Jenn Bailey

Jenn Bailey - Editor

Leawood, KS, United States

I am an award-winning author and experienced editor of books for children and young adults. I specialize in humor, fantasy, and scifi.

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Overview

Editors and agents always want to see your first 10 pages and you've polished them to a high shine. But how does the rest of your book read?

My debut picture book, A FRIEND FOR HENRY, won the ALA National Schneider Family Honor Award in 2020 and the KAC Children's Book of the Year Award in 2019. My book was named a Capital Choice Noteworthy book and a Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year for 2020.

I have been a professional editor and writer for over 10 years, and have my Master of Fine Arts in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. I have edited and consulted on picture books and middle grade and young adult novels. I work most comfortably in the sub genres of contemporary, sci-fi/fantasy, historical fiction, nonfiction, and humor. If you want a snarky look at your romance novel, I can give you that too.

When it comes to your work, I offer a deep and thorough critique, targeting elements of plot, structure, pacing, characterization, and agency. I have traveled the path from newbie writer to published author and understand that a truly beneficial critique balances encouragement with straight-forward speaking. I know the struggles writers have--with time, perseverance, and confidence--and I feel sure, that together, we can push through those issues and any others.

Not many freelance editors take on picture books, but I love them. I feel they are one of the most difficult things to write well, and it is my joy to dig in and make every word count.

Besides being a working author, editor, and acquiring reader, I am an accuracy reader specializing in Autism/Aspergers. I taught the 8-week Nonfiction Writers Intensive for Park University and presented at the 2019 and 2020 AWP Writers Conference and Book Fair with the following lectures; Making Light: Humor's Serious Place in Children's Middle Grade and Young Adult Literature; Tone, Voice, and Mood: Not Just for Angsty Teens. Other requested lectures include: Redeeming your Villain; Making Magic; World Building is not just for Fantasy; and Make the Reader your Accomplice.

I am an acquiring reader for a literary agency and two publishing houses. As such, I am the first gatekeeper you need to pass on your path to representation and/or publication. Your work must convince me to let you pass, and your query letter introduces me to your work. Submission guidelines for query letters have varied "dos" and "don'ts," which is why you should always follow the posted requirements on each agency and publisher's website. Writing effective query letters comes down to the skill of crafting the synopsis and providing enticing and memorable plot points in a limited word count. Query letters don't make or break a submission, but they are a first impression, and I can help you make a good one.

Thank you for considering me for your project. I look forward to hearing from you.


Languages
English (US)
Fiction
Action & Adventure
Fantasy
Humor & Comedy
Mashups
Middle Grade
Picture Books
Science Fiction
Young Adult
Non-Fiction
Children's - Non-fiction

Certifications

  • Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, Vermont College of Fine Arts, (Master's Thesis on Making the Reader Your Accomplice)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Film, Boston University
  • Annual One Year Adventure Novel (OYAN) contest and scholarship judge

Awards

  • Kansas Authors Club Children's Book of the Year Award 2019
  • Candlewick Picture Book Award 2016
  • Flying Pig Grade A Ham Humor Award
  • Beyond Words Scholarship
  • VCFA Alumni Award
  • ALA National Schneider Family Honor Award

Work experience

Editor

Self-employed
December, 2016 – Present (almost 4 years)

I edit reports, proposals, environmental impact statements, and other documents for a full-service consulting firm. This sounds rather formal and scientific, and it is, and therein lies the challenge. It is my job to help project managers turn their teams' hard work in the field into readable narratives their clients can understand and take action on.

I also edit creative work for two publishing houses. Yes, sometimes I am the one who sends you the long letter that helps you tighten your work before it goes to press.

Author and Freelance Editor

Self-employed
January, 2010 – Present (over 10 years)

I have been a writer and freelance editor since 2008. As a working author represented by The Stimola Literary Studio, I understand the process, the pitfalls, and the promise of a writer's path. I offer a deep and thorough critique, targeting elements of plot, structure, pacing, characterization, and agency.

President

Self-employed
May, 2008 – Present (over 12 years)

I run a social media consulting firm specializing in teaching social media to authors. I've led workshops and spoken at such events as SCBWI- LA National Conference, SCBWI-NY National Conference, Regional SCBWI events and conferences, and Chicks-Who-Click. I was a founding member of the Social Media Club of Kansas City and was elected their first Advocacy Chairperson.

Portfolio (11 selected works)

A Friend for Henry

Jenn Bailey

In Classroom Six, second left down the hall, Henry has been on the lookout for a friend. A friend who shares. A friend who listens. Maybe even a friend who likes things to stay the same and all in order, as Henry does. But on a day full of too close and too loud, when nothing seems to go right, will Henry ever find a friend—or will a friend find him? With insight and warmth, this heartfelt sto... read more

In Classroom Six, second left down the hall, Henry has been on the lookout for a friend. A friend who shares. A friend who listens. Maybe even a friend who likes things to stay the same and all in order, as Henry does. But on a day full of too close and too loud, when nothing seems to go right, will Henry ever find a friend—or will a friend find him? With insight and warmth, this heartfelt sto... read more

Fly, Girl, Fly!: Shaesta Waiz Soars Around the World

Nancy Roe Pimm

"You must believe in yourself and allow your dreams to soar." --Shaesta WaizShaesta Waiz, a refugee from Afghanistan, dreamed of doing great things. But first she had to leave a refugee camp with her family to make a new life in America, overcome gender stereotypes, be the first in her family to go to college, and overcome her fear of flying. After becoming a pilot, Shaesta made the flight of ... read more

"You must believe in yourself and allow your dreams to soar." --Shaesta WaizShaesta Waiz, a refugee from Afghanistan, dreamed of doing great things. But first she had to leave a refugee camp with her family to make a new life in America, overcome gender stereotypes, be the first in her family to go to college, and overcome her fear of flying. After becoming a pilot, Shaesta made the flight of ... read more

Inherit the Stars

Tessa Elwood

LOVE AND LOYALTY. As the youngest daughter of the House of Fane, Asa lives every day of her life in honor of both, for herself and her people. But as her kingdom's food and energy crisis peaks, Asa must find more to fuel Fane's survival.Taking the place of her older sister in an arranged marriage with Eagle, the heir to the prosperous House of Westlet, seems like a straightforward solution. Fo... read more

LOVE AND LOYALTY. As the youngest daughter of the House of Fane, Asa lives every day of her life in honor of both, for herself and her people. But as her kingdom's food and energy crisis peaks, Asa must find more to fuel Fane's survival.Taking the place of her older sister in an arranged marriage with Eagle, the heir to the prosperous House of Westlet, seems like a straightforward solution. Fo... read more

Whisper Island

Anola Pickett

It's 1913, and 12-year-old Primmy's greatest wish is to join the US Life Savers Service. But there's only one problem---girls aren't allowed. Receiving little encouragement from family and friends, Primmy does everything she can to change their minds and make her dream come true. You'll be rooting for Primmy every step of the way in this charming coming-of-age story!

It's 1913, and 12-year-old Primmy's greatest wish is to join the US Life Savers Service. But there's only one problem---girls aren't allowed. Receiving little encouragement from family and friends, Primmy does everything she can to change their minds and make her dream come true. You'll be rooting for Primmy every step of the way in this charming coming-of-age story!

Callahan Crossroads

Anola Pickett

It's the summer of 1918, and all twelve-year-old George Callahan wants to do is hunt for spies with his best friend. But with America at war, the Callahan family is facing new challenges on all fronts. Thoughtfully researched, beautifully written, and filled with historic detail, this heartwarming family drama is an instant classic both children and adults will enjoy.

It's the summer of 1918, and all twelve-year-old George Callahan wants to do is hunt for spies with his best friend. But with America at war, the Callahan family is facing new challenges on all fronts. Thoughtfully researched, beautifully written, and filled with historic detail, this heartwarming family drama is an instant classic both children and adults will enjoy.

No Tooting at Tea

Alastair Heim

Tea parties have certain rules. You must lay your napkin carefully in your lap, say "please" and "thank you," and sip, not slurp, your tea. But SOMEONE at this tea party keeps breaking a very important rule—NO TOOTING! Will this tea party be ruined? And WHO keeps tooting, anyway? A charming and hilarious take on sibling dynamics that plays against gender expectations and has huge kid appeal. A... read more

Tea parties have certain rules. You must lay your napkin carefully in your lap, say "please" and "thank you," and sip, not slurp, your tea. But SOMEONE at this tea party keeps breaking a very important rule—NO TOOTING! Will this tea party be ruined? And WHO keeps tooting, anyway? A charming and hilarious take on sibling dynamics that plays against gender expectations and has huge kid appeal. A... read more

Books and Bricks: How a School Rebuilt the Community

Sindiwe Magona, Ellen Mayer

Salmina Arends school was a scary place. The fence had big holes and the schoolyard was full of junk. No one wanted to play there. With the donation of new computers, the future begins to look bright for 11-year-old Salmina and Manyano School in the poor South African township of Brown Veld. But when the skollies (vandals), who hang out in the schoolyard each night, steal the computers, Salmin... read more

Salmina Arends school was a scary place. The fence had big holes and the schoolyard was full of junk. No one wanted to play there. With the donation of new computers, the future begins to look bright for 11-year-old Salmina and Manyano School in the poor South African township of Brown Veld. But when the skollies (vandals), who hang out in the schoolyard each night, steal the computers, Salmin... read more

A Stick Until...

Constance Anderson

A stick is just a stick until…an elephant turns it into a flyswatter, an alligator uses it to catch prey, or a child uses a stick as a toy. Constance Anderson (Smelling Sunshine) shows readers how a simple stick can become a tool or a toy in this enjoyable look at the many uses animals and people can find for sticks. Creative uses of sticks range from chimpanzees catching tasty treats to birds... read more

A stick is just a stick until…an elephant turns it into a flyswatter, an alligator uses it to catch prey, or a child uses a stick as a toy. Constance Anderson (Smelling Sunshine) shows readers how a simple stick can become a tool or a toy in this enjoyable look at the many uses animals and people can find for sticks. Creative uses of sticks range from chimpanzees catching tasty treats to birds... read more

Defying the Nazis: The Life of German Officer Wilm Hosenfeld, Young Readers Edition

Hermann Vinke

Initially an ardent admirer of Adolf Hitler, Wilm Hosenfeld became aware of the Third Reich's relentless brutality against the Poles and Jews when he was stationed in Poland. Witnessing the Nazis' inhumanity changed Hosenfeld from an enemy occupier to a rescuer. Hosenfeld's heroic efforts to save Polish citizens was mostly unknown until a scene in the Oscar-winning film The Pianist brought Hos... read more

Initially an ardent admirer of Adolf Hitler, Wilm Hosenfeld became aware of the Third Reich's relentless brutality against the Poles and Jews when he was stationed in Poland. Witnessing the Nazis' inhumanity changed Hosenfeld from an enemy occupier to a rescuer. Hosenfeld's heroic efforts to save Polish citizens was mostly unknown until a scene in the Oscar-winning film The Pianist brought Hos... read more

Woolly the Wide Awake Sheep

Jake Tebbit

What's a sheep to do when it just can't go to sleep? Wandering about the barnyard, one tired little sheep asks for the other farm animals how they lull themselves to sleep. Each animal offers their exhausted friend a suggestion that works for them, but it is only when Granddaddy Ram offers his advice, can Woolly find a way to sleep. A perfect book to snuggle up with your little one at the end ... read more

What's a sheep to do when it just can't go to sleep? Wandering about the barnyard, one tired little sheep asks for the other farm animals how they lull themselves to sleep. Each animal offers their exhausted friend a suggestion that works for them, but it is only when Granddaddy Ram offers his advice, can Woolly find a way to sleep. A perfect book to snuggle up with your little one at the end ... read more

California Burns, Volume One

David Barrett

California Burns is a unique and dramatic interactive book that brings the heat, smoke, and drama of wildfire into your living room. Never before seen images of wildfires tearing through hills, valleys, and neighborhoods will open your eyes to the speed, ferocity, and destruction these often uncontrollable fires generate. This powerful book includes audio, video, and downloadable fire safety a... read more

California Burns is a unique and dramatic interactive book that brings the heat, smoke, and drama of wildfire into your living room. Never before seen images of wildfires tearing through hills, valleys, and neighborhoods will open your eyes to the speed, ferocity, and destruction these often uncontrollable fires generate. This powerful book includes audio, video, and downloadable fire safety a... read more

Jenn has 23 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Matt Manzella
Jenn was a true professional! She provided insightful and thorough feedback of my book, by providing both specific, detailed line-by-line edits as well as an overall, high-level review that enabled me to make significant, but meaningful changes to my book. I look forward to a continued collaboration with Jenn.

Matt Manzella, July 2020


Ryan Topham
Jenn absolutely rules forever and ever. Her help transformed my little thing into a much better little thing, without losing the spirit or core of that little thing. Her advice is excellent, she is open to push back and questions, she's thorough as heck, and she is a kind and decent human person to boot. I will definitely be reaching out to her again, for the next little thing, whenever that...
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Ryan Topham, July 2020


Jim Mendenhall
Jenn was fantastic. Her comments were clearly presented and absolutely spot on. She understood exactly what I was trying to do and helped me find the best way to accomplish it. Her comments were personalized, not cookie-cutter, and put in context, as she was able to explain how other authors in the same genre built their stories and characters. My book is going to be exponentially better for he...
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Jim Mendenhall, June 2020


Dan Kirshtein
Always a pleasure. Thanks so much.

Dan Kirshtein, April 2020


Ben Mason
I really loved working with Jenn. From start to finish she was encouraging, easy to work with, and helpful. Her feedback was golden, and is already helping me move my manuscript forward. She is honest in her critiques, while still be supportive and encouraging. Throughout the process, it became clear just how much she knows about the craft of writing and storytelling. Her notes were clear...
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Ben Mason, April 2020

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