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.), and nonfiction, 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)

MWW Writing Services evaluators:

  • Matthew Clemens: fiction
  • Dianne Drake: fiction
  • Holly Miller: nonfiction/fiction
  • Sarah Schmitt: young adult, middle grade
  • Kelly O’Dell Stanley: nonfiction/memoir
  • Larry Sweazy: fiction

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

DIANNE DRAKE is an International best-selling and award-winning author and a former nurse who has now written more than 60 novels (mostly medical romances), as well as nine nonfiction titles. Her books have been translated into twenty-five languages, including her latest in Indonesian. Dianne has also stepped into the shoes of Senior Editor for Romance and Disability Group, and her first book as editor was published July, 2019.  Her next novel as a writer will be published in September, 2019 (New York Doc, Thailand Proposal) followed in February, 2020, by another book (Falling for Her Army Doc) as an author as well as her next book (Once Upon a Valentine) as an editor. Prior to being a novelist, Dianne had countless articles published in magazines such as Family Circle, Woman’s Day, Better Homes & Garden and Seventeen. Dianne now serves on the Board of Directors of Midwest Writers Workshop and is proud to say she got her start at MWW back in 1993.

Fiction, especially women’s fiction and romance

      1. Manuscript Evaluation: 10-20 pages, double-spaced. Includes an editorial letter, 30-minute phone chat, in-document initial edits and suggestions. Cost: 10 pages = $100. 20 pages =$200. Plus, one autographed novel by Dianne.
      2. Fiction Query Letter: 1 single-spaced page. Includes an editorial letter with detailed feedback. Timeline: two weeks. Cost: $40
      3. Fiction Synopsis: up to 10 single-spaced pages. Timeline: two weeks. Cost: $80
      4. Fiction Submission Package: Query Letter, Synopsis, First five pages. Includes in-text editorial comments and editorial letter. Timeline: three weeks. Cost: $120
      5. Fiction Line-editing; deep editing of 10-20 pages (or first chapter), double-spaced. Focus on internal/external conflicts, tropes and characterization. Includes 30-minute phone chat and one-time re-write editing. Timeline: 3 weeks for initial editing and 2 weeks for one-time re-write editing. Cost: $25/page. Plus, two autographed novels by Dianne. 10 pages = $250; 20 pages = $500

HOLLY G. MILLER is author or co-author of 11 nonfiction books, four published novels, and 2,500 magazine short stories and articles; she has led writing workshops from California to Massachusetts. A consulting editor to two national magazines and a judge for an annual fiction-writing contest, she holds communication degrees from Indiana University and Ball State University and has taught college writing classes for 25 years. Her how-to book, Feature & Magazine Writing, co-authored with colleague David Sumner, is in its third edition. Her greatest joy is helping unpublished writers break into print.

Nonfiction, articles or short story; nonfiction book or novel

      1. Nonfiction article or short story: Submit up to 3,000 words (12 pages); receive content and line edit plus phone follow-up. Cost: $125
      2. Nonfiction book or novel: Submit opening 3,000 words plus synopsis; receive content and line edit plus phone follow-up. Cost: $125

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.

LARRY D. SWEAZY is a multiple-award winning author of 14 Western and mystery novels, including See Also Proof: A Marjorie Trumaine MysteryA Thousand Falling CrowsVengeance at Sundown, and The Rattlesnake Season. He won the WWA (Western Writers of America) Spur award for Best Short Fiction in 2005 and for Best Paperback Original in 2013. Larry is also a two-time winner of the Will Rogers Medallion Award for Western Fiction for two books in the Josiah Wolfe Texas Ranger series–which is returning in 2020. He was nominated for a Derringer award in 2007, was a finalist in the Best Books of Indiana literary competition in 2010 and won in 2011. He also won the inaugural Elmer Kelton Book Award in 2013. Larry has published over 80 nonfiction articles and short stories.

Fiction, Query Letters, Synopsis. Content and line editing 

      1. Manuscript Evaluation: 10 pages. ($10 per page). Includes an editorial letter, 30-minute phone chat, in-document edits and suggestions. Cost: $100
      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

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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