Find your writing rhythm.

Whether you need a writing coach, an online writing class,

or manuscript critique, The Book Doctor can help.

Learn to write your novel, one scene at a time.


Contact Michelle

About the Book Doctor

About the Book Doctor

Welcome to Bay Area Book Doctor! I’m Michelle Richmond–author, educator, and writing coach. During my 20-year writing career, I’ve faced my share of setbacks. Through countless rejections and endless revisions, I persisted and built the writing career I wanted.  I feel grateful for the opportunity to live my writing dream, and I started Bay Area Book Doctor to help others live their dreams too. I’m just as passionate about helping other writers as I am about writing. Learn more about my books and teaching background.

Have a look around the site, and please use the contact form to tell me what challenges you’re facing, what you’re working on, and how I can help you find your writing rhythm. If you work best one-on-one and need intensive guidance on your novel, memoir, or other writing project, check out my writing coach page. If you are self-motivated, enjoy working at your own pace, and want to learn how to write a novel, then my online writing classes are a great fit. And if you’d like to receive my newsletter, filled with practical advice on writing and publishing, subscribe to The Caffeinated Writer.


Book Editing and Manuscript Critique

Get your novel in shape to send out to agents and publishers.

Whether you’re writing your first novel, or you have a few unpublished novels tucked away in a drawer, I can help you polish your book to send out to agents and publishers. If your goal is to self-publish, I can help you make sure that your book is professional so that it stands out from the thousands of independent titles released each week. I’ll look at the big picture of your novel or memoir–story structure, style, plot, characterization–and pinpoint where your book is lagging. I’ll suggest new scenes that need to be written, structural rearrangement, and specific ways to deepen character. Paying especially close attention to the first fifty pages, I’ll show you  what might prevent agents and publishers from giving your manuscript a serious read. I’ll also suggest ways to streamline the prose, tighten dialogue, and improve narrative pace.


Finding the Right Fit

Working with a book editor is a very personal process. You want to know that your novel or memoir is in good hands and that the editor will help you make your book the best it can be while honoring your distinctive voice and your vision. Whether you’re writing literary fiction, mainstream fiction, a cross-genre novel, or memoir, my goal is to help you revise your book in order to catch a publisher’s eye and keep readers turning pages. I believe that a book should be made of beautiful sentences and compelling characters, but it should also be entertaining. Unputdownable is never a bad thing.


A Very Close Read

Critiquing a novel is an intricate process, and it requires many hours of close and careful reading. That’s why I accept only two to three clients per year. After reading your manuscript, I will make detailed suggestions that may include new scenes that need to be added, ways to develop your characters more fully, notes on stylistic issues that are weighing down the prose, pacing concerns, how to deepen thematic and emotional resonance, and more. While many editors charge separately for line editing, I find it almost impossible not to make suggestions on how to improve the prose on a sentence-by-sentence level. Overwrought sentences can cloud the beauty of an otherwise skillful novel or story. For that reason, every critique package includes some line editing.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Fiction

Every novel presents its own challenges, and the issues I focus on in your novel will be determined by the needs that arise as I read your manuscript. However, here are some of the things we might address:

  • Tighten structure
  • Improve dialogue
  • Deepen characterization
  • Streamline descriptions
  • Find the heart of your story
  • Identify weak points in the plot
  • Crystallize the book’s theme
AVAILABILITY: Because I work with only two to three clients per year, manuscript consultation has extremely limited availability. You can, however, schedule a one-hour phone or video consultation with me by using the CONTACT button below.


If you don’t yet have a complete manuscript but you do have a project in mind, you can benefit from hiring me as your writing coach. When you sign up for one-on-one coaching, you’ll receive monthly critiques and video coaching sessions to help you meet your full potential as a writer. Whether you want to finish your novel, start your memoir, write short stories, apply to writing residencies, or submit your work for publication, I can help you define and achieve your goals.

jenniferpaddockMichelle helped me enormously with my novel. She’s kind and generous, but she’s also a tough critic. By seeing things that I could not, she gave me big-picture notes on plot, character, point-of-view, and dialogue. On my manuscript, she marked where the problems were and then wrote out solutions. She also tried to make sure that the book stayed mine. She never imposed her personal style but wanted me to find my own. I cannot recommend Michelle enough. She is a wonder! Jennifer Paddock

author, The Weight of Memory, Point Clear

“It benefitted me immeasurably to brainstorm with you today about how to tweak scenes. Thank you for digging deep with your suggestions to help me clarify the characters’ motivations. I also appreciate your openness about the publishing industry… You have gone above and beyond.” Crimson P.

Houston, TX


Work one-on-one with Michelle to achieve your writing goals
  • Are you serious about your writing? Do you want to finally finish your novel, start your memoir, apply to writing residencies, or submit your work for publication? If your answer is yes, then it’s time to consider working with a writing coach. I can help you define your goals, understand where your project fits in to the publishing landscape, meet deadlines, know where and how to submit your work for the greatest chance of success, and more.
  • Two one-hour video coaching sessions per month
  • A written critique of up to 30 pages of writing per month
  • Two personalized coaching emails per month
  • During your coaching sessions, we will discuss the writing you submitted and I will answer your questions and guide you toward next steps
  • Billed monthly, cancel any time
  • Monthly Coaching is currently fully booked. If you would like to be added to the wait list, please use the form below to tell me about your needs and why you want to work with a writing coach.

14 + 10 =

Want to make sure you’re getting a fair rate? See current recommended editorial rates from the Editorial Freelancers Association.

*Packages are for manuscripts of up to 95,000 words.

*Please add $195 for each additional 10,000 words for the Silver Package, and $265 for each additional 10,000 words for the Gold Package.