Hey there! I’m Ally Machate…
founder of The Writer’s Ally and your ally in book publishing. I’m so glad you’ve found your way to this site, because you could have fallen into any number of traps on your way here. Traps like the “write your bestseller in a weekend!” programs and super cheap book editing or print-on-demand (POD) publishing services promising you the world.
You can certainly write 50,000 words or more in a weekend or even a day if you’re really motivated. And anyone with print-on-demand technology can take your manuscript and upload or print it as a lovely book in whatever quantity you desire. But neither of those routes are likely to get you a bestseller.
I know because I’ve been supporting authors in their careers for more than two decades. I cut my teeth as a book editor at Simon & Schuster and have since served authors directly, through their agents, and through large and small publishing houses with a variety of services.
You can find out more about me here, but right now I’m sure you want to know about the Allies who may be working on your book! I’ve put together an amazingly skilled and experienced team of book editors committed to your publishing success. We’ve worked with established publishers, career authors, first-time self-publishers, literary agents…pretty much everyone out there whose ultimate goal is to create, publish, and sell great books. We look forward to helping you, too.
Scroll on down to meet the team!
Developmental editor Harrison Demchick came up in the world of small press publishing and along the way has worked on more than 80 published novels and memoirs, several of which have been optioned for film. An expert in literary, commercial, and speculative fiction, Harrison is known for writing quite possibly the most detailed and informative editorial letters in the industry—if not the entire universe. As an author, his work includes literary horror novel The Listeners (Bancroft Press, 2012) and short fiction like “The Yesterday House” (Aurealis, 2020). He’s also an award-winning screenwriter whose first film, Ape Canyon, launched to streaming services in 2021.
With more than 20 years’ experience, Vicki specializes in prescriptive nonfiction. She helps authors teach readers how to do something, whether it’s saving for retirement, housebreaking a new puppy, or becoming a leader in the workplace. Vicki draws on her journalism background to help authors answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how about their topic, resulting in engaging, well-organized books that contain the information readers need. In addition to working with independent authors, for whom she provides constructive feedback, encouragement, and collaboration, she has edited nearly 100 books in the popular For Dummies series published by John Wiley & Sons.
Melissa Jeglinski leverages 25+ years of publishing experience to develop Adult fiction projects for The Writer’s Ally. She began her career at Harlequin Enterprises, moving from editorial assistant up to Senior Editor of one the publisher’s most successful romance series. In 2008, she changed gears and became a literary agent, diversifying the genres she works in to include mystery, women’s fiction, historical fiction, and general/mainstream fiction. Melissa helps shape the manuscripts and careers of her clients across these genres and has fostered several to national prominence including a Newbery Honor and multiple USA Today and New York Times bestsellers.
Laura Shovan is a children’s author, educator, and Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. Her chapbook, Mountain, Log, Salt, and Stone, won the inaugural Harriss Poetry Prize. Her work regularly appears in journals and anthologies for children and adults. Laura’s middle grade novel-in-verse, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, won multiple awards, including NCTE Notable Verse Novel. Her novel Takedown was selected for Junior Library Guild, PJ Our Way, and the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer/Rise Feminist Books Project. A Place at the Table, written with author/activist Saadia Faruqi, was named a Sydney Taylor Notable in 2021. Laura is a longtime poet-in-the-schools for the Maryland State Arts Council and serves on the faculty of VCFA’s MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults..
Formerly of Writers House literary agency, developmental editor Nora Long is passionate about great storytelling and has extensive experience with what agents and publishers look for at both the manuscript and query level—and by extension, knows what readers are after as well. She’s equally at home nerding out with authors about fantasy world-building, breaking down the components of an argument in serious nonfiction, or nailing down the character voice for an illustrated bunny in a picture book. A few prominent projects include Kat Howard’s Roses and Rot (Gallery/Saga 2016), James Clear’s New York Times bestselling Atomic Habits (Avery 2018), and Reema Zaman’s I Am Yours (Amberjack 2019).
For over a decade, Ginni Smith has worked on more than 800 books ranging from high-profile nonfiction titles in business, self-help, and memoir to popular fiction genres with private clients and publishers such as BenBella, Amazon, Hallmark Publishing, and Matt Holt. She is the author of 11 traditionally published titles for Hallmark and Carina Press. She has also ghostwritten both fiction and nonfiction. Whether writing, cowriting, editing, or consulting, Ginni prides herself on taking a client’s individual vision and helping to refine it into a work that’s engaging, expressive, and effective.
For over three decades, Amy has copyedited and proofread both fiction and nonfiction books at the professional level for independent authors as well as book publishers such as John Wiley & Sons, Abbeville Press, and Kensington Publishing and was one of Amazon’s original professional book reviewers.
An avid reader, she has also had sideline careers as a theatrical costume and props coordinator and the owner of a paint-your-own pottery studio.
When not busy editing she can be found at her work table creating mixed media resin art collages.
Copy editor Julie Haase has been editing and proofreading for over three decades, and she’ll take on just about any type of book thrown at her (please don’t throw books at her). Her favorites, however, are memoir, literary fiction and nonfiction, nontechnical nonfiction, and short stories. Julie self-published a guide for authors called The CopySitter’s Tips and Tricks for Great (Narrative) Writing, earned her Professional Sequence in Editing certification from UC-Berkeley in 2020, and is the Publications Chair for the Nebraska Writers Guild for whom she coordinates, designs, and publishes two literary anthologies each year. Julie loves the English language in all its complexities and using it to help writers find their best voice—she also serves TWA clients as our Online Business Manager and Publishing Manager (see below).
Rich Storrs believes in the Oxford comma, periods inside quotation marks, and one space after all punctuation. He cut his editing teeth over 8 years with Spencer Hill Press before striking out on his own to freelance. Rich’s clients include such bestselling authors as Jennifer Armentrout and Kelly Hashway and award-winners Elizabeth Langston, Darby Karchut, and Liza Wiemer. His authors have published with Harlequin, Tor, Saint Martin’s, Disney/Hyperion, and Entangled, as well as finding independent success. Some of his favorite authors to read include Susan Mallery, David Eddings, Chris Grabenstein, and Arthur Conan Doyle. By day, he’s a middle-school teacher who reads voraciously with his kids, and a tireless crusader against typos and hollow dialogue.
Julie Haase has twenty years of experience in project management in the printing industry. She understands the importance of great communication and organization to meet fast-moving deadlines, and she knows the difference between a JPEG and a GIF! Julie is also an author and self-publisher who knows how daunting the publishing process can be. As Online Business Manager and Publishing Manager, Julie brings her wealth of experience, sense of urgency, and belief in constant improvement to help the Writers Ally staff deliver the best possible experience to our clients. Julie welcomes you to The Writers Ally and can’t wait to help you put your best word forward!
A lifelong learner and avid reader, Hannah possesses a profound appreciation for storytelling in all its forms. Although new to the industry, she contributes a wholehearted enthusiasm for helping others to find their most authentic voice. She is especially adept at managing both big picture and detail-oriented tasks and understands that adaptability is an essential element of productivity. As Project Manager for The Writer’s Ally, Hannah firmly believes in maintaining an exceptional standard of service and recognizes the importance of keeping all lines of communication readily accessible in order to best empower the creative process.
Cecille “Twinkle” Garcia was for six years the hero behind the scenes who made it possible for The Writer’s Ally to fulfill our purpose. As our Customer Care Specialist and later our Project Manager, she loved welcoming new writers into the TWA community and making sure all team editors and clients had what they need to succeed.
She was also an avid reader who shared that love with her daughter, Sophie.
It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Twinkle — she was taken from us by COVID-19 on May 17, 2021, followed by her husband, Elmer, about a week later on May 25. Young Sophie is now under the care of her Aunt and Uncle. If you feel so moved, help her find her way with a small donation to her family.