOTE – If I come to your city, this reserved date can only include one more person IF that is your writing partner. If you have a writing friend who would like to book two additional days while I’m in your city to work in their book – they will need to complete the qualification guidelines above prior to discussing a reservation date.

The point of this program is to help those writers who are “so close to publishing, but not able to push over the edge” or published authors who want to write bigger books. Or someone who just needs a strong brainstorm partner who is ready for this program.


For any questions, contact Mary at .


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