I've been lucky to work with several editors who've improved my books and made me a better writer. I appreciate Carly's style. The feedback is concise and easy to understand. Her willingness to discuss not just this first book but where I'm going in the series is a great help, the kind of support I need as I try something new.

-Cheryl Harper, USA Today best-selling author of Can't Help Falling in Love and Least Likely to Fall in Love

I met Carly the same day I saw Mad Max Fury Road, so she'll forever be linked in my mind to Furiosa—someone you absolutely want on your side! With Carly's guidance, I turned my pretty okay novel into something so much more—something alive. I always felt she loved my characters as much as I did; she simply got what I was trying to do, and helped me do it. I have no doubt that my book (and hopefully the many to come) is vastly improved by her involvement.

-Kim Alexander, International best-selling author of The Demon Door series

I can’t rave about Carly enough! She performed a quick, yet thorough, read-through of my novel and created six pages of talking points. Then we skyped so I fully understood her points and recommendations. Together, we crafted a battle strategy for revisions—it was so efficient that the actual edits only took a week! And looking at the old draft versus the new one… wow. Her edits added a whole new dimension to my story, without sacrificing my original vision for the novel. If you’re hesitating on purchasing her work, don’t! After three years of querying, it took my newly revised manuscript just three months to find a home with a literary agent. That’s all thanks to Carly!

-Rebecca Thorne, author of This Gilded Abyss and Can't Spell Treason Without Tea

I had such a wonderful experience working with Carly—so fabulous that I worked with her twice—on two different manuscripts, both I adored and knew were close but not quite right. She was able to see my vision and pinpoint exactly what was falling flat, what needed more development, what needed more consistency, and what needed more balance.

Better yet, she explained each of the issues in a clear way that made sense and inspired me to make changes in a smart way, to expand some threads and cut others and dig deeper into certain characters. Her notes were so thorough and helpful and well organized and well thought-out, that I was super excited to edit—those are the best sort of notes.

Carly is super professional, prompt, organized, concise, and so smart! I learned so much working with her, all of which has carried me through to later projects. I would totally recommend her to anyone.

-Felicia Grossman, Author of Appetites & Vices

I’d been building and writing my story Bloodflower for more than a decade, and no matter how I revised, I couldn’t seem to make the story stand on its own feet. Then I handed it to Carly, who like me has a passion for the nexus where fantasy, science fiction and romance collide. With one read she saw the heart of the story I was trying to tell and helped me scrape away all the extraneous nonsense that didn’t belong. Carly’s insight into storytelling, how to lean into a writer’s voice, and the social issues that can make or break a story was invaluable. She helped uncover the light in my characters, leverage the characters as their own worst enemies, and breathe life into a complex tale that breaks the laws of physics. Her experience and empathy toward a writer’s struggle helped not only strengthen my story, but gave me the confidence to take chances I might have otherwise scooted under the rug. If you’re thinking about hiring her—don’t even hesitate. Carly is amazing as a person, as an editor, and as an instigator (seriously—she’s so subtle too), and she’ll help bring out the best in you and your story.

-K. J. Harrowick, author of Bloodflower

Carly was such a great supporter of my vision for the book, using her editorial notes to help push it to its full potential. I loved how she balanced criticisms with pointing out what she liked—it really helped me feel like I was ready to tackle the edits when it came to them.

-Alexandra Overy, author of These Feathered Flames (Inkyard/HarperCollins)

Carly Bornstein-Hayward edited my YA fantasy manuscript, THE DYING CITY, during #RevPit 2018. She's an incisive, thorough editor, and her notes were spot-on. She immediately understood the themes I wanted to convey and helped me bring them out by delving deeper into my heroine's psyche. My book ended up more exciting, more romantic, and more emotionally complex because of Carly's excellent feedback.

Overall, working with Carly was a dream. She was prompt with her notes and was the perfect mix of supportive and blunt about the manuscript's flaws. My manuscript is much better after her input, and I highly recommend working with her!

-Sarah Hawley, author of A Witch's Guide to Fake Dating a Demon (Berkley)

Carly was not only essential to getting my manuscript in shape, but she was a pleasure to work with. She was flexible and communicative regarding her schedule, and most importantly, delivered a great developmental edit! Her insightful feedback was instrumental in bringing my protagonist to life. Readers are really connecting with the emotional ride of my story, and I have Carly to thank for getting me to bring all those emotions to the fore in a compelling way. I’m a screenwriter by training, and she also gave me guidance that helped me flesh out my prose and wrap my head around the needs of a novel. I couldn’t be happier with Carly and the process, and I’m definitely hiring her to help me with my next novel.

-Anthony DeCapite, author of Fireline

I loved working with Carly! I received editorial services similar to her Shiny Submissions Package via her periodic Light Up Voices drawing. Her advice was SO helpful and actionable that I did 100+ hrs of revision ahead of querying and my novel was greatly improved! My favorite part of her detailed editorial letter was when she asked what a side character’s personality was beyond liking squirrels, lol. If you’re preparing submission materials or have other editorial needs, Carly is amazing!!!

-Laura Galán-Wells, SFF writer represented by Samantha Wekstein at Thompson Literary Agency.

When I first approached Carly, I wasn’t sure my manuscript would ever be published. But with her gentle manner and supportive feedback, she helped me organize and re-write my story. She’s phenomenal at suggesting solutions, not just pointing out problems. With Carly, you know she is immediately on your team and your biggest cheerleader. After working with her on two books, I honestly felt like she knew my characters as well as I did. Carly is professional, positive and kind. Plus, she has a killer GIF game on Twitter!

-Deana Birch, author of Faster and Slower

Carly truly is a delight to work with. She challenged me to really make this story shine. Her clear editorial notes came sprinkled with the right amount of compliments to keep me from despair, and she was always available to chat if anything was unclear, or to wrangle a solution when I got stuck. I'm so pleased with how this story turned out, and I'll definitely work with her on the next one.

-E.V. Belknap, author of Tenfold Tenants

After querying three manuscripts and filling numerous folders with unfinished drafts, I realized I needed some help. In 2022, I entered #RevPit with a story I couldn’t let go of no matter how hard I tried. I had the privilege of meeting Carly through #10Queries when she offered feedback on my work. That was the moment my querying journey altered course.

I can say without a doubt that working with Carly changed the trajectory of my writing and my life. Carly arranged a call to discuss my querying materials and to brainstorm on how to make them stronger and more marketable while staying true to my story. For starters, she helped categorize the genre and find stronger comp titles. Also, she gave me specific, actionable guidance on how to strengthen my query letter, synopsis, and first fifty pages.

When I re-entered the query trenches last autumn, I noticed an immediate difference. I received more partial and full requests than I’d experienced with any other manuscript. Within a month of querying my revised materials, I signed with a literary agent.

Carly is kind, honest, insightful, and a brilliant editor. I absolutely love working with her!

-Jennifer Thé, Gothic Fiction Writer

I'm really happy to have chosen Book Light Editorial for my manuscript. As a non-native speaker, despite a high level of proficiency in English, there are still words whose usage I misunderstand or verbs I consistently conjugate wrong. My editor (Jessica Nelson) caught all those mistake and even gave me little crash courses in the comments, which truly helped me grow as a writer. They caught typos and inconsistencies left in my in-universe words, and I am truly impressed by how well they understood which of those fantasy words fit in which context. Ultimately, the choice to accept or reject edits remained mine, but I believe I found myself accepting edits again and again in a good 97% of cases. My manuscript came out of this endeavor polished and professional-looking, and I've learned a lot too. I believe I'll be back for more when I'm done writing my next book!

-Lysle Enkelman

It's been just over three years since I first met Carly through an online writing event and I couldn't be more grateful for those stars aligning!

Carly is one of the most passionate and brilliant people in the industry I've ever met and have had the privilege of working with. We've gone through two manuscript assessments and are now preparing my novel to be self-published. She helped me see my novel in a way I never would have been able to find or process, completely transforming not only the manuscript itself, but my skills as a writer and storyteller. Her care and attention to detail for my piece is palpable in her feedback, completely personalized and insightful. I'm over the moon to be working with her again and in the future. She has been the ultimate guide and mentor over these years. I'm looking forward to many more!

-Rara Hope, Fantasy author

I knew my manuscript had some gaps, but even with a critique partner and months of brainstorming, we couldn't figure it out. Carly nailed the problem in one read. Her edit letter articulated the issues so well I found myself nodding along as I read. I loved my manuscript before the edit, but with Carly's direct (though gentle!) guidance, I've been able to turn it into something better than I thought I was capable of producing. I can't recommend her enough!

-Brooke Blair, Romance author

Laura helped me to fix the key complaint I received from beta readers: too many typos and style inconsistencies. Turns out the bugs were hidden in plain sight — you can never see your own typos! (If there’s a typo in this testimonial, that’s on me.) I have to add that, in addition to the necessary repairs, it was such fun seeing her reactions and encouragement noted throughout the text, sprinkled like Easter eggs. That human touch is important to me, as I’m primarily aiming my book at humans.

-J.D. Robinson, Sci-fi and Young Adult author

Carly worked with me from a developmental editing and writing coaching perspective. Her one-on-one coaching has enabled me to take my writing to the next level. She was instrumental in the process and I highly recommend her for anyone looking for a fresh developmental perspective.

-Mickey Miller, Amazon best-selling romance author

Carly has completed two developmental edits for me within the past two years on two separate manuscripts. Both times I was impressed with not only the turn-around time, but how thorough her feedback was. She helped me see my projects from a reader's perspective but also offered advice on the marketability of it. Her enthusiasm for my work was met with a perfect balance of constructive criticism. While I had no doubt she's in my corner, she also wasn't afraid to challenge. Because of this, I'm able to put out the best work possible. Always a professional, she's also someone I can't wait to share a cuppa with someday.

-Lissa Carlino, Author of Woman Enough

Carly has such a talent for cutting to the heart of what you and your manuscript needs, especially if you're a neurodivergent overthinker like me and need to learn some confidence in your convictions! Carly was so flexible to make sure the way we worked together worked for me, her world-building brainstorms were integral to making a version of my book that I really feel so proud of, and, really, it was the heart of the book all along. She gives the perfect mix of blunt feedback with kindness and I feel so lucky to have been able to work with her.

-Chloe Johnson, Fantasy author

Carly is an incredible editor and anyone would be lucky to collaborate with her! I contacted her after writing my first novel, which is an own voices work and deeply personal, and I immediately felt like she understood my vision and that my characters and world were safe in her hands.

Her manuscript review was so detailed and helpful, it was far beyond what I imagined I was paying for, and it helped me grow my writing so much. Not only did she point out places where I felt my writing was weak, she also pointed out a bunch of things that I never would have caught. I ended up using almost every suggestion she made. She helped me to really cut down to the heart of the story and increase the tension throughout, tighten up the plot, and I completely rewrote my book, and my beta readers loved the changes. All of this helped me turn my work into something I am truly proud of.

She made many notes on how to make my characters feel more real, and all of the things we tweaked felt so natural, it was like she simply surfaced things that were already there to begin with. When I first started writing, I leaned heavily on my comps, and Carly helped me to make the world my own and gave me the confidence to really play and take risks. Her notes really spurred my creativity and gave me the inspiration to revise. I can honestly say that my book wouldn’t be what it is now if it wasn’t for her tremendous skill.

When I was ready to start querying, I contacted Carly again to work on my first pages and my query letter, and once again, her help was invaluable.

Overall, Carly is a fantastic person to work with, and communicates everything clearly and always kept me up-to-date while she was working. She’s such a supportive and kind editor, if you’re considering working with her, do it!

-E. Malmed, SFF author

When I hired Carly to provide a developmental edit for my story, I had a gut instinct that she would be the right person for the job. I'm oozing with excitement over the changes in my book. I loved my story before but now I'm in love with it. Carly's feedback is worth every penny. She thoughtfully committed to my characters and their struggles, highlighting the key issues that were keeping my writing from reaching its full potential. She challenged me to take on some dramatic changes and I can't thank her enough for the outcome. If you want to take your book to the next level, Carly is the editor for you. It also helps that she's a joy to work with.

-Lindsay Burroughs

I met Carly through #RevPit 2017, submitting my YA Fantasy, Storm Rising, to her. From her first email, Carly has been a huge advocate of my work. She promised feedback on my submission even if she didn't pick me for the contest, and she followed through with such insightful feedback that I asked her to do a developmental edit on my novel. She returned the feedback within the time frame and I was blown away with how detailed the feedback letter was, clearly sectioned and with reference to specific sections in the story. I was able to apply her recommendations and make my novel much more streamlined and focused. Ultimately, it was enough to get the attention of my now agent and publisher. I know Carly played a large part in my dream of being published coming true.

-Stuart White, Young Adult author

I had the pleasure to work with Carly during the first Pitch to Publication event. We had a relatively short time to implement her suggestions due to contest constraints, but the critique she gave me was clear and concise. Her encouragement and expertise in the genre was invaluable for story crafting. Carly's suggestions for character development were spot-on and helped me make my MC so much more relatable. I recommend her as a valuable development resource!

-E. M. Hamill, Author of Nectar and Ambrosia

I had lost the bird’s eye view of my story after a while and Carly really helped me become excited about my story again. I learned parts that weren’t working and how to simplify an adult fantasy. She asked me some great questions and made comments that made my story so much stronger!

-Darby Cox, Writer

Carly at Book Light Editorial worked with me on my debut novel. I can't wait to work with her on another project! She provided specific feedback in an actionable format. She was incredibly encouraging, showing me areas I excelled and showing me how I could improve other areas. With The Neon Indie Bundle, we did two rounds of evaluations and a copy edit. Each time I sent it back, I felt more and more confident about my manuscript. Her team was integral in WSB being published! I highly recommend Carly's service to any writer!

-Amelia J. Rivers, author of When Shadows Bleed

Carly has given me outstanding feedback on my manuscript and I am extremely happy I found her. What I have loved about her critique is that she provides very concrete and easy to understand advice. She identified specific issues with my manuscript and then gave me ideas about how to fix them. Another thing I appreciate is that she gave me rationale for why certain things weren't working. Once I heard that the intro to my Romance was reading like a YA, I was all in.

In addition to the full manuscript, Carly has helped with my novel synopsis and she has reread revised sections of the manuscript. Each time, she has given me greater insight into what I've put on the page, and she has helped me understand how readers, agents and publishers will see it. All the while, she has been very encouraging and excited about my work. I couldn't hope for a better editor.

-Bliss Esposito

I worked with Carly as part of the Pitch to Publication contest and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity. She donated her time to edit my manuscript and helped hammer out the kinks and added a nice polish to the prose. She is a razor sharp editor and working together is a real partnership where you focus on the essentials: story, style, and character. She motivates you to elevate the material, trim the fat, and kill your darlings. Over the course of multiple drafts with Carly, my work improved immensely due to her feedback and suggestions. She'll even help craft a query letter that catches an agent's attention. I highly recommend working with this supportive and generous individual.

-Kevin Curtis

Carly understood exactly what I was looking for and accommodated both my needs and budget. Her manuscript assessment allowed me to focus on the weakest points of my story so I could determine the best use of my time and energy as I tackled further editing rounds. During the process, she was responsive and very encouraging.

-Clara MacCarald, Romance and Young Adult author

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Carly Hayward, Laura Dennison, and Jessica Nelson

Carly Hayward Laura Dennison Jessica Nelson

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