manuscript book critique evaluation developmental editingAna Howard

Author of Adult, Young Adult, and Middle Grade Novels

Contact Ana

Ana Howard specializes in fiction and offers a unique editorial perspective as the author of eight novels. Her books include contemporary and historical children’s, young adult, and adult literature. She has worked with both small independent publishers, such as Roberts Rinehart and Brown Barn Books, and large publishing houses, such as Penguin Putnam and American Girl. She has seen one of her novels made into film and has won numerous literary awards.

She believes that even in today’s tough publishing climate, it is still possible for new writers to enter the business and succeed. Second to writing her own novels, she loves to mentor others to help them achieve their goals. She knows firsthand how writers benefit from the help and support of other writers and/or editors. Her goal is to help you make your unique writing shine.


Water at the Blue Earth, young adult historical fiction (Roberts Rinehart, 1998)

Nowhere, Now Here, middle grade contemporary fiction (American Girl, 2000)

Magic of Ordinary DaysThe Magic of Ordinary Days, adult historical fiction
(Viking Penguin, 2001)

Translated into Spanish:

Under a Stand Still Moon, young adult historical fiction (Brown Barn Books, 2005)

A Ceiling of Stars, middle grade contemporary fiction (American Girl, 1999)

Call Me the Canyon, young adult historical fiction (Brown Barn Books, 2006)

Nicki, contemporary middle grade fiction (American Girl, 2007)

Thanks to Nicki, contemporary middle grade fiction (American Girl, 2008)


Winner, Colorado Book Award for Water at the Blue Earth
Winner, Pleasant T. Rowland Award for Fiction for Girls for A Ceiling of Stars
Finalist, Colorado Book Award for The Magic of Ordinary Days
Finalist, Willa Cather Award for The Magic of Ordinary Days
Winner, Independent Publishers Book Award for Multicultural Fiction for Under a Stand Still Moon
Bronze Award, ForeWord magazine Young Adult Fiction for Under a Stand Still Moon
Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, The National Council for Social Studies and the Children’s Book Council for Under a Stand Still Moon
Finalist, Willa Cather Award for Under a Stand Still Moon
Finalist, Willa Cather Award for Call Me the Canyon


"Ana is wonderful! I have worked with her before and she has a great eye for weak spots in the manuscript that, when revised, could make the story so much stronger. She is also very encouraging and realizes how personal writing is, so she always takes the time to highlight parts of the story that she feels are particularly strong." - Monica

"Ana's goal was to help me turn my manuscript into a polished final work that could be published. Her critique of my work was honest and professional. Her editing is very detailed and I found the extensive editorial summary she provided very useful during the rewrite. Most importantly, I always felt like Ana cared about the story that I had written and the work that I put into it. I am certain that her efforts have given me a much greater chance of getting my work published. I cannot thank her enough." - Scott Miller

"This was my first experience with your network and I found the experience to be quite productive. The process was effective and the consultant that I selected was great. While providing a high degree of professionalism, she gave me the right amount of encouragement thereby allowing me to proceed with confidence, and at the same time, enough of a dose of constructive criticism to let me to move forward in an informed and practical way." - Carolyne Swayze

"Ana far exceeded my expectations. While being the consummate professional, she is delightfully pleasant to work with. Ana’s creative and substantive suggestions did not in any way undermine either my voice or my plot, but rather fortified it, as well as suggesting additional building blocks to add more breadth and depth. My 'baby' is still breathing, but it needed some new bath water and Ana provided some wonderful 'bubble bath.'" (Contact info on request)

Prophets of the Ghost Ants"My novel had lingered in the offices of editors at the Big Six and had gotten neither accepted nor rejected for years. One editor, after re-reading, let me know his final thought was that it was ‘too long for a first time author.’ I contacted Book Editing Associates, submitted my sample, and was contacted immediately by several editing associates. One of them, Ana, had some incisive observations and said it needed some ‘brutal cuts.’ I paid attention as Ana is an award-winning novelist. Ana’s editing was timely and skillful and showed an understanding of my work. I used 95% of her suggestions and cut 200 pages from a 600 page manuscript. End result is a book with a clean, compelling narrative that has been called ‘a gripping read.’ Reader reviews of my book at Amazon and Goodreads have been very gratifying and allowed me to enter the top 100 for science-fiction/fantasy. Kirkus Reviews selected Prophets of the Ghost Ants as one of their Best of 2011. I would recommend Ana’s services to any author whose work needs an edit. Cost of the service was more than fair and the end result was priceless.” - Carl T. Carlton

Kirkus Review of Prophets of the Ghost Ants: In this postapocalyptic science-fiction allegory, diminutive tribal humans share the world, and a deeply intertwined society, with hordes of insects.

Anand, the despised young lower-caste protagonist of Carlton’s innovative novel, knows perfectly well how his life will unfold. He slaves in the filthy middens of his human colony, marked by skin color, scent and even body posture as inferior to the higher classes of humans who run the colony and serve the queen. In this postapocalyptic version of human society, where humans have evolved to the size of insects in response to the planet’s diminshing resources, someone like Anand has no hope of rising above his station or changing his life. His only hope is to grow old working in peace rather than be killed by the myriad insectoid menaces that stalk his world. (The author expertly shifts his narrative pacing for violent scenes that crop up frequently in the novel and are intensely memorable.) But when word comes that his colony is splitting up, sending a queen and a host of workers to found a new colony, fate offers Anand a chance to become more than he’s ever dreamed. "The history of our land is always written in blood," one character tells him, but in addition to blood there’s doctrine here—Carlton has a surprising amount to say about organized religion and its heresies (the so-called Loose Doctrine of Dranveria plays a major role in the book), and approaches his commentary with drama and intelligence. Anand becomes something of a firebrand, insisting "No idol, book, word, place or relic should ever be held sacred…Only human life is sacred." The complications he faces in his rise to power make for a gripping read.

The wobbly science of its premise notwithstanding, this is a fascinating, enjoyable sci-fi yarn.

"Ana was everything I hoped for in an editor and then some. Her edit was spot on and the editorial summary was excellent. I was concerned about receiving an impersonal assessment of my work. Instead, Ana delivered an edit that was fresh, exciting and honest. There is no doubt that I will become a better writer for having worked with her and if my book is published someday it will be at least in part because of Ana. I truly feel as though she became a caring, thoughtful partner in my literary journey. Quite simply, Ana delivers." (On file with network coordinator)

"Ana was fantastic. Professional and phenomenal editing. I can’t say enough good things about her. She helped me to shape problem areas and developed it into a much stronger novel." (On file with network coordinator)

"Ana’s work is exceptional and all that I was hoping for from a developmental edit. I very much appreciate her honesty in the review of my manuscript. This is refreshing and inspires me to improve both the work and my general writing abilities. She identified many things I was concerned about as a first time author and she did this in a respectful and mentoring way." - Jeff Will

"Ana’s editing was very helpful. When she found a problem she showed me how to fix it. She believed in my book more strongly than I did and her encouragement meant a great deal. She answered my emails promptly. She gave me so much more than our contract called for. Her enthusiasm for my book prompted me to aim much higher than my original plans. I can’t say enough good things about her and would recommend her to anyone/everyone." - Pat Martin

“I found Ana to be accessible, professional, very systematic and extremely thorough in her work on my fiction manuscript. She came across as someone who not only knew her craft, but how to relay it clearly. She was also interested in hearing my thoughts on her ideas for changes and did not simply cut me off once her edit was done and she’d received payment. With Ana, I felt I got half-editor, half-writing coach. I am a novice in the writing/editing/publishing market and this maiden voyage with your network overall was seamless, so much so that I have already recommended you to a colleague who has had nightmare experiences with so-called editors.” (Contact info on request)

"Ana’s editorial services were extraordinary, outstanding, and comprehensive. She took the story dynamics and made them into a more elegant piece of literary work. Ana’s talent as a writer and an editor melded with her ability to sensitively provide editing feedback and suggestions for revisions. Trust and her supportive approach significantly contributed to a successful experience. Ana is responsive and her turnaround time is efficient. Would I recommend her?  Absolutely." (On file with network coordinator)

"Within a few hours of contacting the network three editors wrote back with their availability and it was only another day before their sample edits came through. All three had extensive experience and would have fulfilled my expectations. The consultant that I chose to partner with exceeded my expectations. I was expecting...some general feedback on structure, flow and character development. Instead I received comprehensive comments, in depth critique and suggestions that I could really work with in further developing the narrative." - Denis Dragovic

"Ana was able to return my work to me sooner than she had originally stated, which was wonderful for me. This is my first time attempting to write a book and she has provided some much needed guidance. I feel so lucky to have found Ana and anticipate working with her again." - Melinda Stuck

"I appreciate the prompt and timely manner at which the network connected me to a consultant. Ana was professional and friendly. I enjoyed having her work on my manuscript. She made the necessary changes, without me losing my own voice." (On file with network coordinator)

“Ana was very professional, timely, and helpful. I learned very much from her edit and think she pointed out many ways I can improve my manuscript. Great job!” (Contact info on request.)

"Ana's work was exceptional. I presented her with a manuscript that was close to 150,000 words and she helped me to acheive my goal of cutting it by a third. She was accurate in finding all those passages that were holding back the narrative and correct about what to leave in so that the story was intact. Her edits were skillful, considered, and indicative of a very careful reading. Her comments and corrections along the way were also helpful. I feel like I got a tremendous bargain and the book that I want." - Clark Carlton

"Ana provided great input. I appreciate the time she took to thoroughly develop the editorial comments and critique.  Also appreciate her expressing concerns on not hurting my feelings.  She provided the type of feedback I was looking for providing the guidance I needed to take my project to the next level.  Her candid feedback was very much appreciated and I look forward to incorporating all of her great suggestions." (On file with network coordinator)

"Ana was tremendous. She completed the edit in a timely manner and gave me just the right level of editing. She did not over-edit (turn my work into her work) and I agreed almost 100% with her comments and suggestions. I have no doubt that I will have a stronger manuscript after I incorporate her ideas into my work." - Kim Batchelor

"I liked the bios displayed to help me understand the specialization of the editors. Ana was great. She read my novel first as a fan of the genre, and then went back through and suggested all sorts of improvements to greatly improve the manuscript. Her insight and abilities are rare, and her encouraging and positive feedback was invaluable." - Randy Hice

"Ana was wonderful. She went above and beyond. She gave very constructive criticism and praise where both were due. She was worth every penny I paid. It was a very enjoyable experience. Would I recommend her to others? (No, just kidding. I'd rather prefer to keep her all to myself as my private freelance copy editor. I am sure she is in great demand. She taught me so much!)" Tammy Thompson, utilization/review RN

"Ana has provided expert level editing assistance to me in the writing of my manuscript. Her ideas and creativity have been invaluable to me." - Kandi Hofmeister, author of the memoir, Held.

"Ana's insight and original input helped improve my novel and matched my expectations beautifully." - Andrea Kolub, author of The Lady in the Cape.

"Ana is a masterful storyteller whose novels transport readers to other times and places they won't want to leave. She generously shares her expertise in character, setting and plot to help writers craft the best possible story." - Jessica Swaim, author of Nick by Night and The Hound from the Pound

"Making all the elements of a book work into a cohesive story that also reads amazing is one of Ana's strongest gifts as an editor. She also devised a query letter for me that resulted in many requests to read my manuscript. Her help made all the difference." - Renee Appleman, author of Would You Ever?

"Ana was wonderful. She helped me bring the story I wanted to tell to life. It was a pleasure dealing with her. I plan on using her for my sequels and recommend anyone who wants a creative angel helping with their vision to try and get Ana as your editor." - Diane Duarte (services: developmental edit, query, synopsis)