Author Amanda Jackson on Starting a Freelance Picture Book Editing Business and Critique GIVEAWAY

Hi Math is Everywhere readers,

Today we have one of my favorite authors here to share some exciting news! She’s started up a freelance picture book editing business so anyone can get her amazing feedback! Please welcome, author of My Shape is Sam, Amanda Jackson! If you missed when she was first on the Math is Everywhere blog, check it out here.

Kaitlyn: Hi, Amanda, thanks for joining us today!

Amanda: Kaitlyn, you’re so sweet! Thank you for all the kind words, and for having me on your blog.

Kaitlyn: It’s my pleasure! Thank you for sharing. To start off, what inspired you to become an author?

Amanda: I’ve been a storyteller, in some form, for as long as I can remember. Most of my professional experience has been with preschool-aged kids, so diving into picture books felt like a natural next step for my writing. As soon as I started learning the craft, I fell totally in love. 

Kaitlyn: It sounds like you found your calling! How did you decide to use your wonderful critique talents as an editor?

Amanda: I have been critiquing picture books for years, and I love it. The kidlit community is a special one. Tender hearts and big imaginations. Working with their stories is a joy.

So, with extra time at home this year, I saw the opportunity to turn my editing experience into something more. I’m so glad I did!

Kaitlyn: So true, we do have such a lovely kidlit community, and I’m so glad you have time to take on this new adventure; so many writers are going to benefit from your services. For those who don’t know, can you explain what you do as a freelance editor?

Amanda: Sure! I read picture book manuscripts and give feedback on what’s working, what needs strengthening, and ideas for how to do that. I take a deep dive into every part of the story and give comprehensive notes on ways to make it shine. 

I enjoy working with manuscripts at all stages, whether they’re early in the process of figuring the story out, or well developed and in need of a polish.

I offer full manuscript critiques, concept critiques, pitch critiques, and more. And if you need the feedback rushed, I offer that as well!

Kaitlyn: Wow! The full gamut, love it! When it comes to critiques, sometimes we get feedback we don’t want to hear. What do you suggest writers do when this happens?

Amanda: This is such a good question! I’ve been there (what writer hasn’t), and I know how crushing it can be. My best advice is to let the feedback breathe. Give yourself some distance from the story, and come back to it in a few weeks (or longer!). That distance can help you be more objective about your work *and* the feedback. It can make it a little easier to see whether or not the critique was merited, and how to respond. Sometimes fresh eyes make all the difference!

Kaitlyn: Agreed! Taking time away always helps me. What advice can you share with writers on their journey to publication?

Amanda: I encourage picture book authors to read LOTS of picture books. New and old, while paying close attention to what’s being published *now*. 

And read each twice. The first time, just enjoy the story. The second time, read as more of a study. For example, take note of what’s written, and what’s left to the art. How are page-turns handled? What makes a good, natural transition? How did the main character get from point A to point B without it feeling forced? Which books make you feel for the characters, which don’t, and why? 

I’d say this really isn’t optional for us. If our goal is to be published, we need to know what’s being (and been) published.

Kaitlyn: So well said! How do you think being a published author can help make you a good editor?

Amanda: I can empathize with writers at all stages. We all start at the beginning, most of us aiming for the same goal – we want our stories to become books, loved by kids and their parents. I know the journey well, and I offer that as a resource to other writers in the thick of it.

Kaitlyn: Wonderful! What’s your favorite thing about editing picture books?

Amanda: Coming up with ideas to elevate stories is such a joy. I love passing along lightbulb moments. 

Plus I just adore picture books. As writers, we wrap our hearts up in these stories – it’s such a privilege for me to be able to help other writers along their way. 

Kaitlyn: Yes! Those light blub moments are THE BEST! Finally, if you were able to spend the day with your favorite author or illustrator, would you rather drink tea by the fireside or go fly a kite?

Amanda: I’m definitely more of a beverage by the fire type. Make it coffee and I’m there. 😉

Kaitlyn: Haha, okay, for you, we’ll try coffee 😉 Thank you so much again for joining us today!

Amanda: It’s always my pleasure, Kaitlyn! Thank YOU. It was lovely. 

Would you like a professional picture book critique from Amanda Jackson? All the details are here, on here website:


About Amanda

amanda headshot

Amanda writes stories for kids and their grown-ups, and she’s sure there’s nothing better. She grew up in Pennsylvania, where she discovered the joy of making: drawing, crafting, sewing, cooking, storytelling. Anything to give her imagination a voice.

She has a degree in Human Development and fifteen+ years of experience working with kids, in and out of the classroom. In her 30’s her love of storytelling teamed up with her love of kids, and writing picture books was the natural next step. What a joyful step it was!

MY SHAPE IS SAM (9/17/19), her debut picture book, was illustrated by Lydia Nichols, published by Page Street Kids Publishing, and distributed by Macmillan.

She is represented by Charlotte Wenger of Prospect Agency. She is a member of SCBWI

Twitter: @AJacksonBooks
Instagram: Amanda_Jackson_Books

Kaitlyn’s Review of Amanda’s Editing

Amanda Jackson has it all when it comes to critiques; in fact, I won’t send out my manuscript without her eyes on it first. She sees the big picture arc, line edits, and always has awesome ideas I’ve NEVER thought of before. Amanda has made all of my manuscripts sing, whether they are character-driven or concept, rhyming or prose, Amanda knows just what to say to get me extra excited about my manuscript as well as improve it to make it the best it can be.

Giveaway time! 

Do you want to win a critique from Amanda?

Awesome! Here are the details:

To win a full picture book manuscript critique, 800 words or fewer (fiction), or 1000 words or fewer (nonfiction), retweet + tag two friends to let them know about Amanda’s wonderful new service!


Thank you so much for reading and sharing!



Kaitlyn Sanchez


PS. If you haven’t checked out Melissa Stewart’s new book, A. S. Mackey’s debut book, or Amber Henricks’ picture book birthday celebration–yes there are games–check them out here and here and here.

18 thoughts on “Author Amanda Jackson on Starting a Freelance Picture Book Editing Business and Critique GIVEAWAY

  1. I was so excited to read this interview. And I second Kaitlyn’s endorsement of Amanda’s critiques. Amanda gives skilled and insightful feedback, full of great suggestions for improvement. But most importantly, she always leaves me feeling inspired and excited to continue working on my manuscript.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for reading, Marci, and you should for sure get a copy of Sam ASAP, it’s one of my favorites ever! And I’m so happy to share, it can be difficult to find good, reliable pro crits, huh?


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