Midwest Writers Workshop was formed in the belief that aspiring writers had specific needs for knowledge and inspiration to help them become published authors. MWW seeks to fulfill these needs and remain a leading source for aspiring writers. Through our summer workshop and other programs throughout the year, MWW is especially focused on providing quality instruction and building community support among writers.

Midwest Writers continues to be relevant and innovative, offering more value and better serving the writing community through our outreach and effectiveness and use of resources. To that end, Midwest Writers now introduces:


MWW Writing Services connects writers to trained experts in the field to help them to improve their writing with relationship-based, craft-centered guidance. The Manuscript Evaluation opportunity during our summer workshops has been so popular over the years that we wanted to develop this online connection.

MWW Writing Services will help writers in fiction genres (general, literary, mystery, thrillers, young adult, middle grade, women’s, etc.), nonfiction, and poetry, as well as query letters and synopses.

MWW Writing Services offers:

  1. Manuscript Evaluations (1 page = 250 words; double-spaced)
    [Includes an editorial letter, 30-minute phone chat, in-document edits and suggestions]
  2. Query letter (1 single-space page)
    [Includes an editorial letter detailing feedback]
  3. Synopsis – fiction (5 double-spaced pages)
  4. Synopsis – nonfiction (5 double-spaced pages)
  5. Poetry – Manuscript Evaluation/Chapbook

MWW Writing Services evaluators:

  • Matthew Clemens: fiction
  • Sarah Schmitt: young adult, middle grade
  • Kelly O’Dell Stanley: nonfiction/memoir
  • Lylanne Musselman: poetry

We are also proud of our ability to provide these important services to writers at an affordable cost. By focusing on its strengths, its attendees, and the ongoing concerns of what writers need, Midwest Writers Workshop strives to develop significant programs and opportunities, while maintaining a sense of professionalism and dedication to quality.


MATTHEW CLEMENS and his collaborator, Max Allan Collins, have penned 17 TV tie-in novels including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, Dark Angel, Bones, and Criminal Minds. Twilight Tales published the pair’s collected short stories in My Lolita Complex and Other Tales of Sex and Violence. They have also authored the Reeder and Rogers thrillers You Can’t Stop Me, No One Will Hear You, What Doesn’t Kill Her, and Supreme Justice, Fate of the Union, and Executive Order for Thomas & Mercer.

Fiction, specializing in mystery and thrillers

      1. Manuscript Evaluation: 10 double-spaced pages. Timeline: two weeks. Cost: $100
      2. Synopsis: fiction: up to 5 double-spaced pages. Cost: $80

SARAH SCHMITT is a former K-8 school librarian and youth services profession for a public library who has always enjoyed pushing books on unsuspecting teens. Now, as a YA author, she gets to write those stories. The author of It’s a Wonderful Death (Sky Pony Press), she uses her hallmark brand of humor to address serious topics facing teens. Sarah has taught at The Indiana Writer’s Center and presents interactive workshops at middle and high schools around the country. She particularly enjoys inspiring other writers to get involved with National Novel Writing Month through her NaNoWriMo Bootcamp program. Sarah has served on the selection committee for both the William C. Morris YA Debut Award, Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award, Young Hoosier Book Award for Middle Grade, and YALSA Teens Top Ten.

Middle Grade, Young Adult, and New Adult

      1. “Plot Doctor” Manuscript Evaluation: up to 300 double-spaced pages. This is not a line edit but rather an in-depth evaluation of the plot and character development. This package includes in-text editorial comments, an editorial letter, and one 30-minute phone or Skype call. Timeline: six weeks. Limited to four per year. Cost: $995
      2. Query Letters: Timeline: two weeks. Cost: $40
      3. Synopsis: up to 10 double-spaced pages. Timeline: two weeks. Cost: $80
      4. Submission Package: Query Letter, Synopsis, First five pages. This includes in-text editorial comments and editorial letter. Timeline: three weeks. Cost: $120

KELLY O’DELL STANLEY is a graphic designer who writes. Or maybe a writer who also designs. Either way, when she found the place where writing and design intersected, she discovered that was exactly where she wanted to be. She is the author of Praying Upside Down, Designed to Pray, and (in Spring 2020) #Instaprayer: Prayers to Share. Her writing awards include first place in Inspirational Writing in the 2013 Writer’s Digest competition, and she was a finalist in the Cascade Oregon Christian Writers Contest in 2017. Kelly’s design work has been included in design anthologies and PRINT Magazine’s Design Annual, and she’s received awards from the NAHB, Public Relations Society of America, the Webby Competition, and Art Directors Club of Indiana.

Narrative nonfiction or memoir, inspirational, creative nonfiction, regular nonfiction

      1. Manuscript Evaluation: content and line editing. 10-25 pages. Includes in-text comments/edits, an editorial letter, and one 30-minute phone or Skype call. Timeline: three weeks. Cost: 10 pages: $100. 25 pages: $250
      2. Structuring your content creatively: Brainstorming on book structure/how best to present information for a creative nonfiction or inspirational book, ways to frame the story, identifying connecting threads and themes, adding value to the manuscript to make it more interesting and rich (examples: checklists, action steps/exercises, downloads to enhance content, quizzes, etc.). Writers submit info from a checklist provided (chapter list, basic overview of book content and audience, and sample first chapter), and a scheduled 15-minute Skype/Zoom/phone call. Two weeks later Kelly provides written suggestions, ideas, and brainstorming, and a 30-minute call. Timeline: three weeks. Cost: $200
      3. Building your personal brand: Submit requested info (links to social media and website, etc.), genre, summaries of book(s), target audiences, etc., then receive a general evaluation of their online presence as well as brand and marketing ideas. Would include at least a page of each: (1) promotional item ideas [giveaways, swag, free downloads to create, and so on]; (2) links to online communities or audiences to consider tapping into; (3) critique of online presence; (4) evaluation of brand, suggestions for making brand more visually coherent [fonts, colors, logos, and so on] and considerations for building on base already in place; (5) plus a 30-minute Skype or phone call during which we discuss my recommendations [which you also get in written form]. Timeline: three weeks. Cost: $300
      4. Book cover design: Provide the book size, depth of spine, audience, synopsis, and copy for back cover. Receive a minimum of three front cover designs, and upon selection of one, receive format back cover to go with that and provide ready-to-upload file. Does not include custom illustration. but includes graphics (photos or illustrations) that are royalty-free and available for unlimited use. Timeline: three weeks. Cost: $300.

LYLANNE MUSSELMAN is an award-winning poet, playwright, and visual artist. Musselman is the author of five poetry chapbooks, including Red Mare 16 (Pink House Literary Arts, 2018), a co-author of the volume of poetry, Company of Women New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press, 2013) and a full-length poetry collection, It’s Not Love, Unfortunately (Chatter House Press, 2018). Her work has appeared in Pank, Flying Island, The Tipton Poetry Journal, The New Verse News, and The Ekphrastic Review, among others, and many anthologies. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for her poetry six times since 2013, and most recently in 2019. Seven of her one-act plays have been produced in MI, CT, FL, and Muncie, IN. Musselman facilitated public writer’s workshops in Indianapolis and in Toledo, OH, from 2005 – 2016. For the last thirteen years, she has taught college level writing of all stripes in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.

Poetry, manuscripts, chapbooks, poem packet 

      1. Poetry Manuscript Evaluation: 48-100 pages. Includes in-depth evaluation of each poem in manuscript – comments/edits, thoughts on overall theme/thread of manuscript, ordering of poems, and a 30-minute call or Zoom session for suggestions, ideas, and to respond to questions/concerns. Timeline: five weeks. Cost: $325.
      2. Poetry Chapbook Manuscript Evaluation: 16-30 poems. Includes in-depth evaluation of each poem in manuscript – comments/edits, thoughts on theme/thread of manuscript, ordering of poems, and a 30-minute call or Zoom session for suggestions, ideas, and to respond to questions/concerns. Timeline: four weeks. Cost: $175.
      3. Poem Packet Critique: 3-10 poems (up to 15 pages). Includes in-text editorial comments and editorial letter. Timeline: three weeks. Cost: $75.

Ready to get started and order?

Standard Manuscript Format:

  • Send all manuscripts as Word document (.doc/.docx)
  • Font: Times Roman, Arial, or Courier, 12 point
  • Margins: 1 inch on all sides
  • Paragraph indentation: 0.5 inches
  • Left justification; one space between sentences
  • First page: your name and contact information in the top left corner
  • Manuscript evaluation: double-spaced
  • Synopsis and query letter: single-spaced

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