Madeline Smoot

Madeline Smoot - Editor

Austin, TX, USA

From writing to editing and publishing, I have been involved in every aspect of publishing for over 15 years.

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I am not one of those people who grew up wanting to be a writer. In fact, as a child (and a teenager, and a young adult), I believed that writing was an evil, boring project assigned by teachers in order to torture students. My great love was reading. I read it all: Agatha Christie, Dianna Wynne Jones, Robin McKinley, Bunnicula, Sweet Valley Twins (but not Sweet Valley High), Nancy Drew, and later Harry Potter, Asimov, Heinlein, Tolkein, and series like the Hunger Games and Percy Jackson.

Then one afternoon, I decided to experiment with writing little stories for my little sister. They were, frankly, terrible, but I discovered not only a love for creative writing but something I wanted to pursue as a possible career. Many creative writing classes and an MA in Children’s Literature (Hollins University, 2010) later, I've been an editor and then a publisher and now an author.

Although I do love writing, my passion has always been bringing the best out of my author's work. I provide my authors with a comprehensive (and I do mean comprehensive) analysis of each book that looks not just at the whole, but all the moving parts that go into great writing. After the analysis, I do a one to two hour phone (or video) call with my author to discuss in detail the analysis I've created. The phone call is absolutely key. It's during that give and take discussion that epiphanies occur. When one of my author's has an awe-inspiring insight into their work, that's when the magic happens.

As the publisher of a small, traditional royalty based press (CBAY Books), I have edited, designed, and published high quality fantasy and science fiction middle grade and young adult books for the past 13 years. Some of our titles included:

HOMER'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE— "An origin story for the ages takes readers on an epically hilarious adventure … snappy, anachronistic humor make this an entertaining laugh-out-loud adventure … Recommend to fans of Percy Jackson, epic stories, and mythology looking for new fodder with a twist." —School Library Journal (Middle Grade Fantasy/Mythology)

SHORTCUTS— "The story feels like a blend of Willo Davis Roberts' nerdy-psychic classic The Girl with the Silver Eyes (1980) and the Stephen King novel Carrie (1980)." — Kirkus Reviews (Middle Grade Science Fiction)

UNCERTAIN SUMMER— "Kids on the cusp fumble toward coming-of-age with the odd cryptid and charging boar for thrills." — Kirkus Reviews (Middle Grade Adventure)

I have been privileged to work with a wide range of authors from people completing their first novel to experienced authors with decades of experience. Here are some of their comments:

"I had the great privilege and even greater learning experience working with Madeline on my first two novels. When my newest project was ready to submit, I was smart enough to first go to Madeline. As always, she didn't simply find the errors in grammar, logic, pacing ... the usual suspects, but after we talked, no, while we talked, she fired up my muse with much deeper considerations. Once again it was like I had handed her an outline of a story, and she poked and prodded until I opened the door on a larger glorious story. I can buy a computer program to find basic problems, or hire Madeline, an inspired editor who is an Olympic coach who drags the best out of me." — Kath Boyd Marsh

"Madeline's editorial advice was encouraging, specific, and helped take my novel to the next level. Her background in publishing is extensive, and I particularly appreciated her expertise in children's literature in particular. I highly recommend her editorial services!" — Jessica Lee Anderson

I cannot wait to work with you on your project.

For more information on my services and for more of my favorite books that I've worked on, please see the services and work experience sections below.
English (US)
Action & Adventure
Middle Grade
Middle Grade Fantasy
Picture Books
Science Fiction
Young Adult Fantasy

Work experience


CBAY Books
January, 2008 – March, 2021 (about 13 years)

As the publisher of a small, traditional royalty based press, I have edited, designed, and published high quality fantasy and science fiction middle grade and young adult books for the past 13 years. As the publisher, I took novels through the entire editorial process including acquisitions, developmental and comprehensive edits, and multiple rounds of revision, copy editing, and proofing. I have also compiled and edited numerous anthologies, including a few listed in the portfolio below.

Freelance Developmental Editor

July, 2017 – Present (about 5 years)

In my spare time between publishing projects for my small press, I have occasionally taken on editing clients. In the past I have worked mainly through referral or with authors I met at the conferences where I would speak and critique. Usually, my most common service has been a critique of the first ten pages of a manuscript, but I prefer to work on entire books.

Children's Literature Adjunct Professor

St. Edward's University
June, 2013 – May, 2014 (11 months)

At St. Edward's University, I taught several graduate level writing courses with a focus on children’s literature and publishing. Classes covered basic writing of everything from board books to young adult novels as well as more advanced classes in middle grade novels and overall publishing in the children's market. I provided editorial feedback on every writing assignment and on master thesis projects.

Editorial Director, Children's Division

Blooming Tree Press
October, 2003 – May, 2010 (over 6 years)

At Blooming Tree Press, I started as an intern and worked my way up until I ran the children's division, which produced the bulk of the books published each year. I personally edited a majority of the titles in our division, only leaving with the successful launch of my own small press. As the Editorial Director, I took a wide range of books from picture books through YA through the entire editorial process including acquisitions, developmental and comprehensive edits with multiple rounds of revision, copy editing, and proofing.

Portfolio (27 selected works)

Perilous Princesses

Smoot, Madeline

The Hidden Code

Hoover, P. J.

Broken Worlds

Robinson, Anitha

Memory Girl

Singleton, Linda Joy

Bad Girls Club

Judy Gregerson

One Thousand Words for War

Schultz, Hope Erica, Smoot, Madeline

Once Upon a Princess

Marciniak, Christine

Uncertain Summer

Anderson, Jessica Lee

Kichi in Jungle Jeopardy

Lila Guzman, Regan Johnson

Jessica McBean, Tap Dance Queen

Carole Gerber, Patrice Barton

Little Bunny Kung Fu

Johnson, Regan

There's a Yak in My Bed

K. Pluta, C. A. Stallop

Madeline has 2 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Chance Fribbs
This is my first book and attempt to write professionally. Madeline was very informative, giving me action points, helping to update the various needs of characters and plots. She has single handily opened my story from being ok, to something great that I can be even more proud to be writing. I will be coming back for Madeline's professionalism and ability!

Chance Fribbs, March 2022

Amanda Mireles
Madeline was a pleasure to work with. She was very thorough and detailed in her work.

Amanda Mireles, December 2021

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