I am unable to respond to all requests for career advice, due to a busy work schedule. My best (and admittedly biased) recommendation? Take one of my classes or independent study programs. But if budget woes prevail, here are some resources.
- Interview Like a Honey Badger (online, five weeks)
- Pitch Like a Honey Badger (online, four weeks, co-taught with Blane Bachelor and Jessica Poitevien)
- Photography and Image Sourcing for Writers (online, six weeks)
- Travel Writing I, (online, six weeks, co-taught with Blane Bachelor and Jessica Poitevien)
- Travel Writing Master Class (online, 10 weeks)
- Rome Workshop: Photography and Travel Writing (dates TBD)
Even experienced authors sometimes need guidance: an external eye and cheerleading voice. I work with writers on voice development, plot structure, grammar and rhetoric, data mining, marketing, pitching (articles and book proposals) and — often the greatest hurdle of all — just getting started. We confer online or in outdoor cafes in West Seattle.
Fees: Line-critiques cost 12 cents a word for the first round and 8 cents a word for additional edits. (discounts available for longer, on-going projects). I can also offer more general career advice for $125/hour via phone or Zoom.
I generally only accept coaching clients who are alumni. But if your need is great, please email and ask about availability! I’ll help if I can.
I devise a three- to five-page report, outlining suggestions for improved clarity, style and marketability. Most effectively, this is paired with a line-critique: a detailed edit, which reveals a writer’s unconscious patterns and explains the rationale behind changing them.
Fee: $1 per double-spaced page by arrangement with the instructor. Please note, this service is only available for longer projects, 50 pages or more.
I accept Paypal, SquareCash, Venmo, Zelle, bank transfers and personal checks in US dollars. Students are responsible for any transfer fees.
REVIEWS FROM STUDENTS AND COACHING CLIENTS
“Amanda is a phenomenal editor and a patient teacher; precise but not nitpicky, critical but not harsh. My writing is clearer and more focused than ever before. I spent eight semesters in creative writing classes at UC Berkeley, and Amanda offered more guidance and carefully directed help than any professor I took there.” — Jenny Williams
“Amanda Castleman is the best teacher I’ve ever worked with. Her feedback was exceptional in terms of quality, detail, extent, and sheer usefulness. Her generosity with her time and expertise is astonishing. I learned a huge amount, have had four pieces published and paid for (including my very first assignment, in The Guardian) and have completed the course with a sense of expanded possibilities. Thank you so much – this is the most rewarding educational experience I’ve had.” — Rachael Davey
“Consider me a success story. I’ve already sold three ideas I explored in the workshop. Two pieces touching on personally important topics like racism, misogyny and bias against Asian-American women; and an interview with an emerging poet who writes about grief and loss through the experience of miscarriage. These are obviously very niche topics! Amanda walked me through how to write concise and effective pitches for a range of publications, opening the doors to new opportunities that I lacked the confidence to previously pursue.” — Shin Yu Pai
“I absolutely loved Amanda’s class. Not only did she give the most specific and constructive writing feedback I’ve ever received (and I spent 6+ years in graduate school), she showed us how to transfer specific comments to future projects. As a former academic, I found the class especially useful for recognizing and letting go of jargon and distilling complicated ideas into something interesting and palatable. As I work the tools I learned, I’m starting to get more takes on my queries and recently had an editor refer to one of my pitches as “one of the best” she’s seen. What a great day!” — Stacey McKenna
“A fine-toothed-comb edit like this is hard to find. I can’t wait to get started revising: it’s like being told the cheat to a Sonic the Hedgehog game at school and rushing home to test it out!” — Simon Willis
“Amanda’s class is the best investment I’ve made in my writing career. A former newspaper and magazine staffer, I had an inkling I could have some success with freelancing, but felt super intimidated by pitching and breaking into bigger name outlets. The course was a wealth of information, beyond just pitching, really, with resources on imposter syndrome, sourcing, the business side of freelancing, etc. And though the personalized feedback was invaluable, it was also really illuminating to learn from other students’ pitches and writing interests and Amanda’s years of experience.
“She was able to edit and push us to grow while being incredibly supportive and boosting the group’s confidence. Back to that great investment: Not only did some of the pitches I worked on in class lead to bylines at some of my dream outlets, such as Bon Appétit and CNN Travel, but the class also paid for itself a few times over with those commissions. I’ve continued to take the lessons learned with me, Amanda is still cheering me on and I will very likely take another course soon. Thank you! ” — Sophia Gottfried
“I am an Amanda groupie. After three classes with her, my confidence as a writer has grown thanks to her encouragement and mentoring. I started to believe in my voice through her generosity, thoughtfulness and constructive feedback. Her confidence in my abilities helped me persevere and create a framework for a query that is garnering responses like “great pitching here” from editors (and also a series of assigned stories!).” — Elena Sonnino
“This isn’t just another pitch feedback class; the lessons are thorough and Amanda’s dedication to helping writers takes it to a whole new level. She answers all your questions in detail and never leaves you feeling lost in the middle of this big bad freelancing world. If you’re struggling to get started or find yourself in a pitching rut, this might be the push you need. Thanks, Amanda!” — Sakshi Udavant
“Writing for several years, it was never something I made a living off of but more a hobby. Determined to change that, I took Amanda Castleman’s class. Her critiques are thorough, with insightful edits. Plus she’s kind and considerate in her critiques while helping writers get closer to landing an assignment. In the midst of the class, I even landed an assignment with Fodor’s, something I don’t think I could have done without the skill and confidence I got from Pitch Like a Honey Badger. Another excellent thing about the class is the exhaustive resources of where to pitch stories.” — Malika Bowling
“What an amazing gift you’ve given us: personalized attention plus huge generosity in sharing practical knowledge from the trenches. Far better than courses at traditional institutions.” — Anne Anderson
“The lessons were just what I needed and filled in a lot of gaps, besides boosting my confidence as a writer. Now I want to run with what I learned, sell a bunch of stories and come back for some one-on-one coaching.” — Ines Wynn
“Amanda is an amazing line editor and quick to provide excellent answers to questions. She’s very supportive and encouraging, and I consider her not only my teacher, but a mentor as well.” — Audrey Medina
“At the end of 10 weeks, I had arrived in the Blogosphere, made new friends and even bagged a job as a writer at a magazine – all thanks to this course!” — Nidhi Nayer
“With the confidence and skills Amanda gave me, I was able to approach highly regarded publications, like The Washington Post and the Toronto Star, and succeed in getting published. Amanda’s class is a good investment, for beginners, as well as for professionals who need to energize their work and look at it from a different perspective. — Gaston Lacombe
“She encouraged me to work beyond my limitations as a writer to points I’d never before reached, and beyond to new ones. Studying with Amanda will improve your writing, no matter the genre, and you’ll have fun doing it!” — Debra Borchert
“To have my first article accepted by the first publication I approached ?The Christian Science Monitor ? was like rocket fuel for me, and I have Amanda Castleman’s expertise to thank.” — Anne Clippinger, PhD, Adjunct Lecturer, Department of English, Montgomery College, MD
“Amanda is an inspiration, an ideal to aspire to.” — James Polk
I’ve posted some advice here, as well as a list of books and sites useful for travel writing, part of my curriculum.
Updated January 2023