Comprehensive, rigorous writing guidance and editorial feedback

Realize your writing goals with compassionate mentoring and constructive evaluation. 


*Member of the Editorial Freelancer's Association

Story/Developmental Edit & Critique

I provide comprehensive, professional writing guidance and editorial feedback to writers of all genres and experience levels. I will seek to bring out the best in your writing style, voice, and story through rigorous, constructive evaluation that focuses on narrative and character arc, plot development, pacing, dialogue, setting, themes, as well as the clarity of your voice, the efficacy of your sentence structure, the rhythm of your language. My feedback will guide you into revisions to refine and tighten the art of your language and the craft of your story.

This story or developmental editing, as it's known, is an extensive process: a two-pass edit of a full-length novel or memoir (i.e. 80,000-100,000 words) requires about three months from start (my initial reading and feedback, your revisions, my second reading and feedback) to finish. Although I do not offer fact-check, line editing or proofreading services, my copy-editing addresses issues pertaining to grammar, mechanics, spelling, and/or style. My comments will be based on the Chicago Manual of Style, which is the guide used by most fiction editors. 

If this interests you and you have a completed draft of a novel or a memoir, I will complete a free sample edit of your work. Then we can decide together if you are ready for a substantive developmental edit and if I'm the right editor for your project. Pricing varies by length of project; $2500-3000 is the typical rate for a book-length project. All work must be pre-paid and is non-refundable. A "First 50 pages" evaluation is a flat rate of $500. 

If you are interested, let's talk! Send me an e-mail jcjohn8 at gmail dot com and I'll respond within 24 hours. 


The Literary Agent Query Letter. The Novel Synopsis.

Your goal is to see your novel or memoir in bookstores, libraries, and in the hands of readers. If you choose to pursue traditional publishing, the manuscript you spent months or years writing, revising, editing, and polishing must first be accepted by a literary agent, who will then submit it to publishers. Your calling card is your agent query letter. You have one page—four or five paragraphs, three hundred words—to sell your book, convey your voice, state your credentials, and make the case why—out of the thousands of queries an agent receives each year—your story is the one she or he should read and represent.

I offer a variety of freelance critique and editing services for your query letter and/or synopsis, and a package that includes a critique of the first ten pages of your manuscript. The options are detailed below. 


A query letter should be one page, 1"-margins on all sides, 12-point Times New Roman on a Word .doc or .docx

Initial Price: $100. This includes:

  • A review of your query and feedback via Track Changes.
  • A second review and critique of your query after you have made changes, as well as thorough proofreading.
  • Each additional pass: $10.
  • *Fiction and Memoir only


Synopsis should 1"-margins on all sides, 12-point Times New Roman on a Word .doc or .docx

One-page Synopsis (single spaced)

Initial Price: $100. This includes:

  • A review of your synopsis and feedback via Track Changes.
  • A second review and critique of your synopsis after you have made changes, as well as thorough proofreading.
  • Each additional pass: $10.

Up to five pages (double-spaced):

Initial Price: $150. This includes:

  • A review of your synopsis and feedback via Track Changes.
  • A second review and critique of your synopsis after you have made changes, as well as thorough proofreading.
  • Each additional pass: $15.


A standard submission package consists of a one-page query letter, a one- to two-page synopsis, and the first 10 pages of your manuscript.

Initial Price: $200. This includes:

  • A review of your query letter, synopsis, and the first 10 pages of your manuscript, feedback offered via Track Changes.
  • A second review and critique of your complete submission package after you have made changes.
  • Each additional pass: $25.


Coaching services are ideal for those interested in support, guidance, feedback, and accountability. I take a non-judgmental approach to your writing; my goal is to help you realize your vision. 

Initial consultation- a 30-minute phone call - to assess your needs and determine if we are a good fit, is free. 

My coaching and mentoring services are designed to meet your needs and goals. We'll establish a plan together, with regular deadlines. I will provide editorial feedback and we'll discuss how the work may be improved. I'll target specific craft issues with writing exercises, readings, and one-on-one discussion. Areas of commentary and mentoring include:  

  • Identifying issues with your work's narrative structure and craft elements such as character, description, metaphor, theme, plot.
  • Setting achievable goals for the development and completion of your work.
  • Identifying resources you need to support your writing.
  •  Developing realistic expectations of yourself, your writing time, and your career and managing the inner critic
  • All sessions will be completed by telephone or FaceTime unless otherwise requested.
  • All submissions must be formatted in Microsoft WORD, double-spaced, 1"-inch margins on all sides, 12-point Times New Roman. This equates to 250-300 words per page.

Writer Coaching Package Options

Option 1 –  : Writing has been a hobby and now you want to finish a project. Attending a writer’s conference and need advice on what to say to an editor or agent?  

  • One – 45 minute session and 2 follow up emails.
  • Read and critique the first 5 pages of your project.
  • Feedback on story premise from a creative and marketing standpoint.

 Price – $200  

Option 2 –: Are you serious about publication, but need help making it happen? We’ll address goal setting, time management, organization, and development of the project, to include: story structure, character development, goal, motivation and conflict or whatever YOU decide you’d like to discuss.  

  • Two – 60 minute sessions and up to 5 follow up emails a month.
  • Written summary of content of conversation.
  • A list of resources to assist you.
  • A critique of 3,000 words of your project or synopsis (1st month)
  • Feedback on five pages of the project per month (subsequent months)

 Price – $250 a month  

Option 3 – You’ve finished a project and you need intensive assistance to make revisions.  

  • One – 60 phone session and 10 follow up emails (first month only).
  • Four – 30 phone sessions and up to 10 follow up emails a month (subsequent months).  
  • Written summary of content of conversation during the sessions.
  • A list of resources to assist you.
  • A substantive analysis of the first 5,000 words of your project and synopsis (first month).
  • Critique/feedback of 10 pages of your project (each subsequent month).

Price – $350 1st month and $250 each subsequent month (2 month minimum). 


I’m still feeling echoes of the trust and vulnerability that was demonstrated in the room during your workshop on Saturday. It was special to witness the way you invited those things out. I just want to acknowledge your wonderful gifts as a teacher.
— Jenn H., workshop participant
I’m sitting here in awe of the experience and wanted to reach out to you and thank you for the “you are a writer” statement that I’ve used as crutch and motivation as I continue to put one word in front of the other on this curious adventure.
— Jen K., workshop participant
Dear Julie,
Came home and wrote for hours. Thank you for your inspiration and for the great gift you are making of yourself.
— Tricia K, BARN writing workshop participant
Your feedback is fantastic. I am very appreciative of your viewpoint and experience as you bring up valid issues.
— Lisa B., query letter client
You’ve been wonderfully responsive – and very clear about what you think doesn’t work. The hardest part has figuring out what to cut, and you convinced me to make smart decisions that other friends who write well failed to convince me to make.
— Iffat I., query letter client
I wanted to touch base with you on how things went with agent pitching at the —- Conference for WAVES ON WAVES. It went amazing! Out of the six agents I pitched to, all six wanted to see the full manuscript. A large part of my success was having such a concise query and synopsis. But most of all, the confidence you gave me with this story shined through.
— Anna S., query, synopsis and full manuscript client
Still can’t thank you enough for sharing your talent with me. I know I’m paying you, but it feels like such a gift to have you on board!
— Veronica M, full manuscript edit & critique client
The query letter you helped me with went over very well. It was selected it among a pile of letters in a panel where they read queries out loud and all 4 agents were impressed. Most every other query they shot down. I received eight manuscript requests at the conference!
— Hemant N., submission package client
I wanted to write and tell you how much I enjoyed the workshop. As an ex-teacher, I appreciated your classroom approach. I was quite anxious about renewing my desire to write, and now I’m excited. Good for you!
— Deb H., writing workshop participant
Thank you, thank you. You are a Godsend. I have tweaked and rewritten this query so many times but I’ve been completely stuck, ­­paralyzed­­ and unable to make any significant changes. Now, I’m actually excited and looking forward to reworking this query. I’m so impressed with your insight and comments.
— Trish L., query letter client
You’ve been a fantastic mentor throughout this whole process, and you’d better believe that if I find even a small measure of success, I’ll be singing your name from the mountaintops.
— Dave H., writing workshop participant; query letter/synopsis client
Julie Christine Johnson, you could seriously make a fortune as a query doctor.
— Julie O., query letter client
Julie is a a natural leader. I am on my way back to writing. I even wake up thinking about new perspectives.
— Carol D., workshop participant
Thanks for the great workshop Julie! I enjoyed the day a lot, and came out energized and writing.
— Al B., workshop participant