Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 23, 2017

June Featured Editor – Allison Wortche – Interview – Part Two

Many of you will remember Allison Wortche, since she attended many of the NJSCBWI events during my 10 years as Regional Advisor. Allison is a very good editor and a very nice person. When Allison contacted me about her new company Allison Wortche Editorial Services, I asked her to be our guest editor this month and critique four of our first pages. I was happy to introduce her to everyone – especially since many of you ask for my advice on finding someone to help you polish your manuscript for publication.


Allison Wortche is a freelance editor with over twelve years of experience in children’s publishing. As a senior editor at Knopf Books for Young Readers/Random House, Allison acquired and edited picture books and middle-grade and YA novels. She worked with bestselling and award-winning authors including Jennifer Niven, Cath Crowley, Amy Timberlake, Deborah Hopkinson, Jean Reagan, Barb Rosenstock, Jen Bryant, and Il Sung Na. The books Allison edited in her years at Knopf garnered over 50 starred reviews and included New York Times bestsellers, a Caldecott Honor Book, a Newbery Honor Book, Edgar Award winners, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book, ALA Notables, and YALSA BFYAs.

Allison is also the author of Rosie Sprout’s Time to Shine, illustrated by Patrice Barton. She graduated summa cum laude from the College of William and Mary with a BA in English and Psychology. She lives in New York with her husband, three-year-old, and new baby.

Allison has recently launched Allison Wortche Editorial Services. With her knowledge of the children’s marketplace and publishing process, she offers editorial and creative guidance to authors of picture books through YA. She loves words, characters, and stories—and she loves working with writers to help strengthen their manuscripts. For more information, please contact her at

Here is Part Two of my interview with Allison:

How do you charge? Time – page amount – pre-fixed price?

Fees are agreed upon at the start of each job and determined by the length and scope of the project. I charge $400 for a full picture book edit and around $2,000 for a full novel edit (adjusted based on page count). For each manuscript, I provide a detailed editorial letter with clear suggestions for revision, as well as close line edits using Track Changes. Also included is a brief follow-up phone call or email exchange to give writers the opportunity to ask questions about the edits and industry, brainstorm ideas, etc.

Is a follow-up look at the manuscript part of the price?
A follow-up look isn’t part of the price, but I am happy to review revisions for a significantly reduced fee.

Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?

I see many picture books that feel didactic rather than story/character-driven, as well as rhyming picture books in which the word choice and overall storytelling feel forced. In novels, I often come across dialogue that feels unnatural, secondary characters that are underdeveloped, and uneven pacing. This isn’t a “mistake,” but as an acquiring editor, I often had to pass on submissions that felt too familiar—just not quite fresh enough, and too similar to what’s already out there in the crowded and competitive marketplace.

Is a phone consultation something you do?

I have not been doing initial phone consultations but as mentioned, I do offer follow-up phone calls.

How long do you take to read a manuscript novel and get back to the writer?

It depends on how many projects I have on my desk, and I am upfront about the time frame. My goal is 2 weeks for picture books and 4 weeks for novels.

How many books at Knopf did you have full responsibility for editing?

I was the editor of about 55 lovely books in my years at Knopf.

Are you working on developing a website for your new business?

Yes, I’m hoping to have it up and running this summer.

Are you still writing picture books?

I am! I have a few projects in the works now, so fingers crossed.… 



In the subject line, please write “June 2017  Critique” and paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it’s a picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page). REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED!

Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.
PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.

DEADLINE: June 22nd.
RESULTS: June 30th.

Please only submit one first page a month, but do try again if your first page wasn’t one of the pages randomly picked. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: