2nd Draft Query Letter Editors

Our 2nd Draft writing editors will give you expert writing advice on your query letter. They will provide a writing critique and tips on how to write a query letter for a novel, memoir, or nonfiction book. If you want writing advice from published authors, an honest writing critique, and guidance on revising your work then our 2nd Draft service is for you! Many of our critique editors are also WDU online workshop instructors. Check out our course offerings under the above left WORKSHOPS link!


Testimonial:

"I found 2nd Draft extremely helpful in stripping down my query letter so that now it’s a more meaningful pitch. You made less better by showing me how to eliminate a lot of extraneous info that agents don’t need to read to get the gist of my novel. Thanks again." Erinn (2022)

Meet the Editors

Jack Adler

Jack Adler has been a full-time freelance writer since 1974, drawing upon his previous business experience for his writing specialties: travel, health, recreation, and leisure articles. A full-time job as feature editor of Travel Weekly helped lead Jack to becoming a columnist, on a freelance basis, for the travel section of the Los Angeles Times for 15 years; he wrote two columns: Consumer Report and Bargain Corner. He has also been a columnist for Westways and Cruise Travel magazines, West Coast Bureau Chief for Travel Trade, and a columnist/editorial writer for Better Business Traveling. Currently, he is the leader of the travel bulletin board for Aantares.

Jack’s most recent book, Make Steady Money As A Travel Writer-Without Traveling was published in April 2009. His other published books include Splendid Seniors: Great Lives/Great Deeds, Consumer’s Guide to Travel, Exploring Historic California, Travel Safety: Security At Home & Abroad (co-authored), Companion Guide to Southern India, and There’s a Bullet Hole in Your Window, a nonfiction collection of his own travel experiences. Jack has recently had several novels published, including Ditsy and Champion and a historical trilogy, Parthian Retreat, Seres Sanctuary, and Parthian Karma. Jack also has had several e-books published: How to Break in as a Travel Writer and two novels, Blind Gods and A Savage Duty. Other novels include a travel adventure series: City Havoc, The Impresario of Terror, Irish Spring, The Rage of Kali, and The Sperm Farm.

Jack’s magazine credits include Let’s Live, Shape, Venture, Friendly Exchange, Transitions Abroad, Gentlemen, Off Duty, Home & Away, Discovery, Cruise Travel, Journey and Rice, among others. Jack also developed the Essentials of Travel Writing workshop for Writers Online Workshops.

Jack is interested in Freelance: Travel, Health, Recreation, and Leisure Articles. Fiction: Historical, thriller, political.

Danielle Barthel 

Following her completion of the Denver Publishing Institute after graduation, Danielle began interning at Writers House. While there, she realized she wanted to put her English degree and love of the written word to work at a literary agency. After five years, she shifted her focus to doing freelance editorial work, and is now a copywriter at her day job. She is most interested in MG, YA, and adult fiction manuscripts (contemporary, fantasy, romance).

Mort Castle

Mort Castle is a horror author and a writing teacher who has published over 500 short stories. Twice a winner of the Black Quill award, seven times a Bram Stoker Award nominee, Castle edited On Writing Horror, the primary reference work for dark fiction authors. Mort specialized in horror, dark fantasy, literary, historical, how-to, Pop Fiction, comics/graphic novel. 

Jess Dallow

She has a BFA in Writing for Film and Television from the University of the Arts and worked in entertainment for eight years before returning to her home state of NY where she worked at a literary agency for two years before joining Brower Literary & Management. Jess specialized in YA, adult. contemporary, thriller, romance, crime, & women's fiction.

Margaret Danko

Originally from the heart of the south, Margaret Danko received her BA from Oberlin College before pursuing an MFA from Temple University. While there, she climbed the ranks to become an editor of TINGE Magazine, publishing fiction, essays, and poetry. She has worked as a freelance editor and media consultant. A lover of the dark, the quirky, and the fantastical, Margaret has a keen eye for projects that take unexpected turns or are told from unusual perspectives. Margaret specializes in literary fiction with teeth, historical fiction with a dash of magical realism, fresh literary and commercial suspense, spooky contemporary and fantasy YA, narratives with a deep sense of place and history, quirky and heartwarming family stories, and rom-coms full of charm and whimsy. She is also interested in nonfiction in the areas of humor, lifestyle, popular science, health/wellness, true crime, and current affairs. 


Ashley Golden

Coming soon.

 

Jackie Lindert

Jackie holds a B.A. in professional writing and book publishing from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and a certificate from the Denver Publishing Institute. After nearly a decade working in NYC at both literary agencies and a big 5 publisher, they are now based in Chicago and splits their time working for a literary scouting agency and freelance editing. Jackie specializes in middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction of all genres (and select narrative non-fiction), but is especially drawn to commercial fantasy and sci-fi; contemporary women’s fiction; LGBTQ characters; and all coming-of-age stories.  


Cherri Randall

Cherri Randall teaches creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. She has an MFA in poetry and a PhD in English literature from the University of Arkansas. She has published in Blue Earth Review, Mudfish, The Potomac Review, So to Speak and several other journals as well as the anthology Impact (Telling Our Stories Press). Her favorite writers include Toni Morrison, Anne McCaffrey, and Lee Child.

Jordan E. Rosenfeld

Jordan E. Rosenfeld has been writing for the better part of 20 years. She holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from the Hutchins School and an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Jordan has taught private writing workshops at a wide range of institutions including the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Gavilan College, the California Writer’s Club, and at conferences such as East of Eden and Mendocino Writers’ Conferences. Jordan critiques items that are 50 pages or less.


Jeff Suess

Jeff Suess is the author of Lost Cincinnati, Hidden History of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Then and Now, AAC 150, Cincinnati: An Illustrated Timeline, and Tomorrowland: The Past, Present, and Future of Disney’s Most Changed Land. He is a history columnist and librarian at the Cincinnati Enquirer. Jeff also writes fiction and has had stories published by Pocket Books, Post Mortem Press, and DC Comics. Jeff specializes in science fiction, fantasy, historical non-fiction, historical fiction.

Jaida Temperly

Jaida is a full-time freelance editor with a knack for world building, plot structuring, and character development. She brings over 10 years of editorial experience to the table, from working with New York Times & USA Today bestselling authors while an agent at New Leaf Literary & Media, to teaching writing and craft courses at universities and writers' conferences, including SCBWI, Columbia University, Yale University, Horror Writers Association, and others. While her favorite genres include fantasy, magical realism, science fiction, and literary fiction, she also loves diving into a well-plotted thriller, psychological suspense, or historical fiction manuscript.

As a literary agent, Jaida worked on notable fiction such as THE GRACE YEAR by Kim Liggett, DESTROY ALL MONSTERS by Jeff Jackson, and THEY COME IN ALL COLORS by Malcolm Hansen. She also provided editorial assistance on projects such as SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo, A SNICKER OF MAGIC by Natalie Lloyd, FROST BLOOD by Elly Blake, and THE WOMEN IN THE WALLS by Amy Lukavics. She has had the pleasure of seeing many of these titles go on to become national and international bestsellers, film adaptations, and award winners.

Jaida is a voracious reader who genuinely loves the world of editing and story. She brings a sense of humor, an eye for detail, and a direct, professional approach to every project she takes on.

Terri Valentine

The writing career of romance novelist Terri Valentine is truly a Cinderella story. An avid reader all of her life, she began writing her first historical romance in the summer of 1985 on an old Smith-Corona manual typewriter. To date, she has ten romance novels and a Christmas short story in publication. Sweet Paradise was nominated for Best Romance Adventure by Romantic Times and Louisiana Caress received a coveted K.I.S.S (Knight in Shining Silver) Award from Romantic Times. At present she is under contract for two more historicals, and she is currently working on a high-concept romantic novel that her agent anxiously awaits. She has also written a screenplay that is in production rewrites.

Carolyn Walker

 A former journalist, Carolyn Walker is the author of the memoir Every Least Sparrow, a book about raising her daughter Jennifer, who has the rare Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome.

Her creative nonfiction has appeared in The Southern Review, Hunger Mountain, Columbia: A Journal, The Writer’s Chronicle, Gravity Pulls You In: Parenting Children on the Autism Spectrum, HOUR Detroit, The Detroit News, and many other publications. Her essay “Christian Becomes a Blur,” published in the literary journal Crazyhorse, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

In 2013, she was made a Kresge Fellow in the Literary Arts by the Kresge Foundation.

Walker is a creative writing instructor for Writer’s Digest University and other organizations. She has led writing workshops in Michigan, Vermont, Nantucket, and Newfoundland. She earned her Master of Fine Arts in Writing degree from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2004.