– Jamie Flanagan, author & screenwriter, Midnight Mass and Haunting of Bly Manor –
"Each story I've trusted to Karmen has returned stronger. Whether it be from her line edits, suggestions for clarity, or nuanced questions regarding character and theme—each tale has been returned more vivid, and with greater heart."
– Joe Blackhurst, author (Reedsy) –
"Karmen is exceptional. She guides the writer to realize flaws and solutions in the manuscript on both a micro and macro level. She also possesses the intangible quality that is much harder to learn—good taste. She steered my novel in a direction that had never occurred to me and made the characters and narrative so much stronger for it. In many ways, it feels as if she were a co-writer.
It pains me to recommend her so highly because it means it'll be tougher for me to book her in the future."
– Samantha Kolesnik, Publisher of Off Limits Press –
"Karmen is a tremendously gifted editor. I would recommend her without hesitation."
– Cynthia Pelayo, 5x Bram Stoker-nominated author & poet of the Chicago Saga, Loteria, Crime Scene, and Publisher of Burial Day Books –
"Karmen has been a key figure in the Burial Day Books anthologies and helping me re-release my older works that definitely needed the love and a care of a good editor. Her close eye and suggestions for my recent poetry collection made me take pause because she saw things in such a valuable light that I was not able to see. Karmen's skills are wide-ranging, from poetry to prose, short story and full anthologies. I'm so thankful for all of Karmen's hard work and dedication, and I hope to continue working with her for a long tie to come."
– Brian Navarro, author (Reedsy) –
"The honest critique and supportive words in her memo and her fair and faithful in-line changes exceeded my expectations. Every sentence she wrote, every change she suggested, had my story’s interests in mind. Her comments paved the way for exciting changes to the story and educated me on writing habits that were holding it back, too.
Karmen is easy to work with, professional, thorough, and above all, keen to help you level up as a writer. . . . By the end of your work with her, you’ll feel confident in your story, your voice, and your next steps."
– Jessica Westhead, author of Worry –
"Karmen's insightful and encouraging input on my novel Worry, both as an assistant to my literary agent and then as an editor at HarperCollins Canada, was invaluable. Her suggestions vastly improved the story I was trying to tell, and her excitement about my work and faith in my abilities buoyed me up during the entire process. Any writer would be lucky to have her in their corner."
– Manfred Lopez Grem, WGA screenwriter –
"Karmen Wells has a unique perspective to offer screenwriters because of her background in publishing. I felt like she was genuinely advocating from a mainstream audience's perspective, rather than from a specialized (and jaded) Hollywood production company. . . . And the added line-level commentary is not only a testimony to the level of attention to detail she provided, but also a very useful gauge to me as a writer."
– Brad Adams, author (Reedsy) –
"Working with Karmen was a fantastic experience. I highly recommend her to any writer. She gives you great detailed feedback. She has a sharp eye to notice where you can turn a good story into a WOW story! It was easy to tell that she wanted my story to stay my story, and have it become the best it can be. I will definitely work with her again, and if you haven’t you should!"
– Scott March, screenwriter –
"I'm still inspired by Karmen's balance of creativity, professionalism, care, and curiosity in providing me with invaluable notes on both a manuscript and a screenplay. In each consult, she not only offered me the feedback I needed but was also an amazing sounding board to further hone my craft."
– Alex Cruz, horror author (Reedsy) –
"Karmen’s editorial assessment proved that her narrative insight and comprehension of character development is indisputable. Her comments, both thoughtful and substantive, demonstrated that she was not only committed to providing constructive criticism, but innately understood what my manuscript required to take it to the next level. She achieves all of this while maintaining a decorum of professionalism and respect that makes her a pleasure to work with!"
– Mike Weir, author –
"For any writer who's ever been attached to their work for way, way too long—in other words, when all objectivity has flown out the window—to find someone who not only understands what the hell you're doing, but also how the hell to actually improve upon it, is the sort of person who makes you go, 'Man, where have YOU been!?' That's Karmen. Her feedback was not only helpful, logical and nuanced, but is derived from a fundamental understanding of my plot, characters, and overall vision, and honestly, that sort of critique is invaluable. AND she did it all in a super concise and personable manner. So, yeah—she's infuriatingly talented."
– Patricia Fulton, horror author –
"While reading Karmen's in-depth analysis of my manuscript, I felt like she had somehow gotten her hands on my personal writing notes. There were paragraphs, chapters, and even a character I still had doubts about (and secretly hoped no one would notice) and yet she managed to ferret each one out. In addition to finding the weak areas, she offered constructive suggestions that improved the manuscript. I look forward to working with Karmen Wells on my next project."
– Tim McGregor, author of Wasps in the Ice Cream and Hearts Strange and Dreadful –
"Karmen has an instinct for both character and craft that brings out the best a story can be. A total pro with a hard respect for the author's voice."
– Pardeep Aujla, author of The Final Women –
"If you’re looking for an editor, I wholeheartedly recommend Karmen. Her feedback on my first manuscript was both constructive and encouraging, not only pointing out the areas to improve and why, but offering possible solutions. Karmen’s editing process levelled up not only the story, but my own ability and confidence as a writer. I definitely look forward to working with her again!"
– Hailey Piper, Bram Stoker-winning author of Queen of Teeth, The Worm and His Kings, and more –
"Karmen has a sharp eye for detail, and her fastidious research, laid out in clear comments on each page, not only helped the work shine brighter but taught me a couple language complexities that I carry still."
– Skye Braband, screenwriter, 2020 ScreenCraft Horror Semifinalist –
"Karmen's insight into the horror genre is immense. She helped me mine untapped wells of suspense that had been effectively sitting under my nose in my script. Working with the rules and situations that had already been established in the screenplay, she was able to find ways to significantly elevate the tension and further improve the story as a whole."
– Daniel Barnett, author of The Nightmareland Chronicles –
"Working with Karmen has been a pleasure. Her keen eye is matched by rare insightfulness and a genuine love of storytelling. You'd be hard-pressed to find someone kinder or more professional in the business—don't think twice about reaching out to her."
– F.B. Peña, screenwriter, 2020 ScreenCraft Drama Semifinalist –
"I've used SMC a few times and in each instance I've received notes that have actively made my script and overall writing better. Karmen always has a great eye for corrections, and the insight she provides on the story end ALWAYS led my scripts to a better place. If you're on the fence about hiring someone to push your work forward, I'd say Karmen is 100% worth it."
– Scott Sawitz, screenwriter –
"Most feedback services and people do the same thing: tell you what's wrong, assign a number to it, and maybe give you some pointers on how to make it better. Karmen starts with what's right and gives you tips to bring everything else up to it. She's more concerned about the best possible script and not just getting it off her desk like many coverage services have the tendency to do. I'd recommend her in a heartbeat."
– Mark Cerulli, horror author & screenwriter –
"I found her notes concise, helpful and positive in tone, even when suggesting things I honestly hadn't thought of or when flagging mistakes. I got the impression she is in it FOR the author—she's not there to pass judgment, just to help. . . . She had well-thought-out and concrete suggestions on making scenes better and improving the narrative flow. I totally endorse her and Shelf Made Creative for any editorial needs and hope to work with her again in the future."
– Kelly Joseph, Publishing Manager at McClelland & Stewart (PRHC) –
"I'd trust Karmen with editorial projects of all kinds—she's thorough, reliable, energetic. Crucially, she's an excellent reader and editor with rare insight."
– Laurel Elizabeth Hasara, author of The Nobodies –
"Karmen Wells is brilliant and worth every penny! Her thoughtful edits went far beyond an average, superficial analysis. . . . Her personal passion to elevate story (especially stories of a darker tonality) is what makes her a tour-de-force editor. She digs deep, finding thematic details and symbolism that even I didn't notice and helps bring them to light while still keeping my poetic writing style in mind. . . . Karmen was flexible, kind, poised and went out of her way to do more than what was in our initial agreement—10/10 would recommend! She will improve your novel tenfold."
– Daniel Sullivan, screenwriter & author of Black Collar –
"Karmen has helped me transition from novelist to screenwriter. She also provided effective, practical career advice, shining a light on my path forward. . . . However, for me, her real value is in being a hitwoman for bad content and bad ideas. She will stab a knife through your darlings and bury them in a deep hole. And that's what every writer needs in an editor."
– Edward Flora, horror author (Reedsy) –
"She was invested in the material and gave an honest assessment. She provided the right direction in helping bring out the most in my characters. Her attention to detail helped me improve in areas I most certainly would have overlooked myself. With her guidance, I'm confident my manuscript is the best it can be. Karmen is a true professional and was great in setting up time for me when I had questions. If you want your story to feel polished and professional, go with Karmen. I cannot recommend her enough."
– Khoa Le, screenwriter –
"Karmen was instrumental in helping me develop two original screenplays that I used both for fellowship applications and to land my first studio assignment. She's not only a copy editing wizard, she also saw the heart of my stories and teased out the emotions I needed to connect with the industry professionals who read and promoted my work. I can't wait to put my next project in front of her!"
– Laurel Hightower, Bram Stoker-nominated author of Below, Crossroads, and Whispers in the Dark –
"I can't say enough about how easy she made the process—her notes were concise, perceptive, and organized so well, it made revisions fast and painless. Karmen is also a pro at recognizing and protecting the author's voice, one of the most vital aspects of editing. She undoubtedly made Crossroads a better book and made my life easier in the process. I highly recommend her editing services."
– James Morosini, actor, filmmaker & screenwriter of
I Love My Dad, 2020 ScreenCraft Comedy Winner –
"Karmen gives thoughtful, thorough, and personal feedback. She helped me dig deeper and was generous with her time and attention throughout the process. I absolutely hope to work with Karmen again in the future."
– Iris Tupholme, SVP and Publisher of HarperCollins Canada –
"Karmen's enthusiasm for the books we publish and her passionate championship for our authors was inspiring. Her good humour and keen interest were greatly appreciated, and her intuition and well-rounded perspective of the publishing landscape make her a tremendous asset as an editor."
– Peter Rosch, author of Future Skinny –
"Karmen's editorial edit and evaluation of my manuscript was the perfect kick-in-the-pants. What she suggested I look into and consider was thoughtful, clear, and tremendously helpful in pushing me forward. I have no doubt that the story will be much improved for having worked with her, and working with her was a very comfortable experience."
– Nick Hickman, horror author (Reedsy) –
"Karmen is absolutely fantastic. She brought a personal approach to her critique—one that incorporated a really insightful perspective on the genre at large without compromising her focused dissection of the specific themes, language, and character-building in my piece. I will be working with her again in the future and would highly recommend her services to fellow authors."
– Susan Earlam, author of Earthly Bodies –
"Karmen is concise, thoughtful, clear and has eyes like a hawk! I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her and I plan to use her again in the future. 5 star!"
– Christopher Leunig, author of Spikies –
"Karmen offered insightful analysis and took the time to consider the conceptual framing of the text. Her suggestions helped develop the storyline as well as the characters, and she breathed new life into the prose. I can't recommend Karmen highly enough. She is a true professional, and I look forward to working with her again in the future."
– Allen Isom, author (Reedsy) –
"Karmen did a fantastic job with editing my book! Her suggestions for reworking parts of the story helped to solidify some major plot points and emotional impact. She was also able to provide detailed feedback in her line edit that seriously helped me, a first time writer, with better understanding of the more nuanced rules of writing and what pitfalls to watch out for in the future!"
– Jeremy Wintersteen, horror author –
"My second collaboration with Karmen was as rewarding as the first. Her keen eye for subtle details greatly improved the characterization and pacing in my manuscript, and I love the passion she brings for all things dark and creepy. I was especially impressed with her insights on sequencing. The demonstrations she provided to show how minor changes to the order of events can drastically improve the reader's experience were phenomenal.
Thanks to her guidance, my manuscript genuinely feels complete. I certainly hope to work with her on my next project!"
– Kyle Kramer, author & screenwriter –
"Karmen absolutely nailed this editorial assessment. She's incredibly direct and her instincts are spot on. I handed her a dense, bloated novel, and she returned a highly specific, razor-sharp critique that essentially serves as the blueprint to streamline and strengthen the narrative. It's obvious how passionate she is about storytelling and how much she cares about every project. She books out quite far in advance, but trust me, it's well worth the wait. Oh, and don't f**k with sharks in your writing. Just don't."
– Beatrice MacNeil, author of The Girl He Left Behind –
"It was a great pleasure to have Karmen Wells, the first co-editor at HarperCollins to work on my novel. Her insights are eagle sharp. Her suggestions are masterful. Karmen is an incisive intellect who holds your words in the palm of her hand before sending them off in the right direction."