Michelle Barker's books on Goodreads
Old Growth, Clear-Cut: Poems of Haida Gwaii Old Growth, Clear-Cut: Poems of Haida Gwaii
ratings: 1 (avg rating 5.00)

The Beggar King The Beggar King
reviews: 8
ratings: 21 (avg rating 4.00)

Tesseracts 14: Strange Canadian Stories Tesseracts 14: Strange Canadian Stories
reviews: 4
ratings: 15 (avg rating 4.07)

Tesseracts Fifteen: A Case of Quite Curious Tales Tesseracts Fifteen: A Case of Quite Curious Tales
reviews: 4
ratings: 14 (avg rating 3.79)

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Work With Me

2015-03-05 11.23.35

Need help with your creative writing? I have been an auxiliary mentor with UBC’s Booming Ground program. I’ve also worked on a variety of projects including short fiction, novels, a cookbook, a book on cancer recovery, and poetry. I can help you with everything from character development  to the structure of your novel. I can also tackle marketing issues such as query letters and the dreaded novel synopsis.

I charge $40 (Canadian) per hour, but will price larger projects (such as a complete manuscript evaluation) based on word count.

I have recently joined the wonderful editorial team at Darling Axe. Check out our website and the many services we offer.  

For writers who want to work with me on a regular basis, I offer six-month mentorships. Once a month, you can submit up to 5,000 words (for a total of 30,000 words over the six months). In my feedback, I will point out specific issues on the manuscript, as well as including a letter outlining big picture issues (plot, characterization, structure, etc). I am open to short fiction, novels, and creative nonfiction. Mentorships are $500 (Canadian dollars).

Please use the contact page to get hold of me.

My work to date includes (among many others):

    • Research and editing for Vancouver author Sherrill MacLaren on her book, Invisible Power: The Women Who Run Canada (Seal Books, 1991);


    • Editing for Ed Griffin on his books: Prisoners of the Williwaw (Trafford Publishing, 2000) Beyond the Vows (Trafford Publishing, 2001), and Dystopia (Trafford Publishing, 2007).  See www.edgriffin.net for more about these books;


    • Editing for Kathy Scalzo and Sherri Magee (including the book proposal which secured the contract) for Picking Up the Pieces:  Moving Forward After Surviving Cancer (Raincoast Books, 2006) See www.pickingupthepiecescancer.com for more information;


    • Editing for Dr. Deborah Schwartz (Vancouver psychiatrist) on her article, “Obesity as a Consequence of an Addictive Disorder:  A Substance Called Food.” Not yet published.  See www.groupprocess.org for more about Dr. Schwartz and her work;


    • Editing for Nancy Branch on several of her short stories which have gone on to be published;


    • Editing for Marnie McBean on her non-fiction book, The Power of More, published by Greystone Books (2012);


    • Editing for Denise Marchessault on her cookbook, British Columbia From Scratch, published by Whitecap Books.




“I don’t know what I would do without Michelle’s keen and insightful feedback. Michelle both offers support and asks the tough questions that will push you to make your manuscript better. Before working with Michelle, I had completed an MFA and had an agent, but I still hadn’t sold a book. After receiving Michelle’s helpful feedback, I was able to successfully revise the manuscript that finally led to an offer and publication of my debut novel. I will be turning to Michelle again when I’ve completed the draft of my new novel!”

Tara Gilboy

Author — Unwritten


“Michelle Barker first took on a short story of mine five years ago when I was just a novice writer. Since that time, and due in part to her editorial expertise, I have had several stories published in on-line quarterlies and literary magazines.

Michelle’s the best: a keen eye (without being harshly critical); helpful, astute comments; prompt returns of edited manuscripts. For these reasons, I continue to solicit her skills.”

Nancy Branch

Sherbrooke, Quebec


“Michelle Barker was my writing mentor for my cookbook. From book contract to final manuscript, Michelle was with me every step of the way, providing critical feedback, thoughtful suggestions and grammatical editing. When an instruction or anecdote didn’t translate well, Michelle helped me work through alternative phrases and concepts. When I faltered, her swift wit often had me laughing at my computer. Creative and tenacious, Michelle coaxed the very best from me.  I can’t imagine writing another book without her heartwarming counsel and unwavering support.”  

Denise Marchessault

Author — British Columbia From Scratch: Recipes For Every Season (Whitecap Books, 2016)


“I believe that Michelle Barker’s editing of my non-fiction book proposal as well as my book – Picking Up the Pieces, Moving Forward After Cancer – were major contributing factors to the book being chosen for publication by both a Canadian and US publisher! Michelle is a delight to work with.  She is keenly aware of the reader’s perspective and the need for clear writing.  On many occasions, her editions helped my prose “sing”. It is my pleasure to recommend her as an editor.”

Kathy Scalzo

Co-author — Picking Up the Pieces, Moving Forward After Cancer  (Raincoast Books, 2006; Rutgers University Press, 2007)