Jenn Bailey

Jenn is an award-winning author. Her debut picture book, A Friend for Henry, is the ALA National Schneider Family Honor Book award winner (2020) and the KAC Children’s Book of the Year (2019).

Jenn has been a professional editor and writer for the last 10 years and has her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and her B.S. in Film/Screenwriting from Boston University. Jenn received the Candlewick Picture Book award for Plink! in 2016 and the Flying Pig Humor Award for her novel, Once, in 2017.

Jenn offers deep and thorough assessments, targeting elements of plot, structure, pacing, characterization, and agency. In picture books she also focuses on word choice, flow, and readability. She has traveled the path from newbie writer to published author and understands that truly beneficial critique balances encouragement with straight-forward speaking. She knows the struggles writers have—with time, perseverance, and confidence—and is sure that she can help authors push through those, and any other issues, to find success.

Besides being a working, published author and freelance editor, Jenn is a reader for an acquiring literary agency, an acquiring editor at a small educational press, and is a sensitivity reader specializing in Autism/Aspergers.

Jenn's pronouns: she/her/hers

Preferred age level & genre of expertise:

Picture Books—fiction, nonfiction (including biographical), and rhyming. Middle Grade and Young Adult novels in the sub-genres of sci-fi/fantasy, humor, contemporary, historical fiction, and nonfiction. Jenn is not a fan of romance unless you include plenty of snark and humor.



Services offered:

  • Editorial Assessment

  • Developmental editing

  • Substantive Editing

  • Line Editing

  • Copyediting

  • Proofreading

  • Author Coaching

  • Sensitivity Reading

  • Picture Books


Favorite books:


  • Tilt by Alan Cumyn

  • How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

  • Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link

  • Calvin by Martine Levitt

  • This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki

  • The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling



  • Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson

  • Clayton Bird Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia

  • Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

  • The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

  • The Witches by Roald Dahl

  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman


Picture Books

  • This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers

  • I Need a New Bum by Dawn McMillan

  • Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome

  • Her Left Foot by Dave Eggers

  • On a Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne

  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak


Favorite Adult Authors

  • Terry Pratchett

  • Connie Willis

  • Jane Austen

  • P.G. Wodehouse



Favorite TV Shows /movies:

  • Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood

  • Dreamland (Utopia in Australia)

  • The Great British Bakeoff

  • Broadchurch

  • Star Trek (Original Series)

  • Turner Classic Movies 



Hire the amazing Jenn Bailey to edit your work and polish your manuscript before submitting to agents and editors. Her advice is spot on. She will teach you how to tighten and mold your story to bring it to the next level. Jenn comes alongside to nudge and inspire you. Just like the 4-H motto, Jenn will make your best better. And besides being your biggest and best cheerleader, her joyful spirit will lift you up, along with your work-in-progress. I had a blast working with Jenn and the end result—my first picture book will be published Fall 2020.

- Nancy Roe Pimm, Fly, Girl, Fly! Shaesta Waiz Soars Around the World

“Jenn Bailey is an outstanding editor and writing coach. Not only will she help you improve your story, Jenn will help you discover your own tendencies as a storyteller—what you do well and what you need to improve. She’s not just an advocate for the best possible version of your story, she’s an advocate for the best possible you. She’s warm, generous, perceptive, and stinking hilarious. Few editors are so adept at recognizing the heart of a writer's story. Fewer still care so much about a writer’s heart."
- Daniel Schwabauer, Legends of Tira Nor series

“Jenn's insights and advice have been invaluable. She was able to find the story amid jumbled chapters and put me on the way to writing a cohesive, and hopefully publishable, novel. She was both encouraging and critical, always allowing her well-honed professional honesty to guide her. I'd work with Jenn again anytime.”
-    Scott Craven, Dead Jed: Adventures of a
Middle Grade Zombie series

“Working with Jenn is getting the best of all writing worlds: writer brain, editor brain, andcheerleader brain. Because Jenn's a writer, she knows how to help me untangle my thinking when I hit walls or when I can't figure out why something's not working. As an editor, she can see my work from way up high and has an uncanny knack of cutting through the forest to help me find my story's trees. She's not a drill sergeant, though. Jenn pulls my best work from me, but she does it with heart. I would work with Jenn again without batting an eye.”
-    Heather Beers