As a sought-after nonfiction developmental editor and book coach, Molly McCowan has worked with New York Times–bestselling authors and Big Five publishers. After more than thirteen years of assisting authors with their manuscripts at Inkbot Editing, Molly is now sharing her expertise with editors, writers, and business owners. She speaks regularly at national conferences and teaches for The Great Courses, the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA), the Professional Editors Network (PEN), and ACES: The Society for Editing.
Molly is driven to share everything she’s learned about how to build a thriving freelance editorial business. An experienced instructor and business coach, she specializes in helping both new and mid-career freelance editors and proofreaders:
- Launch (or relaunch!) their freelance business
- Earn what they’re worth
- Use business systems (and the power of automation!) to maximize their time
- Create a steady stream of incoming projects they’ll love
- Develop and maintain healthy boundaries and work-life balance
- Be better bosses—to both themselves and their team
Sign up here to be notified when Molly launches new classes, coaching programs, and freebies for editorial freelancers.
Aligning with her passion for helping fellow editorial professionals, Molly has served as chairperson for the EFA Education Program since 2020. She is in charge of recruiting new instructors, managing the program (strategy, operations, finances, marketing, learning management systems…you name it!) and developing the EFA’s growing roster of courses. She’s also the founder of the 800-member Fort Collins, Colorado, chapter of Shut Up & Write!™, which hosts multiple free writing sprints every week.
Pssst: Are you a writer? Molly works with a highly limited number of entrepreneurs, adventurers, and thought leaders dedicated to making a change with a nonfiction book. Submissions will reopen in winter 2022. In the meantime, check out Molly’s Great Courses® class to learn how to revise your fiction or creative nonfiction for the best chance of success in the marketplace.
Editorial Business Coaching Testimonials
“I recently started to toy with the idea of freelancing as an editor, but I really had no idea where to start. I’m so glad I took one of Molly’s online classes then signed up for an hour of coaching with her. She sent me lots of great questions to understand my background and experience, then during our conversation she was able to help me see some paths forward that hadn’t occurred to me. I’m now working on a business plan and a website using her valuable insights as a starting point. Molly really knows the business of editing and was delightful to work with!”
—Jennifer Pinkley, Professional Editor
“The Clarity Call was a massive help! I’ve been wandering around blind with just getting started on my editing/proofreading business, and I came away from the call feeling like I had a list of priorities finally in place. I felt like Molly really listened to my needs, concerns, and the goals I am trying to accomplish both personally and professionally. Then she went the extra mile, providing me with resources and insider tips to consider from the beginning! I am so grateful for this service and would absolutely recommend it to others.
I will definitely book additional sessions. I felt the pre-call prep (i.e., the intake questionnaire) made the allotted time that much more productive and efficient for both of us. Also, I felt that Molly was paying attention to me as an individual, not just ‘going through the motions’ or giving generic answers.
Honestly, I was quite blown away and delighted with the outcome of the call.”
—Noelle Hollar, Professional Editor
“Molly’s coaching was invaluable in helping me figure out the next steps in my business and in helping me figure out how to balance my time between work and life. I would definitely recommend it to others.”
—Emma Robbins, Professional Editor
“Molly gave me specific guidance about how to make my business, which has grown over the last several years, less overwhelming and more sustainable for me moving forward. I would definitely recommend her to other freelance editors.”
—Deborah Steinberg, Professional Editor
“Molly is so warm and encouraging. She does exactly the type of editing I hope to do, so it was wonderful to be able to learn from her many years of experience. I walked away with answers to all of my burning questions and a fantastic list of resources to get my editing business going.”
—Christy Krumm Richard, Professional Editor
“So thorough, I’ll probably have to listen a few times. Tremendous amount of valuable info.”
“I wish she’d do more webinars. I’d listen to anything she has to say. What a pro.”
“Engaging, energetic, terrific public speaker, well organized, extremely knowledgeable yet admitted her limitations. I mostly listened, but very good graphics too. As good as it gets.”
“I think Molly’s webinar on setting your rates should be required for anyone setting up a freelance business. I see many new editors entering the field and pricing themselves so low that I can’t imagine they can survive in the business for long. It devalues not only their work but the editing profession as a whole. It’s not sustainable, and I imagine that a major percentage end up moving on to other work because they either burn out or must turn to other work to pay the bills.”
“The information, presentation, pace, Ms. McCowan’s expertise, and her suggested resources made this by far the most valuable webinar I’ve attended all year. I didn’t realize the blind spots I was experiencing—notably, I learned how discounting the bill and charging hourly rates almost exclusively actually diminish the perceived value of the work itself. Also, the way my own marketing copy could be sending out the unintended message that the work is not valuable because I am extending invitations for ‘affordable’ or ‘reasonable’ rates. I was able to brainstorm several solutions afterward that I believe will develop into better business. I truly appreciated this webinar.”
“Molly’s human approach was very relatable and provided great in-roads for a topic that can be somewhat opaque or overwhelming. The presentation was smart and relatable.”
“The instructor was an excellent speaker – easy to understand, did not falter, spoke at a perfect rate. Her ideas for generating income are doable for any level of freelancer, whether they’ve been in business for a long time or they’re relatively new.”
“This was one of the best webinars I’ve attended recently! Molly’s presentation was not only clear and her pacing perfect as she gave us the information, but she had helpful tips that could easily be executed.”
“I appreciated the angle she took on the subject. Namely that many freelancers get caught in the bind of perfectionism. This helped me to view what is essentially business development in a new way.”
“I’m just starting out, and I’m trying to resist charging extremely low rates. Molly gave me the confidence to charge industry standards to start. The value vs. commodity dialogue was super helpful.”
Effective Editing: Take Your Writing to the Next Level (The Great Courses®)
“I didn’t know what to expect, but I learned so much from the first lesson forward. I wish I had known this material at the earliest stages of my writing career from specific kinds of editing to how to comb through a manuscript numerous times focusing on something different and precise each time. I don’t know why English teachers don’t spend more time on editing.”
“This is a good course taught by an excellent teacher. Aside from her academic credentials, Molly has had a ton of experience. She doesn’t hesitate to demolish academic myths that get in the way of effective editing, and she has lots of tips that make this a practical course for editors and writers. I learned much from it, even with years of writing experience.”
“The professor is very engaging and knowledgeable. Every time I rewatch her course I have my pen and paper at the ready as she inspires me to concoct sudden twists I want to add to my story. I sometimes wish I could keep this secret sauce to myself to lessen the competition out there, but that’s just silly…there can never be too many books!”
“This course exceeded my expectations and is one of the best writing courses that I have taken from Great Courses. As with many novice writers, I have read and heard that you must get your first draft written, then edited. Molly McCowan’s course has given me a much better understanding of what editing means. In the past, my editing got stuck in editing grammar and spelling. With this course, I have started developmental editing my draft. While this may seem obvious to other writers, the epiphany to begin with developmental editing has been amazing for me.”
“As a first-time writer I am still in a huge learning curve, so when I applied the information from this series of lectures to my writing, I could see a definite improvement. My awareness of what to look for in the editing process has been sharpened. Thanks so much!”
“If you’re working on narrative nonfiction or memoir, there’s a lot of you in your writing; a lot of personality and history. You want to make sure you’re working with someone who respects that and wants to bring out the best for the reader. Molly is very skilled at helping writers find what they’re really trying to say and get it down on the page. By working with Molly early on, you line yourself up to have more success in the traditional- or self-publishing world.”
—Jim Davidson, New York Times Bestselling Author
“Molly pinpointed weaknesses in my story that no one else had been able to identify. The editorial letter she provided was thorough, but uplifting—after reading her feedback, I couldn’t wait to get started on my next round of edits. I plan on using Inkbot Editing for all my editing needs from here on out!”
—Jesse Mae Weiner, Author
“Compared to other editors’ work I’ve seen, Molly and the team at Inkbot Editing deliver the most thorough and highest quality product of all. Worth. Every. Penny.”
—Jack Matthews, Author
“Molly is an editing genius—she’s f**king good at what she does.”
—Will Swanepoel, Author
“Molly’s feedback was amazing. She has a gift for helping a writer find the right voice for the story they are trying to tell. I will absolutely recommend her services to others.”
–Rob Balich, Author
“Receiving Molly’s editorial letter was a life-changing moment for me. She took the time to explain and teach me things that were important to the craft of writing. Things like pace, rhythm, and flow. Now, after spending a few months in the editing process, it sounds so obvious, but at the time, I had no idea what any of that meant. That she took the time to teach and explain this to me has made all the difference in the way in which I write. After going through that editorial letter multiple times, I was no longer just ‘writing a book’—I felt like I had become a writer.
After seeing Molly’s edits and suggestions about the ordering of chapters, sequencing of content, and paying attention to chapter structures, flow and pace of the material, I now know the reader will have a much better experience when they get my book in their hands. Molly helped to bring out the best version of my book and the best version of me.”
—Melinda Cohan, Author and CEO of the Coaches Console
“Molly brings a sharp mind and smart instincts to looking at how to make the communication with any reader as straightforward as possible. First, she’s a great developmental editor, able to see how the entire flow of narrative should proceed.
Second, she also provided top-notch line editing where I ended up accepting at least ninety percent of her edits. Sometimes I would read a suggested modification and realize that it was so much clearer the way she phrased it, exclaiming to myself, ‘Why didn’t I think of putting it that way?’
Third, she’s obviously a very smart person, understanding the meaning of my writing, but then converting complicated ideas into more digestible text. She was also impressive at pointing out areas where she might have changed the meaning.
If I ever go through the ordeal of writing another book, I’d seek to use Molly again after what a terrific job she did with improving my text.”
—Patrick Geddes, former CFO and Director of Qualitative Research, Morningstar