THE PIANIST, the bestselling holocaust memoir by Wladyslaw Szpilman, and the book that inspired Roman Polanski's Academy-Award-winning film by the same title
DIANE HIGGINS HANNAN, firstname.lastname@example.org
I encourage any writer who is curious to get a professional "quick take" on her or his manuscript to send a sample of it to me for a free review. There would be no expectation that the analysis would lead to further work. Believe it or not, I like to give this kind of feedback for fun; it is challenging, and sharpens my literary sensibilities. :-) Please e-mail me a summary/synopsis & the first 25 pages of the manuscript, for my opinion as to some of the strengths and weaknesses of those critical opening "submission" pages--as well as my initial take on the marketability of the project. The subject line of your e-mail should read: "Flash Feedback: Then the Title of your Book".
Still keeping her New York connections strong, Diane has established her own mentoring business, in which she can share her expertise as a developmental editor, and writing and publishing coach.
Acting upon the impulse to submit a proposal or manuscript before it has been scrutinized by a professional can send an aspiring writer's hard work onto the ever-growing pile of submissions tagged for rejection letters. No writer should submit work before its time--nor should an agent be queried--before one's material is as strong as it can be.
To increase ones chances of being noticed, any proposal, manuscript, sample writing, or query material should be scrutinized by an experienced book publishing professional--not a magazine editor, not a freelance manuscript editor with no in-house publishing experience, not a friend, not a fellow writer, not an MFA professor (with some exceptions), not mom. Although these well-intentioned critics might make some helpfull observations, they have not swum with the sharks, so they don't know how to navigate the waters of the sharp-teethed and ever-decerning group that gathers at agents' and publishers' acquisition meetings.
During her 15 year tenure at St. Martin's Press, Diane served as a Publicity Director, as well as a Senior Acquisitions Editor. Having spent years in both marketing and acquisitions, she possess keen insights as to how to make a manuscript or book proposal marketable, as well as publishable.
Diane's New York publishing experience spans over 20 years, five years at Houghton Mifflin Company in Publicity/Marketing, and over fifteen at Picador USA/St. Martin’s Press as Publicity Director, as well as Senior Acquisitions Editor. In 1995, she was one of three to launch the literary fiction and non-fiction imprint at St. Martin’s: Picador USA (a publishing cousin to the highly-regarded Picador UK).
As a Senior Editor, Diane acquired fiction and nonfiction equally. Some of the many notable books that she has published include:
* Wladyslaw Szpilman's riviting and heartrending holocaust memoir, THE PIANIST, a New York Times bestseller, and the inspiration for Roman Polanski’s academy-award-winning movie by the same title;
* IN THE FACE OF JINN, a mesmerizing first novel about a woman searching for her kidnapped sister amongst the Taliban and various tribes in Pakistan and Afghanistan, by Cheryl Howard Crew, wife of the movie director, Ron Howard;
* DANCING AT CIROS, Sheila Weller's gripping memoir of family love, loss, and scandal on the Sunset Strip--where her uncle's nightclub, "Ciro's", served as a nightly hang-out for some of Hollywood's illustrious 1940s stars(including Lana Turner, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis, Jr.);
* QUEENMAKER--and WISDOM'S DAUGHTER--by India Edghill, two vividly characterized and richly detailed biblical novels that have the scope of Anita Diamant’s THE RED TENT (which Diane published in its bestselling trade paperback format in 1998);
* THE USUAL RULES, Joyce Maynard's beautifully-rendered novel about a young girl learning how to live again after losing her mother on 9/11; as well as Maynard’s controversial memoir, AT HOME IN THE WORLD, in which she chronicles her childhood as the daughter of brilliant, although damaging, parents—and she shares, for the first time, the story of her girlhood seduction into an inspiring but abusive relationship with J.D. Salinger when he was 55 and she was seventeen;
* THE UNHEALED WOUND: The Church, The Priesthood, and the Question of Sexuality, by Eugene Kennedy, a ground-breaking study and meditation on mandatory celibacy and the irrevocable damage it wrecks on the hearts, bodies, and souls of Catholic clerics; and
* Craig Lesley’s most recent books: the novel, STORMRIDERS, a moving saga of the insurmountable challenges faced by a single father struggling to raise an Indian foster son born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome; and BURNING FENCE, Lesley’s first non-fiction, a gripping and visually rich memoir of fathers and sons in the hardscrabble and character-driven landscape of Eastern Oregon.
General Info: A comprehensive review of a manuscript, includes: my page by page notes on language, plot strength, character development, narrative flow, and dramatic momentum -- as well as a separate overview of the manuscript's strengths, weaker areas, and marketing potential. The average manuscript requires 20 to 40 hours, depending on its length, and other factors. However, each writer, and each book project is unique in soul and character; thus, each contractual agreement is contoured to the needs of the particular individual and the particular work.
After the contractual agreement is made: Many writers find that it is most helpful to schedule at least one phone discussion before, and/or after, the review. I do not charge for conversations, neither on the phone, nor in person. Nor do I charge for e-mail exchanges, ever. In fact, after I have finished a review, I encourage writers to e-mail me as often as possible with rewritten lines, sections, scenes, characters, and even chapters--if they wish my take on whether the revisions are on the right track.
The Process: Most of my page by page work is done on a hardcopy of the manuscript, and mailed back by USPS Priority Mail or FED.X...and my general overview is e-mailed.
If there is an opportunity to meet in person at the end of a review, it is at that point that I give the writer the finished edited manuscript, as well as a first draft of general observations; in the following days, the writer would receive an e-mail with another draft of my general observations,and that second and final draft would include salient points from our face-to-face meeting. (Or telephone conversation).
For those contracted writers who are able to meet in person, a meeting could take place at the beginning, middle, or end of a review (or all three, if the lucky writer lives in the PDX area, or travels here regularly).
By the way: A spouse, partner, or significant reader is also welcome to join the writer & me at Vivace. (In fact, I have noticed that a writer's "go-to" reader and fan, is usually the one taking the most notes). :-)
Average rate: $100/hour.