Editorial Services & Sensitivity Reading


I offer freelance editing and sensitivity reading (no short stories, graphic novels, picture books, or nonfiction, please). I pride myself on my attention to detail and structure alike, as well as my accessibility and friendliness. I’m always happy to answer questions about my editorial suggestions or help brainstorm plans of attack for no extra cost. I will push you to make your materials the best they can be without encroaching on your vision.

More detailed information about me is on my About page, but in summary:

  • I’m a YA writer represented by Heather Flaherty at The Bent Agency.
  • I’ve interned with Stonesong, Entangled Publishing, and a literary agent I can’t publicly name for a combined total of two and a half years.
  • I’m a volunteer with Beth Phelan’s #DVPit, where I offer free pitch critiques for entrants.
  • I’ve sensitivity read for a variety of authors, including New York Times bestsellers, award winners, and indie-published debut authors.
  • I’ve edited for authors who have gone on to sign with agents and sell their manuscripts to publishers.
  • I’m happy to work directly with a writer or with their agent or editor.

My services, pricing, and contact form are below. Please do get in touch with me at markobrienbooks AT gmail DOT com if you have any questions. I can’t wait to work with you!

Note: I only work with YA and MG fiction for editing, and I’m open to all genres in those categories. For sensitivity reading, I work with MG, YA, and adult fiction.

What I offer:

Query edit: $15 (one round; any additional rounds are $5)

What I’ll do: Edit everything from structure and format to diction and punctuation. Offer a thorough critique pointing out areas that need improvement and writing long strings of exclamation points when I love something. Make sure every word counts—and shines.

Submission package: $30 (one round; any additional rounds are $15)

What I’ll do: Edit your query and the first thirty pages of your manuscript (roughly 7,500 words). Agents often want sample pages included with the query, and it’s vital that your opening pages draw them in. I’ll help ensure your pages are the best they can be.

Reader’s report: $0.003/word (for example, $150 for 50,000 words)

What I’ll do: Drawing upon my two and a half years of experience writing these for agents and editors, I’ll review your full manuscript and write a reader’s report (two pages at the minimum). This will break down what works in your manuscript, what doesn’t, and how to improve.

Full manuscript line edit: $0.006/word (for example, $300 for 50,000 words)

What I’ll do: Review your full manuscript, leaving suggestions, questions, and hearts via Microsoft Word’s track changes. Note every problem area I find on a line-level scale and suggest how to fix them. Ensure you walk away happy with your manuscript.

Full manuscript developmental edit: $0.007/word (for example, $350 for 50,000 words)

What I’ll do: Review your full manuscript with an eye for the big-picture problem areas. If you’re concerned about elements like pacing, character, and plot, this is the option for you! I’ll leave notes in the manuscript in track changes in addition to writing you a comprehensive edit letter.

Sensitivity reading

If you’ve done your research and want to get an #ownvoices perspective on your manuscript, I’d love to help. I work with all categories and genres for sensitivity reads, and I’m more than happy to answer as many questions as you have, free of charge, after you’ve reviewed my notes. Here’s what I can provide sensitivity reading feedback on: queerness (gay cisgender man), depression, anxiety, ADHD, suicidal ideation, and psychosis (auditory hallucinations).

Full manuscript sensitivity read for 60,000 to 100,000 words: $250

For manuscripts below 60k or above 100k, contact me through the form below or at markobrienbooks AT gmail DOT com to negotiate rates.


“I’m incredibly grateful to have Mark’s eyes on my work—he’s read my queries, synopses, and manuscripts in both sensitivity reading and editing capacities. Not only is he an excellent sensitivity reader for gay male characters, but he provides helpful, incisive feedback in other areas. I’m most impressed with his line editing. Mark has a gift for making every word count. He picks up on filler words I don’t notice, stilted dialogue, inconsistent flow, and other issues. He also challenges me to use each and every line to add to the story, something I’m not always the best at. All in all, it is a joy to work with Mark.”

—Camryn Garrett, author of FULL DISCLOSURE (Knopf Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House, fall 2019)

“Mark is an incredibly knowledgeable and sharp-eyed editor. His way with voice, nuance, and prose is remarkably skilled. He has a talent for seeing what’s special about a manuscript and bringing that out in edits, as well as finding means to push characters and emotion deeper in natural and effective ways. He’s patient and always enthusiastic, cheering his clients on and providing wonderful guidance and support. Mark’s industry knowledge is extensive and allows him to steer clients away from pitfalls and boost the most marketable elements of their manuscripts. His knowledge of young adult fiction is particularly keen, and anyone who gets the chance to work with him is lucky indeed!”

—Kate Brauning, senior editor at Entangled Publishing and author of HOW WE FALL (Simon Pulse)

“I found Mark after hearing glowing reviews of his work from multiple colleagues and am so glad I did! Mark was thorough, thoughtful, professional and extremely prompt. His insights were invaluable, and I highly recommend his skills for whatever project you’re working on.”

—Kelly Loy Gilbert, author of 2016 William C. Morris Award finalist CONVICTION and PICTURE US IN THE LIGHT (Disney-Hyperion)

“Mark’s sensitivity read was exactly what I needed before diving into revisions. He not only provided careful feedback pinpointing specific areas that would benefit from adjustment and why, but his overall editorial suggestions were equally helpful in determining what I needed to address in my next round of revisions. I definitely recommend Mark for writers looking for professional feedback to help guide them while reworking their manuscripts, and would happily work with him again.”

—Ava Jae, author of the Beyond the Red trilogy (Sky Pony Press/Skyhorse Publishing)

“Working with Mark was one the best choices that I made during the process of writing Hold! I originally contacted him as a sensitivity reader, and his feedback on that front was exceptional, but he also provided thoughtful suggestions about characterization and voice that were invaluable during the revision process. Hire Mark. You won’t regret it!”

—Rachel Davidson Leigh, author of HOLD (Duet Books/Interlude Press)


Please submit your initial information through the form below, or email me at markobrienbooks AT gmail DOT com.

For editorial services, please be sure to include your manuscript’s word count and a summary, whether a query letter or a short pitch.

For sensitivity reading, please indicate your manuscript’s word count and the area(s) on which you’d like to see feedback.

*Note: I cannot guarantee you will sign with an agent or be offered a contract with a publishing house as a result of receiving and incorporating my edits.

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