(A Three-Act Website...)
( ...currently under construction. )
A Book Whatnow?
book · friend \ˈbu̇k-ˌfrend\ noun
1: A do-it-all renaissance woman that can catapult you to your publishing goals.
Signs You Need a Book Friend:
- The characters of your novel have staged a mutiny.
- You're getting rejections referencing terms like "structure" and "pacing." What is pacing, anyways?
- You need a snazzy new website to show off your recent accomplishments (or soon-to-be accomplishments, because hey, this business is rough!)
Sounds like you need Maria Dong.
With over a decade of experience in writing, web design, and developmental and line editing, she's just what the doctor ordered.ACT I: WEB DESIGNER TOP
Maria Dong specializes in building fast-loading, responsive sites for authors that are both professional and affordable. (Seriously! Many full-featured author-sites are around nine-hundred dollars. A single-page book media-kit can be as low as two hundred dollars, depending on features.)
Most sites are built with Wordpress for easy author updates: pictures, blog posts, etc. Go wild! Embed a video! Nobody is going to tell you what to do!
She can build from pre-existing templates or from scratch, but at current, she's doing display sites only--so no stores or systems where you're collecting user data for anything other than a mailing list or email form.
Take me to the contact form!CHECK OUT THE PORTFOLIO PREVIOUS TOP
“Working with [Maria] is like taking a craft class combined with a therapy session … combined with a master course in contemporary literature.”
Ashley Winstead, Author of IN MY DREAMS I HOLD A KNIFE (Sourcebooks, 2021)
Maria works primarily with adult manuscripts in the following genres: fantasy, science fiction, mystery, thriller/suspense, and historical.
She's a strong believer in the “teach a person to fish” approach and loves it when a client leverages their edits into becoming a better self-editor. (In other words, she wants to work herself out of a job!)
She's primarily a developmental editor, which means tackling "big picture" problems, like:
- Ensuring that your characters are complex, nuanced, and demonstrate strong agency;
- Making sure your plot has a logical structure that complements and challenges your characters;
- Strengthening pacing, so that readers don’t feel bored or overwhelmed;
- Helping you identify and pull forward the unifying themes of your novel.
She also loves line-editing, in which she focuses on helping you craft prose that is succinct, exact, and beautiful.
Maria has several key specializations, including:
Science, Medicine, and Allied Health:
She's a licensed healthcare provider with an advanced degree focused on the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal and neurological conditions. Need help figuring out how fast that broken arm is going to heal? She's got your back.
Passion for Better Representation:
Maria can help you improve the representation of under-served and marginalized groups in your manuscript.
Although no one person can serve as a comprehensive mouthpiece, she's well-versed in academic and popular discussions surrounding representation in literature. She combines this with her experiences as a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, queer, disabled woman of color to help you make your manuscript more sensitive and original.
Whether you are interested in traditional publishing or self-publishing–or even some combination of the two!–-Maria can help.
She's assisted several traditionally published authors at all stages on their journeys, including outlining, drafting, querying, and with revisions for agents and editors. She also has strong experience with pitching contests, including PitchWars.
She was also an early adopter of digital publishing technologies and has helped shepherd several indie books to publication, including the launch of a successful kickstarter, a feature in a storybundle, ebook formatting and distribution through almost all major platforms, and print on demand (PoD) formatting for Createspace and Ingram Spark.
"Work with her, and level up."
Maria is a brilliant editor. Her eye for prose is second to none--her own writing is full of jewel-sentences--and she is so good at helping you shave and slice and rework your own words until they're the best version of themselves.
Even better is that working with her is like taking a craft class, combined with a therapy session, combined with a master course in contemporary literature. She can look straight into the heart of your book and see what you want it to be--even if it's not yet clear to you! And she walks you through how to understand the possibilities in your story and pull them out so they shine. Not to mention, the heart and care she brings to editing makes you feel instantly that you're in safe hands. Work with her, and level up.
Author of IN MY DREAMS I HOLD A KNIFE
Whoops! This section, like most of this site, is still under construction.
For now, you can reach me by sending email to maria at mariadong.com.
If your inquiry is about the Book Friend Gives Back project, please make sure to read this first, and then email me with some info about your project, including your name, the type of help you're looking for (website design, querying, editing, etc.), and any other information that you think could help me better help you.
About Maria Dong
Maria Dong is 50% "mover and shaker" and 50% "really bad at holding a traditional job."
She's not content unless she has her finger in five careers and twenty pots, and over the course of her (fairly short) life, she's held jobs as wide-ranging as occupational therapist, translator, property manager, pharmacy tech, and middle-school ESL teacher.
She's been building webpages since the very first days of Wordpress and CSS (remember Netscape? Maria Dong does) and writing, editing, and publishing books for the last 15 years.
As a queer woman of color, Maria is passionate about better representation at all levels of publishing. Until she and her partner manage to storm the doors of the castle, they reside with their dog in rural Michigan, cautiously awaiting the apocalypse while performing AI experiments (taking the doors off houses in the Sims.)SPECIAL PROJECT: THE BOOK FRIEND GIVES BACK PREVIOUS TOP
Uplifting Black Voices
The Book Friend Gives Back
Publishing has a long history of tamping Black voices down. The Book Friend is trying to do her small part to combat this by providing Black writers and community orgs assistance with writing, editing, querying, and website design.
If you're a Black writer or community org looking for assistance, please use the contact form below.
Some bookkeeping details:
- We reply to all inquiries within one week. If you haven’t heard back within one week of sending your email, please resend and @ me on twitter to make sure I got it.
- If there’s somebody else attached to the project I think would be better able to assist you, I’ll email offering to make an introduction.
- Please be patient. Everybody attached to this project is donating their time and expertise around their day job. I'm personally restricting myself to one big project a month, as each full developmental edit or website design can easily take 30+ hours.
- Please be considerate. If paying for professional editing or web design is well within your means, I ask that you consider using those funds to help uplift other minority creators. Artists deserve to get paid.
- We realize that lots of other minority groups are also continuously tamped down by the publishing machine, but this project was started as a direct response to several recent events, both in the news and in publishing, that specifically further marginalize Black voices.