happy clients share their thoughts: 

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Could not submit without the help of Word Bird. Two rounds: content editing followed by punctuation and grammar editing. Only a fool would think of publishing without professional editing.”

Carl Fecker, Jr., author of the Crete Sloan series

"The most valuable lesson I’ve learned in working with Kelly McNees is that the author is far too close to see his work for what it is. A writer simply must work with a trusted editor. I have come to trust Kelly’s critiques and guidance implicitly. Her style is to first recognize what works, and then bring out the velvet hammer and make it better. For me, it was making the story work from beginning to end, with a character arc that was complete, and the sustaining of plot tension. Kelly’s written critiques and the annotated text were invaluable to making sense of what needed work. Just as importantly for me, she was generous with kudos on what worked as well. I’m as thin-skinned as any writer out there, and this kept me going more times than I’d like to admit. I can say without reservation that in the year and change that I have worked with Kelly, I have been given an education on writing. Whether it involves style, technique, or voice, our relationship is one of student and mentor, coach and quarterback. Every writer, no matter their experience, needs to have such a relationship. Kelly is my editor for life."  

James Smurawa, author of The Child of Atitecos: A Novel of Guatemala 

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"Kelly is always my first reader—before my agent, my editor, even my husband. She has a tremendous gift for seeing straight through to the core of both the problems with and potential of a story, and making specific and wise suggestions to take a story to the next level. Best of all, she delivers even the toughest of editorial advice in a straightforward but supportive way that encourages me to move forward and make my writing the best it can be."

 —Eleanor Brown, New York Times bestselling author of  The Weird Sisters and The Light of Paris

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Kelly goes the extra mile in providing professional input that is itself well worth the cost she charges for an extensive manuscript evaluation. I highly recommend her to both the novice and seasoned writer."

Paul Andrew, author of Ankathata’s Freeze

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“Kelly provided an insightful evaluation that really opened my eyes and gave me the spark to rewrite an ending that I knew didn’t work. She provides constructive feedback that guides without directing. . . . I would, without hesitation, recommend Kelly’s editing services.”  

  —Randy Richardson, author of Cheeseland, Lost in the Ivy, and Cubsessions,  and president of the Chicago Writers Association


"Word Bird was an invaluable step on my journey to publication. While immersed in the writing process, we often lose our objectivity. Kelly O'Connor McNees's razor-sharp eye and vast knowledge of story structure provided suggestions I would otherwise have missed. Thanks to Kelly's evaluation and feedback, I was able to strengthen my draft and my craft, eventually receiving multiple offers of representation."  

 —Lori Nelson Spielman, international bestselling author of The Life List and Sweet Forgiveness

"Even published novelists need a second trusted, expert set of eyes to read their work. I count on Kelly to provide thoughtful insight and help me solve problems in my work."    

Susan Gregg Gilmore, author of The Funeral Dress and Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen

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Kelly's input is valuable not only because she knows what reads well but also because, thanks to her experience in publishing, she knows what sells. Working with her is a pleasure—her input is well thought out and helpful, and comes with the empathy of a writer who knows how to deliver constructive advice, creative to creative.”    

Claire Zulkey, author of An Off Year 

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"Working with Word Bird helped me elevate the quality of my novel several notches. I am, unfortunately, a perfectionist. Since this novel is a sequel, I would not accept anything but a higher quality book than my first one. I spent years working through many drafts but still wasn’t satisfied. When a mutual acquaintance recommended Kelly, I asked her to do both a manuscript evaluation and copyediting. With her guidance, I was finally proud to see my book in print."

Caryl Dierksen, author of Teaching Mysteries 201: The Strike

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“Although I had previously written two nonfiction books, I wanted to write a novel. Before sending the manuscript to literary agents, I knew I needed a professional editor to offer an honest critique. The resulting evaluation and copyediting were very professional and exactly what I wanted. In addition, Kelly took an interest in my project and gave me wonderful suggestions and the validation I needed to take the next steps in getting my novel published. I highly recommend Word Bird Editorial Services."     

John Cassara, author of Demons of Gadara and On the Trail of Terror Finance

I am a BIG fan of Word Bird services. Kelly helped challenge some of the assumptions I made, and gave the manuscript an overall lift that I couldn’t have done alone. After looking at one’s own writing so long, a fresh pair of intelligent and competent eyes is what is needed—and Word Bird is fabulous. The review Kelly provides is detailed, with concrete areas to work on. In fact, Word Bird’s review lifted my confidence in the manuscript. I would not hesitate to use her services again!

Randi Samuelson-Brown, author of Attrition

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After receiving feedback from my agent regarding edits she wanted to see in my novel, I was at a loss as to how to proceed. Working with Kelly, I was able to understand what needed to change and, most importantly, how to make those changes while holding on to the integrity of my story. She helped me develop a detailed plan for revising my book, including where to insert new scenes and how to expand existing ones. The result of our partnership is a much improved text that I can really be proud of. Without hesitation, I’d recommend Kelly to any writer looking for outside guidance in developing a manuscript."

Debra Pickett, author of Reporting Lives