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Ready to get started with Ray Stoeve? Contact them using the button on the right to let them know what you're looking for help on and when you're ready to get started.

“Ray approached my work with thoughtfulness and empathy, digging deep into the characters and delivering feedback that was invaluable to the editing process. I felt Ray understood my characters and was able to consider them as individuals. I couldn't have asked for a more supportive, thoughtful collaborator, and my book was so much better after Ray's input.”—Wendy Heard, author of She’s Too Pretty To Burn, The Kill Club, and more See All

Ray Stoeve $130/hr

Services Offered

  • Combined manuscript read + sensitivity read
  • Full manuscript copy-edit
  • Query Letter
  • Read Complete Manuscript
  • Read first 10-25 pages of manuscript
  • Read query letter + submission excerpt (ex. your first 10 pages)
  • Sensitivity read for one or more characters

Available For

  • Adult Novels*
  • Guidance in querying agents for YA and MG
  • Line-Editing/Copyediting
  • Middle Grade*
  • Sensitivity Reading (see Interests for specifics)
  • Young Adult*

“Ray approached my work with thoughtfulness and empathy, digging deep into the characters and delivering feedback that was invaluable to the editing process. I felt Ray understood my characters and was able to consider them as individuals. I couldn't have asked for a more supportive, thoughtful collaborator, and my book was so much better after Ray's input.”—Wendy Heard, author of She’s Too Pretty To Burn, The Kill Club, and more

“Ray Stoeve was an absolute dream to work with. They consulted on my novel, Cemetery Boys, and gave feedback that was critical to the story's success. Ray's observations were thorough, specific and well explained. Not only did they catch things I had missed, but they gave suggestions for how to correct it and even offered to talk it through if I needed help. I recommend Ray Stoeve any time someone asks me for a consult referral and I, myself, plan on using them again in the future.” —Aiden Thomas, two-time New York Times bestselling author of Cemetery Boys and Lost in the Never Woods

“Ray Stoeve worked as a reader for my book Belle Révolte, and there would be no book if not for them. Their commentary was quickly delivered, nuanced, and included actionable steps I could take to further develop my book and my craft. In genre fiction, it can be hard to appropriately walk the line between relevant worldbuilding and the assumptions readers bring with themselves from the real world. Their feedback helped me create not only authentic characters but an immersive world for every reader. They helped Belle Révolte reach its full potential. The book has been out for nearly two years, and I still receive messages about how much readers appreciated the characters and how they navigated the world. Ray’s work didn’t simply help me become a better writer; it helped everyone who read the book in incalculable and vital ways.” —Linsey Miller, author of Mask of Shadows and Belle Révolte

“Ray Stoeve was an absolute pleasure to work with. Their incisive feedback on matters of plotting, dialogue, and characterization were both specific and constructive. They established and committed to a clear, prompt timeline for delivery and were invaluable to the successful completion of our book. I will continue to recommend them as an excellent resource to my colleagues seeking sensitivity readership in their areas of expertise.”—Jessica Anderson, Editor of juvenile and YA fiction and nonfiction, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Ray Stoeve is the author of the young adult novel Between Perfect and Real, which was a 2021 Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. Their second YA novel, Arden Grey, is forthcoming in April 2022, and they also contributed to the young adult anthology Take The Mic: Fictional Stories of Everyday Resistance. They received a 2016-2017 Made at Hugo House Fellowship and created the YA/MG Trans and Nonbinary Voices Masterlist, a database that tracks all books in those age categories written by trans authors about trans characters. When they’re not writing, they can be found gardening, making art in other mediums, or hiking their beloved Pacific Northwest.

 

In the past, they attended the inaugural 2019 Tin House YA Workshop as well as the 2020 Tin House Summer Workshop for adult fiction. As a teacher, they ran creative writing workshops for tweens and teens through the Associated Recreation Council, volunteered as a writing tutor for teens with the Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Ideas (formerly 826 Seattle), and worked as a classroom aide in public and private schools. They will be faculty for the upcoming 2022 Tin House YA Workshop. They have written for Autostraddle and YES! Magazine, and are currently a full-time writer, in addition to working with authors and publishers as a sensitivity reader. They are represented by Lauren Abramo at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.

Working Style

In all services, my approach as an editor or reader is to highlight what is working well alongside areas I feel could be strengthened. I like to ask questions and offer options, rather than prescribe what I think a writer should do. I work with you, not as an authority, but as a collaborator in service of your voice and what you want for the story, sharing my knowledge and experience to support what you already know and can do. I also believe craft is cultural, as well as learned, so I try to remain aware of my own bias and sensitive to different methods of storytelling. I am passionate about making space for historically marginalized voices in publishing, and strive to hold a safer space for those of us who encounter institutional barriers to entering the writing world and seeing our art as worthy.

For all projects, please send the following information:
-A little about you as a writer, and what you’re trying to do with your project
-Age category and genre
-One paragraph description of the work
-The general service you are requesting, your hopes and goals for working with me, and particular areas you’d like attention to
-For full manuscripts and sensitivity reads, please include page count & word count
-For sensitivity reads, please include the names and identities of all characters for which you would like a read.

We’ll email back and forth a little so I can get a better sense of you and what you’re looking for, work out the specifics of hours (and rate, if you’re utilizing my sliding scale), and then I’ll jump in!

For full manuscript reads and sensitivity reads, individually, I provide feedback letters as long as I feel necessary but no less than 2 pages, as well as in-line comments, and take followup questions related to my feedback for up to a week after completion of services (billed as an extra hour).

For combination full manuscript reads and sensitivity reads, I provide feedback letters as long as I feel necessary but no less than 5 pages, as well as in-line comments, and take followup questions related to my feedback for up to a week after completion of services (billed as an extra hour).

For all other services, I provide a combination of feedback letter and inline comments appropriate to the type of project.

More about sensitivity reads:
As a sensitivity reader, I can help you with:
-Description and authenticity of character behaviors, emotions, and experiences
-Language
-Stereotypes and generalizations
-Normative assumptions (ie, the assumption that trans people must “look cis” to be valid, or that queer people want to assimilate into straight cultural norms such as marriage/kids/homeowning)
-Worldbuilding in fantasy and contemporary related to gender and sexuality (such as: how are different genders treated? Is your magic system trans-exclusionary?)
-Nuts and bolts of social and medical gender transition for trans men, trans masculine and AFAB nonbinary folks: social and legal name changes, changing pronouns, coming out, changing appearance through clothing and hair, binding, taking hormones, getting top surgery

Sensitivity reads are like any other editorial service; they look at an aspect of your work with the goal of improving it, but they can be fraught for some people because they examine issues of bias and stereotypes in representation. If you request a sensitivity read, I assume you are ready to receive and sit with feedback that, while delivered with the same thoughtfulness and empathy I strive for in my other services, may challenge your ideas and beliefs about certain identities and how you relate to and represent people different from you. In addition, for legal purposes, my service as a sensitivity reader for your manuscript is not an endorsement of your work, a defense against criticism from other parties, or a guarantee that your work is free of any and all problematic content, and you cannot use my name in these contexts. If I agree to be a sensitivity reader for your manuscript, I will not disclose any information regarding your manuscript to anyone other than pre-approved parties prior to publication. I reserve the right as a reader to critique the text of the published novel.

Availability

I am available to take on new clients as my schedule allows, on a first-come, first-served basis. I work via email.

I am not available to read projects that include the following subjects as major or minor plot points, whether off-screen or described. If they are mentioned but are not described in detail and have no long-term role in or bearing on the story, I will consider on a case-by-case basis, but require a content warning and an example scene that includes the subject to read so I can assess whether I can move forward:
-Child abuse of any kind
-Rape and sexual assault
-Abusive relationships of any kind (romantic, familial, platonic, etc.)

For writers who belong to groups historically marginalized and shut out of publishing, I offer a sliding scale price of your choice between $65-$130/hr, and the opportunity to customize your service, based on what I offer, to fit what you can afford. For example: I could read the first 10 pages of your manuscript and a synopsis, and provide feedback on that instead of the entire novel. Let’s discuss!

The groups I reference above include: Black, Indigenous and other people of color; LGBTQIA+; disabled (including mentally ill and neurodivergent) people; and low income or working class people. This is based on the honor system; you do not need to identify yourself to me, but please do respect who this is for and why it exists if you are not part of one of these groups.

Interests

I read widely, but for consulting purposes, I enjoy fiction of all age categories and genres, with a particular love for historical and contemporary realist works about queer and trans characters.

Sensitivity Reading Specifics: for trans men and trans masculine characters, and nonbinary characters who are assigned female at birth; as well as queer and/or bisexual cis women, trans men/trans masc and AFAB nonbinary characters. I read for these identities because I have held all of them at one time or another. I may also choose to give feedback on the representation of other identities based on my knowledge, but do not provide formal reads for identities outside those which I hold or have held. I am most familiar with reading for these characters in novels, but have also read for other mediums such as podcast scripts and am open to such works on a case by case basis.

*A note on genre works: I love them, but my assistance may be limited depending on what you are looking for. While I read genre work, I don’t currently write it, so I cannot provide the craft expertise of someone dedicated to writing romance, science fiction, fantasy, etc. However, this could be a strength if you want the perspective of someone who is a writer but can also approach tropes and worldbuilding with a layperson’s eyes and questions. For example, previous clients in sensitivity reading have appreciated my feedback on how gender fits into their worldbuilding. Contact me and let’s chat!