Testimonials for Speaking, Critique and Workshop

What a dynamo! What a natural comedienne!
I loved this 2-in-1 ball of energy.
She gave great advice, too.

– DFWCon Attendee

For Conference and Event Organizers

I love speaking, critiquing, hearing pitches, consulting with writers, teaching workshop, reviewing portfolios, giving presentations, and otherwise giving conference attendees my time and attention. I’m based in Minneapolis, am a published author in the writing how-to field, and have over ten years of experience in the children’s writing space. All of these things are a huge draw for attendees.

I’m very excited to have the following talks ready to give at a moment’s notice. They can be tailored to your time requirements, from 45 minutes to three hours. From an overview of the kidlit market, to specific craft issues, to what separates a writing hopeful from an agented author, I have talks for every skill level. I always leave room for Q & A and stay after the session to talk to attendees. Here’s a short menu:

Secrets of the Agent Search: How to Land the Perfect Fit
Slush Pile Secrets: 10 Elements of a Successful Query
The Most Common First Page Mistakes—And How to Fix Them

Children’s Books: The Hottest (and Coolest) Market in Publishing
The Three Things that Separate an Agented Author from an Aspiring Writer
Crafting in Words and Pictures
Writing and the Creative Life
I’m Published! Now What?

That said, I love writing new material and can customize programs of any length to fit your target audience, experience level (geared to beginner, intermediate, or advanced writers) and preferred subject matter, from small workshops to large keynotes.

I would love to hear from conference organizers, workshop and retreat leaders, and SCBWI regional advisers. My only requirement is that conference cover all the cost of travel to and from your location, including food and lodging. As you can understand, I give priority to events that can also provide honorariums and/or per-critique fees.

Please get in touch with me by emailing mary@kidlit.com!

Testimonials for Speaking

I love to give presentations and speak to writers live or in webinar format. Most of the following anonymous feedback has been taken from conference and event evaluations and forwarded to me. Other feedback has been sent to me directly from attendees after the event. All of the feedback on this page is unsolicited. I don’t want to jinx myself but the only piece of negative feedback I have ever received (to my knowledge, of course) is: There wasn’t enough time for her talk! I would’ve listened for hours.

Mary Kole was articulate and excellent. My favorite. — Redwood Writers Conference

Mary Kole gave an outstanding presentation. She was very knowledgeable and has a great teacher’s heart. The best speaker yet! — DFW Writers Workshop

My favorite presenter was Mary Kole. She is genuinely excited about children’s lit and is incredibly knowledgeable and fun. Listening to her resparked my love for writing children’s literature. – TMCC Writers’ Conference

Excellent! The best agent presentation I’ve ever heard. Mary has a great passion for her work and her topic. She really hit the key insights. — DFW Writers Workshop

Mary was energetic, enthusiastic, positive, encouraging, sincerely helpful and very informative. — TMCC Writers’ Conference

Mary Kole rocked my socks. — DFW Writers Workshop

Testimonials for Critique

Whether I read manuscripts ahead of time or during a one-on-one consultation, I always give valuable notes that the attendee can take home…and use to take their writing to the next level. I will accept manuscripts before the conference or read on the spot. I go to conferences to provide the maximum benefit possible to attendees, and my critiques are just one thing I bring to the table.

Your comments and suggestions are fantastic and dead on, complete with actionable advice. Thank you. This is exactly what I needed, and it’s like you knew it without me telling you. I’ll be revising with a new eye. If I were an audience, I’d give you a standing ovation. — Query Critique

I took a look at your notes and I have to say: they’re some of the BEST DARN NOTES I’ve ever received. You were so honest, thorough, refreshing, and helpful! I gotta say: you’re one of the best critiquers I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. You were so thorough! I can’t thank you enough. — Sample Pages Critique

Thanks so much for the detailed critique of my story. I think all of your criticism and suggestions are spot on and will go far in making my story stronger. It’s so hard to see some of these things for yourself as you write and you have a great eye for pacing that I haven’t quite developed yet. — Sample Pages Critique

Wow…. I’ve just read your comments and I have to say that this is the most complete critique I’ve ever had! Thank you so much for your time and your thoughtful comments. I knew that this manuscript still needed a lot of work and you’ve given me a lot of specifics. — Sample Pages Critique

Thank you SO MUCH for the great feedback! I’m feeling very encouraged by your comments, and you pointed out some important things that I need to improve. — Sample Pages Critique

Mary provided the best professional feedback I’ve honestly ever received on my manuscript. She has a superb editorial eye. Her comments were spot on and thorough without feeling like jabs through my sensitive writer’s skin. Thank you, Mary! — Contest Winner Critique

Mary gave me the best writing advice I have ever received. — Sample Pages Critique

Testimonials for Workshop

My favorite conference format is the more intensive, small-group workshop, where I can really dig into the writing craft with attendees. This format is especially tailored to smaller conferences or workshops. You can take a look at some of my workshop feedback here.

I particularly enjoyed working with Mary Kole. Her incisive critiques, humor, copy edits, passion for literature, time management, positive feedback for each writers’ strengths… while keeping a strong focus on the realities of what makes a successful manuscript, created a productive, informative… kick your butt in a good way workshop. It was was inspiring. — Big Sur Writers Workshop

If you can go to a conference with Mary, you should do it! I attended Big Sur in December 2009, and Mary gave me some of the best writing advice I’ve ever gotten. Not only was she able to hone in on and articulate the specific problem, she told me how to FIX it. — Big Sur Writers Workshop