Coaching and Editing

IMG_0248Private Coaching for Writers

For writers who have specific projects or questions, Hollowdeck Press offers private, one-on-one sessions with Max Regan, MFA. Max always begins coaching sessions by talking to the writer and trying to gain a deeper understanding of what role writing plays in their life. Often, writers are asked something as simple as what books they are attracted to, in order to understand the style, genre and range of the work they already appreciate. Max does a variety of different kinds of work with his private clients, always custom- building the techniques necessary to meet each writer’s individual needs.

Some folks use coaching time to talk about poetry, fiction, prose, writing, publishing or methods of organizing their writing space at home. Others use the time to get some in-depth feedback on their specific book, poem, manuscript, project, performance, story, novel or idea. Max provides specific writing exercises, prompts and experiments designed to keep the client writing while continually pushing them into the next area of investigation.

Often the most useful thing is simply an in-depth conversation about where they are in their writing life, where they want to go and how to move forward with energy, organization and focus. Most working sessions run from 1–2 hours.

IMG_0387Clients sessions may be done by phone or video conference, with texts exchanged by e‑mail and/or standard mail.

Content / Developmental Editing

Content/ Developmental Editing involves the evaluation of manuscripts that are under development, being prepared for mainstream publication, independent-publication, or submission to publishers, editors and agents. Max will examine the working structure, clarity, navigability and cohesiveness of the manuscript, making specific suggestions of how to strengthen the text. Max will also help to demystify the process of publishing and to examine the writer’s passions, fears, strengths, challenges and goals in moving his/her work out into the world.

Max has worked with a diverse array of clients including authors who have published high-quality indie/self published books using POD sites such as Create Space, iUniverse, Blurb, Lulu and others. He also edits for authors who have published mainstream books with publishers including Simon and Schuster, Counterpoint, WW Norton, Random House, HarperCollins, Longacre Press, Free Press, Lantern Books, Pegasus Press, Spirituality and Health Publications, Coffee House Press and Spuyten Duyvil. Authors have been featured in many media outlets including The New York Times Review of Books, Oprah Magazine, People Magazine, ABC Nightline, NBC Today and The Travel Channel.

Initial Consult

The process of Developmental/ Content Editing usually begins with an initial consult by phone. This is a chance to speak to the author and hear about their writing history, the scope, genre, sub-genre and trajectory of their project and to talk about their private and public goals for the work. Max can also provide information on how editing works, the drafting process, timelines, fees and what the next steps would look like if the author decides to move forward. Usually these conversations run 30 mins or so, for which there is no charge. But if an author would like to speak longer, for 60 or 90 minutes, there will be a 1hr charge. To set up an initial consult please just drop Max an email at

books-1245690_1920Initial Reading/ Evaluation

For writers with on-going work who would like that work seen in its entirety, the first step is usually to do a Reading/ Evaluation edit, called a “Read/Eval”. This process begins with dropping Max and email to say hello, introduce the project, check his schedule and get an estimate. If you would like an initial consult we can set one up at that time. To generate an estimate for a Read/Eval Max will need four things: A texts sample, an inventory, the total word count and your Author Questions.

Please send along a 5 to 10-Page sample of the work and an inventory of the plot points or parts of the book that you have so far. For example, this could just be a list of what happens in each chapter. This design document is vital is seeing the overall plot and scope of your current manuscript. Please also send the total word count of the whole text or collection of texts to be examined, then Max will get back to you by email, letting you know when the work can be scheduled and how much it will run.

A Read/Eval allows a Developmental Editor to examine the most recent version of a text in progress to take a look at structure and content and to understand the author’s goals for the work. To evaluate a manuscript in process we look for a whole range of things: genre; sub-genre; structure; plot; sequence; causality; narrative arc; scenework vs. narration; interior vs. exterior action; story mechanics including point of view, tense and narrative perspective; characters and character arcs; setting, time and location; turning points; repetition; etc. The goal is to leave the author with specific and concrete feedback and strategy that they can use to help strengthen the manuscript in progress.

After the Read/Eval Max will schedule a followup meeting by phone to help the author to discuss all these elements and strategize about how to move the project forward to meet their goals. A Read/Eval is not a line edit, a re-write, a copy edit or a proofread of the text, those are editing stages that come towards the end of the Drafting Process.

One of the most valuable tools for an editor to have when doing a Read/Eval edit is a list of 2-10 specific Author Questions, questions generated by the Author asking about specific aspects of the text in progress. You might have a specific question about a character, an aspect of the plot, the sequence, the title, etc and Author Questions are your chance to ask the editor for the information that would be most useful to you. An editor will not, of course, limit themselves to only these questions, but they provide us with a meaningful place to start our conversation. Please note that useful Author Questions do NOT include essentialist or broad yes/no questions that invite opinion instead of feedback. Answering questions like “Is this any good?” or “Is this terrible?” is not what professional working Content Editors do. What we do is much more detailed and much more useful than mere opinion.

While Hollowdeck Press LLC is neither a literary agency nor a ghostwriting service, we do work with clients to build the awareness, skills, confidence and community they need to bring their own texts to fruition. Even though the core job of writing the text belongs solely to the author, the process of bringing a book fully to life is a team effort. Whether you plan to excerpt your work for submission to a magazine or journal, look for an agent, find a small or mainstream publisher or independently-publish your work, you will need the help and expertise of trusted folks within the publishing world.

BricksFormatting Manuscripts for Review

If you have already contacted Max and are sending him a manuscript to review, please use these guidelines for formatting and printing. Manuscripts should be 12pt. Times, Times New Roman, New York or Palatino font. Please make texts single spaced and print on both sides of the page, add page numbers and if possible, please 3 hole punch. Authors name, contact information, date of printing, working title and overall word count should appear on the cover page.

Proofreaders, Layout Designers, and More

We do have colleagues in the literary field who work as copy-editors, proofreaders, line-editors, book designers, web-designers, etc and would be glad to recommend a professional who might be a good fit for you. Additionally, if you have worked with someone great in one of the previous categories, please contact us so that we may recommend their services to others. Please note that we do not facilitate the research or placement of individual writers with specific literary agents or specific publishing houses, but we teach writers the skills that empower them and help them learn how to make these matches on their own behalf.

Rates and Estimates

Hollowdeck Press is committed to working with an economically, artistically and culturally diverse community of writers who are ready to step more fully into their work. Every individual client’s needs are different. Some clients meet with Max once a week and some meet with him every two months. Writers have to decide what interval is best for them, both structurally and financially. If provided with a project description, outline/ inventory, 5-10pages of sample text and an overall word count Max can always give you an estimate of how long your manuscript will take to read/ evaluate, when the work can be scheduled and what the costs will be.

  • Rates for private coaching and content editing (including meetings in person and by phone) begin at $90 per hour.
  • Rates for reading and evaluating working manuscripts begin at $90 per hour.
  • Rates for line editing and re-writes begin at $90 per hour.

To accommodate a broad range of folks, Max will schedule a limited number of low-income clients, at a lower hourly rate. To check availability or to set up a time to begin working together, please contact us.

100_1513Payment Methods

Payments can be made with cash, major credit card via the Pay Pal link at the bottom of the home page on this website. If you prefer to pay by check they can be made out to Max Regan or Hollowdeck Press LLC and sent to 1006 Grandview Ave. Boulder CO 80302. If you prefer to pay by VENMO or ZELLE please contact Max for payment information. Payment plans, monthly billing statements, invoices, gift certificates and receipts are all available upon request.

Cancellation Policy

All clients who wish to cancel their upcoming session must do so at least 72 hours prior to the scheduled meeting time to avoid being charged for the session. Clients who reschedule twice in a row will be charged the equivalent of a 1hr session.

Confidentiality Policy

At Hollowdeck Press, we have a firm policy of never sharing the specifics of an author’s text with any other individual without first obtaining the author’s permission. All texts, documents and e-mails are kept in a locked, confidential file for three months past the end of our work together. The copyrights of all texts belong solely to the author, except in rare cases where the client desires a co-authorship contract and agreement. If you have any questions about this policy, please do not hesitate to ask.