Mary Kole

Mary Kole – Editor

As a former literary agent, I bring a craft focus and deep insider knowledge to my work. My specialties include children's books and YA.


I'm a former literary agent and provide consulting and developmental editing services to writers of all categories and genres, working on children’s book projects from picture book to young adult, and all kinds of trade market literature, including fantasy, sci-fi, romance and memoir. I hold an MFA in Creative Writing and have worked at Chronicle Books, the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, and Movable Type Management. I've been blogging at since 2009. My book, Writing Irresistible Kidlit, a writing reference guide for middle grade and young adult writers, is available from Writer's Digest Books.

I bring over a decade of publishing industry experience to every edit. While I'm best known for editing children's books (picture books, middle grade, young adult), I work in all fiction categories and genres, as well as memoir. My approach is extremely comprehensive, with a deep focus on character, voice, plot, and other elements of the writing craft. My specialty is interiority, or rendering a character's perspective on the page. I believe this is a very powerful way to hook readers into your story. I also bring my background as a literary agent to the table. Query feedback and market analysis of your project are included with every edit. Many publishers look for "literary quality with commercial appeal," and that's exactly my "both barrels" approach to your project. Together, we will hone your manuscript's craft elements to their fullest creative expression, and then engineer your premise to give you the strongest chance at success, whatever your goal might be. I can't wait to learn about your work!
Coming of Age Contemporary Fiction Literary Fiction Middle Grade Middle Grade Fantasy Picture Books Young Adult
English (UK) English (US)
  • MFA in Creative Writing

Work experience


Jan, 2012 — Present

Running a full service editorial company with thousands of clients.

Andrea Brown Literary Agency

Jan, 2008 — Jan, 2012 (about 4 years)

Working at one of the most prominent children's book agencies in the United States, representing children's authors and illustrators in all categories and genres.


A teenage Polynesian volcano goddess fires up her search for love and family in this sequel to Wildefire.Every flame casts a shadow. Ashline Wilde is about to discover that when you’re the reincarnation of a Polynesian volcano goddess, “new beginnings” are jus... read more

Karsten Knight

Every flame begins with a spark. Blackwood Academy was supposed to be a fresh start for Ashline Wilde. A secluded boarding school deep in the heart of California’s redwood forests, three thousand miles from her old life—it sounded like the new beginning she ne... read more
Every day can be an adventure. Especially if you bring balloons.Ever wondered what it would be like to ride a carousel right off its platform? As Emma discovers, all it takes is a handful of balloons and a very kind polar bear to show you the way. This soaring... read more
Snippet the Early Riser

Bethanie Murguia

Snippet is a typical snail. But unlike other snails, he loves to wake up early. While his family is snoozing the morning away, he is wide awake and ready to race to the flowers, make leaf sculptures, and get piggyback rides. With the help of his bug friends, h... read more
Zoe is the Queen of the whole Universe... but her favorite place in the Universe is her own room, where she hosts tea parties, builds empires out of blocks, and gazes out upon the stars. Then her parents announce that her little sister Addie is moving in to Zo... read more

M. G. Velasco

"An epic quest full of action and mystery. A big adventure with a big heart, Cardslinger is aces!" ―Michael Northrop, New York Times bestselling author of the TombQuest series It's 1881, and a newfangled card game called Mythic is sweeping the nation. Twelve-y... read more
This sparkling middle-grade debut is a classic-in-the-making! Maybelle Lane is looking for her father, but on the road to Nashville she finds so much more: courage, brains, heart--and true friends. Eleven-year-old Maybelle Lane collects sounds. She records the... read more
When Blue Met Egg

Lindsay Ward

One cold winter day, Blue returns to her nest to find something wonderful: Egg! Or rather a snowball she mistakes for an egg. Blue puts Egg in a pail and sets off to look for Egg's mother. But as the winter winds down and the temperature goes up, Blue is in fo... read more
A Smidgen of Sky

Dianna Dorisi Winget

Whether she likes it or not, ten-year-old Piper Lee DeLuna is about to get a new family.Four years after the plane Piper's daddy was piloting disappeared, her mama is remarrying. The way Piper sees it, Mama is being plain disloyal.Besides, who wants a prison g... read more
Through to You

Emily Hainsworth

Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. He'd give anything to have just one more glimpse of her. But when Cam visits the site of Viv's deadly car accident, he sees an apparition. Her name is Nina, and she's a girl from a parallel w... read more
Captivate the hearts and minds of young adult readers!Writing for young adult (YA) and middle grade (MG) audiences isn't just "kid's stuff" anymore--it's kidlit! The YA and MG book markets are healthier and more robust than ever, and that means the competition... read more

Mary has 4 reviews





S.D. G.

S.D. G.

Feb, 2023

Great experience!
Micheal K.

Micheal K.

Mar, 2022

Her work was thorough, but it might have been of higher value to us if she would have provided guidance on how to adjust or made specific suggestions on rewording, for all the comments she provided on the letter.
Crystal B.

Crystal B.

May, 2020

Mary's professionalism, expertise, and skills are on par with her resume! She respected my goals, adjusted to delays, and provided exceptional input during the editing process. By the time my manuscript was complete, I regretted not having worked with her sooner! Her work was thorough and she was attentive in her communications. I thoroughly enjoyed working with her and look forward to doing i...
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Robbyn P.

Robbyn P.

Feb, 2020

Mary responded to my original request for quote for an editorial assessment of my children's picture book fairly quickly, gave me a definite timeline for her services and outlined exactly what those services would include. She delivered the goods early, providing a thoughtful, thorough assessment which included links in her comments to short, easy to understand articles that helped me better ...
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