How I Work with Literary Agents and Authors Who Aspire to Be Traditionally Published


agent-seeking authors

If you’ve been pitching to literary agents and getting tepid responses without specific, actionable advice, you need an insider’s perspective.

I help serious, career-minded clients tap into the source of their brilliance and shine brighter.

We’ll work on your craft and professionalism and find ways to position you in front of literary agents who are the right fit to help you launch a sustainable career in the publishing industry.

As a talent developer, your success is my success.

Literary agents

When you have a talented author whose weakness in one or a few areas is keeping you from selling their work, I come alongside to help you both.

Keeping your strategy and goals in mind, I work with your client to develop their craft and fix the manuscript, so you can work on finding the publishing fit that’s right for them.

These are win-win-win relationships. And, as we work together, I learn your style and preferences and refer talent that helps you build your list.

agent-represented Authors

Agents are busy people. The great ones focus on building high-value industry relationships, pitching to acquisition editors and publishers, and negotiating contracts.

The more time they spend on talent development, the less time they have to spend on selling.

If your agent has recommended that you work with a developmental or substantive editor or collaborator, I’m here to prepare you take the stage and be seen for the well of talent that you are.

If you strive to work at your highest level and want to deliver work you’re proud of and that benefits and entertains others, I’d love the opportunity to support you because I believe that excellence is a choice and that work that stands the test of time is the only work worth doing.


Because you’re committed to your professional development as am I, I am open to negotiating rates and payment schedules.

literary and upmarket fiction, high-impact memoir, and intellectual nonfiction

What People Are Saying

“After 15+ years in publishing, I can say that Cristen sets the gold standard for freelance editing. She recently worked with us on a client's memoir proposal, including an extensive amount of co-writing of sample chapters. From the start of the process, I was highly impressed with her writing, her ideas, and just how much organization and inspiration she brought to the project. Her writing was beautiful, clear, and very true to the author's unique voice. Collaborating with her has been a joy for both author and agent. She had tremendous impact on this project, and we will look forward to working with her on many more, given our experience.” —Lilly Ghahremani, JD MBA, co-founder of Full Circle Literary

Cristen is the most BRILLIANT editor I have ever worked with. Her editorial comments on my novel helped me recognize several patterns in my writing style, both good and bad. She has a eye for what good writing should read like, and every single comment she made was 100% accurate. That kind of editing is a gift that few people possess. She will always be my go-to editor.” —Etaf Rum, debut novelist A Woman Is No Man (HarperCollins)

About Rum’s debut novel, The New York Times says: “Distinctly, defiantly and earnestly, ‘A Woman Is No Man’ belongs to itself.” see more

All this time I’ve been sending to agents and editors and hearing, “I like it but I’m not connecting,” with no thoughts on what they’re not connecting with or how to fix it. Yours was the first real advice I’ve been given and I’m just beside myself.” —C.H. Armstrong, secured a traditional publishing contract with Central Avenue Publishing