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Editor, Ghostwriter, Writing Coach

If you're a writer struggling to find the inspiration or discipline you need to reach your writing goals, or if you have a book or book idea that you'd like taken to the next level, I can definitely help.

I’ve done developmental editing for best-selling novelists; I edited one of the best-selling nonfiction books ever published; I’ve co-authored books with some of the top authors in the country. Taken altogether I have authored, co-authored or ghost-written 15 books.

I also spent over twenty years editing and writing for general interest newspapers and magazines, and have vast experience creating and writing for nationally recognized blogs and websites. For some four years I was one of the most popular writers on The Huffington Post.

From 2009 until I shut it down in 2014 in order to write my novel Everywhere She's Not, my personal blog did 300,000 unique views a month. I funded the publication of ESN through a Kickstarter campaign for which more money was raised ($33,400) than had ever been raised on Kickstarter for a debut novel.

From October 2016 through January 2020, I wrote a weekly advice column, Ask John, for The Asheville Citizen-Times. From April 2016 until I concluded the story in November 2017, I wrote, again for the AC-T, Ashes to Asheville, the first real-time serial novel ever published on the website of a major daily newspaper.

With preeminent authority on American English and renowned wordsmith Richard Lederer, I co-authored Comma Sense: A FUN-damental Guide to Punctuation (St. Martin's, 2007).

Customer comment: "John Shore is a genius and a brilliant writer/coach! John did much more than take my writing to a whole new level—he made me believe in myself as a writer. Working with John has changed my life by giving me the confidence and the skills that are needed to succeed as a writer. If you are someone with a story to tell, or a message that you want to share with the world, John will give your words the attention and expertise that they deserve.” — Nicholas C.

I offer the following six editorial and writing services:

  1. Project Evaluation

  2. Project Development

  3. Substantive Editing

  4. Writing Coach

  5. Telling Your Story

  6. Editing Your Website.


Here's a closer look at each of these services:

1. Project Evaluation

Who's this for? Project Evaluation is for writers who have written a partial or complete book manuscript.

What's its purpose? To assess how likely it is that the book you have thus far will meet the goals that you have for it.


How we'll do it:

1.  You'll fill out a this questionnaire.

2. You'll send me whatever you have written of your manuscript to date, along with any pertinent materials related to the book as a whole (an outline, notes, source materials, chapter summaries, etc.).

3. I'll review everything you've sent me.

4. I'll send you follow-up questions.

6. We'll talk on the phone, or via Skype, to make sure that I've fully understood all of your answers to my questions.

7. I'll evaluate the overall relationship between the book you have so far, the book you have in mind, and the book you ultimately desire.

8. I'll send you a thorough written assessment of your project as I see it: its strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and potential.

9. We'll Skype for at least one hour to discuss my analysis of your book, and to answer any questions you may have.


What's it cost? $495

Customer comment: "I have an extremely difficult story to share, one that I attempted to write on my own multiple times, only to scrap it because it was just too hard. Being so close to the details made it a painful experience. I also do not possess to technical skill to do my own story justice. It is for this reason that I hired John. Never did I realize the relief I would feel to see my story come to fruition under his expertise, as he gave power to my words, writing my story almost as though he was there. John is attentive, compassionate, professional, and extremely comfortable to work with. His ability to write my story almost as though it came from my own mind still has me stunned. He managed to turn my painful story into a piece of art and the process was freeing for me. I don’t think just anybody can do what John does." — Lynne H.

2. Project Development

Who's this for? Writers who want their idea for a memoir or non-fiction book turned into a book.

What's its purpose? To define, hone, and organize your vision for your book. Working in collaboration, you and I will develop your idea for your book into a cohesive, balanced, and fully realized whole.

How we'll do it: 

1. I'll send you the questionnaire, which you'll fill out and return to me.

2. You'll send me materials and content germane to your book: what (if any) of the book you've written thus far, pertinent notes you've taken for it, source recordings, articles, pictures, and so on.

3. I'll study this material.

4. On the phone, or via Skype, we'll discuss the material. (I'll get necessary clarifications, contextual understandings, further explanations, etc., and, if it seems warranted, discuss with you possible ways to cull, hone, and focus it all. This is where the book really begins to take form.)

5. I'll send you a preliminary written outline of your book.

6. We'll talk on the phone or over Skype to discuss and hone the outline.

7. I'll send you the finalized outline of your book, including all of its chapters, and a brief summary of what each chapter will contain.

8. If you desire, we will then begin developing each of your book's chapters into its best and most logical subchapters.

9. We'll repeat this step, chapter by chapter, until we've arrived at a thorough, detailed, and fully developed outline of your book.

What's it cost?For Project Developmental I charge my hourly rate, which is $70 per hour.

Customer comment: "Although I was somewhat successful writing online several years ago, a series of distractions took me away from writing until recently. However, when I felt the urge to write again, I found that my confidence had flagged. My sessions with John as a writing coach were extremely valuable. He was able to point out places where my writing needed to have a more authentic voice and places where small tweaks could make a piece far more effective. More importantly, he both encouraged and validated me, giving me practical advice for moving my writing toward publication and assurance that I have something worthwhile to say. John’s coaching sessions had a wonderful combination of expertise, humor, and heart." — Jan A.

3. Substantive Editing

Who's this for? Writers who have written a partial or complete book manuscript they want substantively edited.

What's its purpose? To hone and properly organize your book manuscript. Working in collaboration, you and I will develop your manuscript into a cohesive, balanced, and fully realized whole.

How's it work? There are three types of editing which every book must undergo. First comes developmental editing (a service I offer; see above), next is substantive editing, and finally comes copyediting, also known an proofreading (a service which I do not offer). Substantive Editing is where I analyze the whole of your partial or completed manuscript, and suggest changes to it relative to just about everything that defines it: grammar, syntax, clarity of expression, point of view, tone, pace, flow, theme development, contexts, and overall organization—as well as, for fiction, such elements as plot, setting, character establishment and development, and so on. In short, I will show you how to turn whatever text you have into the best possible version of itself.

What's it cost? $70 per hour.

4. Telling Your Story


Who's this for? Anyone who has a story—a memory, an anecdote, an experience, a life—that they want captured in words.


What's its purpose? To transform the whole of a lived experience into writing that will endure.

How's it work? We'll talk; you'll relate to me the story you want to tell; together we will fashion, and in yourvoice, tell your story. It might be a particular incident or chapter from your past that you want preserved for yourself or a larger reading audience; it might be a memoir of your life that can be handed down for generations of your family. Whatever it is, and in whatever form you want it told—book-length memoir, novel, novella, short story, poem, a letter or series of letters—I will ghostwrite your story for you.

What's it cost? $70 per hour.


Customer comment: “I am happy to report John is a great writing coach! He’s insightful and honest in his assessments, and speedy in communications. He’s the kindest taskmaster I’ve ever worked with. He didn’t pull punches, but was respectful as he told me the things I needed to hear. He puts the “love” in “tough love,” which was necessary for me, since I’m a little scared of criticism. (Also, if you’re a little shallow, like me, get this: I utterly enjoyed the surreal joy a personal hero emailing me about my writing!) I participated in a Coaching Block, which he makes very affordable (thanks John!), but I wish I had the income for him to kick my butt every day.” — Jenn K.

5. Writing Coach


Who's this for? Anyone who desires to become a better writer.

What's it's purpose? To give you motivation, inspiration, and tools that you can use to become the best and most productive writer you can be.


How's it work? I offer coaching sessions, each of which is self-contained. Each session happens in the following steps:


First, we'll talk on the phone, or via Skype, and I will learn where your writing life is currently at. We'll discuss such things as what your writing is to you—what it means to you, why it compels you, what you want to give it, what you expect from it in return. Perhaps most importantly, we'll talk about what might be holding you back from becoming the writer you'd like to be. This talk should take us about an hour, but it's not like I'll be, at all, watching the clock.

In a day or so following our talk, I will get back to you with some exercises and/or a writing project that I'll want you to do. It might be something that I'll suggest to read or watch, or an experience of some sort that I believe you should have. It will certainly include something that I'd like you to write. It might be a free-form poem, a letter, something that's strictly stream-of-consciousness, a piece of fiction based upon an experience from your childhood, a monologue from a point of view that's completely opposite your own. Whatever it comprises, this exercise, or combination of exercises, will be custom designed for you. Its purpose will be to unlock and unblock the creative flow of your inner writer.

Once you've returned to me your completed assignment, I will deeply reflect upon what it tells me about where you are in your journey toward becoming the writer you want to be—and what steps you might take to get there from where you're at.

On the phone, or via Skype, I will share with you my conclusions.

This is therapy for writers, and as such is ideally continued over time, be it weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Session by session, you will become a clearer, more focused, more insightful, more disciplined, more competent, more confident, and, perhaps most importantly, more artful writer.

What's it cost?
1 Coaching Session: $120
4 sessions: $450
8 sessions: $850


6. Editing Your Website

Who's this for? Anyone with a website or blog that needs a writer and/or editor's touch.


What's its purpose? Your website or blog is how you tell the world who you are and what you do. If your online home reads poorly or looks bad, you look bad. I can ensure that all of the content on your site looks great and reads well, making your website both informative and a pleasure to visit.

How's it work? Following my careful evaluation of the user's experience of your website, I will send you a report delineating those aspect of your site which I believe are most in need of attention. Analyzing and reporting on your site will typically take three hours, depending upon the size of the site.

If you so desire, after my evaluation of it, you can next hire me to fix any or all editorial components of your website. From suggesting optimal organization of your website's pages, to editing and writing its text, to properly placing and sizing all of its pictures, I will turn your online home into something you can be proud of.

What's it cost? $70 per hour.

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