professional book editing services

Book Editing, Proofreading, Book Design,

Indexing, and Manuscript Submission Services

Children's Book Editor and Writer

Childrens Book Illustrator

MARLO GARNER is an editor, writing teacher, published children's author, and working illustrator, and her multifaceted experience provides a unique perspective on children’s books and the children’s publishing industry.

Marlo has been editing children's books and teaching writing since the late 1990s. She is on faculty at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Continuing Education and teaches Writing for Children's Books, Writing Chapter Books for Children, and various writing and revision workshops. As a teacher with many years’ experience, Marlo believes in not only editing and developing her clients’ work, but in teaching them to become better writers along the way—equipping them with knowledge they will need as they continue on their journey, while keeping the integrity and unique voice of each author’s work.

Marlo works in a freelance editorial and art direction capacity for a number of small publishers. As an illustrator and art director, Marlo understands the finely balanced relationship between image and word in an illustrated text, and can provide important advice for both writers and illustrators.

As a several times (traditionally) published children’s author, Marlo understands how to navigate the submissions process, and will help you perfect your query or cover letter—a vital step to having an editor or agent read your work with a positive eye. She’ll ensure your work is formatted to industry standards and expectations, so your work looks thoroughly professional.

Marlo is passionate about all sub-genres of children's books, and is published in the middle grade and picture book markets, including rhyming verse and poetry. She is currently writing a middle grade adventure novel, a YA urban fantasy, and illustrating a picture book. Marlo is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA).

Editing Services

  • Writing instruction and mentoring
  • Copyediting and proofreading
  • Developmental/substantive editing
  • Correct formatting for submission to publishers and agents
  • Critiques with writing instruction
  • Editing and development of cover letters and query letters (free with any contracted service)
  • Help understanding the submission process
  • Art direction, and advice for illustrators
  • Illustration

Specialty—Children's books:

  • Picture books
  • Poetry, including rhyming verse
  • Children’s magazine submissions
  • Chapter books
  • Middle grade novels
  • YA (young adult)
  • Graphic novels
  • Children's non-fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Illustration, illustration and design critiques, art direction, and advice for aspiring illustrators.

Other specialties

  • Chick-lit
  • Crime
  • Fantasy
  • Illustration, illustration critiques and advice for aspiring illustrators.
  • US English to UK English, UK English to US English

Books Published/Edited

Writing for Children

Published author:

Eat Your Cheese, Ginny Giles (Clean Slate Press 2010)

On Your Skis, Ginny Giles (Clean Slate Press 2010)

Scratch Your Fleas Ginny Giles (Clean Slate Press 2010)

Let's Visit Space (Macmillan McGraw-Hill 2007)

Author at Work, Dr Seuss (forthcoming, Macmillan McGraw-Hill)

Little Bird's Internet Security Adventure (AVG Internet Security 2011)

Eat Your Cheese book cover Eat Your Cheese book cover Scratch Your Flease book cover childrens book editors Galaxy Watch book cover
Grandma's Place book cover childrens book editors Little Bird Johnny Graphic - editor Marlo Garner Restricted Waters - editor, Marlo Garner

Published editing projects

Bubblegum Princess, by Julie Gribble (NY Media Works 2013)

OMG, Am I a Witch?, Talia Aikens-Nunez (Pinwheel Books 2013)

We Are Twins!, Sylvia Westphal (Pinwheel Books 2013)

All About Poop, Hayes and Vaughan (Pinwheel Books 2012)

Bronte and Frank Go to Beverly Hills by Megan Worthy (Worthy Hen Productions 2012)

Dylan's Day, Tim Hutchinson (Pinwheel Books 2012)

Johnny Graphic and the Etheric Bomb, by D.R. Martin, (Conger Road Press 2012)

Johnny Graphic and the Attack of the Zombies, by D.R. Martin, (Conger Road Press 2012)

The Karma of King Harald, Richard Audry (Conger Road Press 2012)

Oh Fiddlesticks!, Tanji Dewberry

Restricted Waters, Kara Lynn Conyer (Waterhouse Books 2012)

Growing Up Duck by Heidi Francine (Off the Bookshelf 2011)

Silly Willy Caterpilly by Heidi Francine (Off the Bookshelf 2011)

The Reluctant Dog by Dina Wills (Write On Publications 2011)

Bella and Harry, Let’s Visit Paris by Lisa Manzione (TriMark Press 2010)

Bella and Harry, Let’s Visit Venice by Lisa Manzione (TriMark Press 2010)

Bronte and Frank Go to Moscow by Megan Worthy (Worthy Hen Productions 2010)

Destiny’s Purpose, by Shannon Cassidy-Rouleau (Big Tent Books 2010)

Oogle Flip and the Planet Adventure (Magic World Media 2010)

The Galaxy Watch by Michelle Izmaylov (Mercury Publishing, Inc. 2009)

The Instructions for You (Magic World Media 2009)

Jig, Jiggle, Sneeze (Magic World Media 2009)

My Magic World (Magic World Media 2009)

Grandma's Place by James Stead (Windy Hollow Books 2008)

Jeremiah Bloom and the Amulet of Osiron (Blackbeard Books 2008)

Yes, I Can: The Story of Jim Wyllie by Robert S. Wyllie (Exeter Associates 2008)

The Murderer's Club by PD Martin (Macmillan Books 2006)

Body Count by PD Martin (Macmillan Books 2005)

The NOLS Cookery by Claudia Pearson (Stackpole Books 1997)

Cream and Pumpkin Scones by Aaron McPhail (agented)

Tutoring/teaching/editing children's books

Create a Kids' Book, Australia
Rhode Island School of Design/Continuing Education

Illustrations

Illustration of Infirm Pachyderm by Jane Yolen, Winner 1st Place "Published Division" NESCBWI 2013

Infirm Pachyderm

Cover for The Genie's Gift by Chris Eboch

The Genie's Gift

Cover for The Last Incan by Samantha Cleaver (Zoozil Media)

The Last Incan

illustration by book artist Marlo GarnerMythtic Pizza illustration by book artist Marlo Garner


Editing Articles

First Impressions Count: How to Format Your Picture Book Text

How to Use Embedded Comments

One Thing You Need to Get Traditionally Published: A Hearty Dose of Rejection

Query Letter Basics for the Children's Book Market

What's Wrong with My Story?

Why You Need a Children’s Picture Book Editor

For more information about Marlo Garner, read her self-interview

Feedback / Testimonials

"I have worked with Marlo twice and both times she has provided me with a high level of service. I have learnt so much about my craft and have received quick responses to any queries or questions I’ve had. I feel more confident about sharing my worth with others." - S. Cunningham

"Marlo did an amazing job in making my book nicer, easier and clearer to read. The rhythm is smooth and flows perfectly now. She made important remarks on my writing in relation to the age of my readers. Marlo found areas that would have been a mistake to leave as is. She saved my book from being misunderstood. I was very fortunate she knew what I really wanted to express and thanks to her my book now totally make sense. All her suggestions were thorough and clear. It was easy for me to understand them and find a way to rewrite what need to be changed. She did a lot of rewriting for me and I am very pleased with it." - Anne

"Marlo was the perfect choice for my childrens book project. She was quick, through and right on with suggestions and comments. She had a feel for my story. Good email correspondence, timely communication and priced right." - J Shoop

"I don’t usually write children’s books, so it was helpful to find someone who knew the field well. It’s difficult to find editors or consultants online using a basic search; a centralized system made it a lot easier." (On file with network coordinator)

"Marlo is exceptional. She was always prompt with answering my emails which I appreciate. I have learned and grown as a writer in a short time." (On file with network coordinator)

"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

"The network was very user friendly, and I felt safe finding a consultant through the network. 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

"I had never sought out editing services before, so I was a bit apprehensive to contact you. Now I am truly pleased that I did. I am so satisfied with both the professionalism of the network and the services rendered by the Ms. Garner. The edits I received were respectful, most valuable, and of the highest quality. I would not hesitate to pursue her services in the future and to recommend your network to other writers." (on file with network coordinator)

"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

"The network responded quickly to my request to find a copy editor for my project. 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 (editing/critique)

"I feel that Marlo surpassed my expectations in many ways, especially her specific notes in my manuscript critique. She was right on with her comments. My story feels so much more polished now. I'm very happy with the results." (On file with network coordinator)

"Marlo not only edited my manuscript beautifully, she got my story and my characters. Her comments were insightful and sensitive. Many times I thought, I can't believe I didn't see that! This was my first time using an editor, and it was money well-spent."” (On file with network coordinator)

"Marlo's editing and critique of my manuscript were superior in every way. As a first time writer, I was not familiar with what to expect from editing. Marlo provided invaluable insights about my story that far exceeded my expectations. As well, she most kindly shared a wealth of writing resources to encourage my development as a writer. My recommendation of her expertise is without qualification.  Thank you so much for creating this great resource for working with editing professionals." (Contact info on request)

"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

"I am very pleased with the service I received. I requested Marlo though the book editing network and heard back from her very quickly. She clearly outlined what services she could provide along with a quote for services. The results were exactly what I was looking for: an unbiased, clear appraisal of my work along with concrete suggestions of how to improve my story. I would strongly recommend Marlo's services to any writer who needs help bringing their words to life." (On file with network coordinator)

"If my manuscript makes it to the bookshelves, I have Marlo to thank for it. It's hard to imagine that you could get a better consultant than her." (On file with network coordinator)

"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

"I felt very comfortable using this network to find an editor for my manuscript. 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)

"Marlo did an amazing job! Thorough editing with kind words to motivate and encourage. She allowed me to see things from a different perspective and pointed things out that I wouldn't have thought of on my own She also provided lots of follow up information for me to proceed with my novel as well as ways for me to continue to learn and grow. I feel it was money well spent and would encourage others to hire her! If you want to improve your novel, this is the way to go." (Contact info on request.)

"Marlo made me think about things that I had not even considered. Her alternate perspective on my work made me realize that I had not read my work from the viewpoint of a new reader. Marlo's honesty was invaluable." (Contact information 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 provided very constructive critique. I feel confident that, with her feedback, I can significantly improve my manuscript. Equally important was Marlo's tone: how she gave me the feedback. She was both encouraging but also realistic. She reinforced how much more work lies ahead (getting agents and what not) … but she also gave me the confidence that I will be moving forward with my best possible product. If I ever get published, Marlo will definitely make my credits :)" (Contact information on request)

"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 was accessible, helpful and extremely knowledgeable. I am looking forward to the beginning of a wonderful work relationship!" (Contact information on request)

"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 have previously used Marlo's services and she continuously provides excellent service. Her comments and thoughts force me to look at my stories in a different light, which, therefore, provides me with the tools necessary to improve my work." -(Contact information on request)

"I was very impressed with Marlo's attention to detail. Marlo was always available for all my questions, and her comments and suggestions greatly improved my story." - Lori Pietrowski

"Marlo was a pleasure to work with and I will absolutely use her again in the future." - Marci Traylor

"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 was  immensely helpful  and 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 Garner 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 (Forthcoming WindyHollow 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 a  lovely 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

"Ms. Garner proved to be very professional and exceeded all expectations. She took my low budget allowance seriously which indicates a high moral value on her part. She made notes which were valid, positive and were easy to comprehend. I'm nearing the completion of my rewrite and have learned a great deal from her notes. It is my hope that Ms. Garner will assist me in all the children's books I intend writing." (Contact information on request)

"Marlo edited my novel with a thoroughness and depth far beyond my expectations. Her literary insights inspired me. Her grammatical acuity astounded me. And her attention to detail left not one errant comma to deal with. All of this is eclipsed by her keen sense of diplomacy. Hire her. You'll get your money's worth." - John Tkac

"Wow! Even more than I expected. A great experience. Very professional. Thanks, Marlo."(Contact information on request)

"Marlo's comments, suggestions and constructive criticism demonstrated both keen technical insight as well as a surprising degree of sensitivity to the spirit of my story. Her thought-provoking comments have allowed me to envision an entirely new approach to telling my story that will resonate much better with the young readers for whom my book is intended." - M. Rupp

"Marlo provided valuable insights, commentary, suggestions, and guidance for moving forward with my manuscript. She also gave me a greater understanding the publishing world. It was a pleasure to work with her and I very much appreciate the time she spent with my manuscript." (On file with coordinator)

"It is obvious that Marlo loves what she does. It had been a while since I had worked on my manuscript and I was having doubts about my ability as a writer. Sometimes I felt like saying 'what am I doing, thinking I can write a novel,' but Marlo read my manuscript and after a few encouraging words and some wonderful suggestions I soon felt the passion and confidence that made me want to tell my story in the first place. Her comments and corrections were precise, easy to follow, and filled with kindness. During our time working together she said, 'Passion, patience and perseverance = the three P's for success.' I think that will be my motto as I pursue my career in the world of writing." Michael Holm