Introduction | Rates and services | Resume | Testimonials | Books I've edited
I've always been a bit skeptical about the testimonials seen on many consultant's web sites, but I realize that I'm not known to everyone, and that they might help introduce you to what I do. Here are a few from clients of mine. I hope you find them informative, but I hope you'll also review the information about me in the Books I've Edited and Resume pages linked to above.
From a published author of fiction and nonfiction:
"I've been fortunate to work with Harold both as my editor at a trade publishing house and as an editorial consultant on my self-published work. Harold's depth of experience and perception help him provide an invaluable breadth of useful feedback and suggestions--all carefully weighed and considered. This allows me to improve all levels of my writing from plotting and character development to organization and content."
-- Sneed B. Collard III, author of Hopping Ahead of Climate Change—Snowshoe Hares, Science, and Survival
From a small press I worked with for years:
"Harold Underdown has been a key success factor in our company's publishing project since day one. Our mission is to reissue a classic series of children's biographical fiction that was first published more than 50 years ago. Harold has edited each one of our current 6 books and done a remarkable job in retaining the flavor of the original text while making it more readable for today's children. Two of our books have won national awards, and Harold has played a huge part in achieving that level of excellence. He is a delight to work with, meets deadlines, and is a professional in every sense of the word. I recommend him highly."
-- Florrie Binford Kichler, former president, Patria Press, Inc. (and past President of the IBPA)
From a published novelist, about her middle-grade novel, which is being published several years after I worked on it with her:
"Your critique helped me to keep the faith in my manuscript. Your assessment said essentially, 'This is good. But it's not finished.' You then pointed out specific plot, setting and characters that needed depth, spurring me to roll up my sleeves and get down to the real work of revision. The road to publication has been a long one, and you were an important road sign on that path."
Natalie Lorenzi, author of Flying the Dragon
From another published novelist:
"Harold Underdown provided a specific, succinct, and highly useful critique of my manuscript after I'd taken it as far as I felt I could on my own. He pointed out weaknesses in the plot, characters that needed more fleshing out and more empathy, and opportunities to strengthen themes, all for a reasonable fee. His feedback was invaluable to me in taking my writing--not just that manuscript--to the next level. I'd recommend his service to all writers who are serious about improving their craft."
--Christine MacLean, author of How It's Done, a Book Sense Pick.
From a self-published author:
"Harold Underdown is easily one of the best children's book editors in the business. As the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, his credentials are indisputable. I've hired him for line-editing and general editing on several children's picture books as well as two middle grade projects. Harold is serious, thorough, professional, and always incredibly insightful.
"I publish nothing without first having his input. His editing expertise runs the gamut of writing, illustrating, and publishing. He offers advice and suggestions on word choice, sentence structure, plot, pacing, dialogue, character development, and everything else. He also has an eagle's eye regarding illustrations, commenting on style, perspective, characters' facial expressions, even the absence of elbows and the thickness of lines. At times he's superhuman, seeing through problems and isolating inconsistencies with powers above and beyond the average mortal editor. He also offers concrete solutions and guidance for fixing each and every issue."
--Scott Sussman, author and publisher.
From a picture book writer, who sent me a dozen manuscripts:
"I contacted Harold Underdown regarding his editorial services because I wanted an honest opinion from someone within the business regarding the marketability of my work. I wanted to know which of my manuscripts I should focus on and which should be set aside. Not only did he help me in that respect, but he also gave me valuable information on why some of my manuscripts were not working. He pointed out things I needed to consider changing, and why; things I hadn't read in books -- or maybe I had read the information but didn't understand it until it was related to my own writing. Since his review, my writing has become much more focused and after using the suggestions he provided on one of my manuscripts, I was able to find an agent to represent it."
From an author who moved forward:
"Your insights and comments were instrumental in helping me understand the strengths and weaknesses of my writing and, perhaps most importantly, enabling me to see my work through an editor's eyes.
"About six months after your critique of my work, I signed a contract with Dawn Publications for publication of my first picture book, Inside All, and had a short story accepted by Skipping Stones magazine ("Her Audience of Bees"). Then, about six months later, Houghton Mifflin acquired my picture book These Hands, which is due out in Fall 2010, illustrated by Floyd Cooper.
"I feel that I was able to make significant progress in moving my writing to the next level, thanks to your thoughtful, detailed feedback. "
From one of my critique clients:
"The revision is proceeding with deeper changes than I'd expected -- and, I believe, deeper improvements.
-- name withheld by request
From a recent thank-you note for a critique of a fantasy novel:
"Thank you for the insightful critique of my manuscript. I agreed with all of your comments, and was amazed by your thoroughness. I can see I have my work cut out for me, but now I'll know what direction to go--thanks to you."
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