Welcome! I'm Janet Benton, founder and principal of The Word Studio.

Have you got a story you need to tell and publish? To accomplish this, you must write regularly and craft a powerful story. As a skilled mentor whose judgment you can trust, I can offer crucial support on this journey. With decades of experience in publishing as an editor, writer, teacher, and writers' mentor, I offer an unusual range and depth of skills to aspiring and accomplished authors. The fine details of craft are best passed from one writer to another through close reading and commenting on writing in process. I've been doing this work for over thirty years, and it creates far better writers and far better writings. Here are some of the many books I've worked on, some with students and private clients, others as an editor for university presses, including the University of Massachusetts Press.


Here are the three main ways I can help you complete a manuscript and bring it into the world:

MENTORING: With expert guidance and support, your skills and output can grow to a higher level. Whether you submit your work in sections or as a whole, as you write a first draft or revise, this work can lead you to a stronger set of skills and a more meaningful manuscript. I consider my job to be helping writers tell the story they want to tell. There are always ways of making that story more powerful through improved craft and subtler changes, rather than big ones. Not that big changes aren't sometimes necessary, and if so, I will recommend them. But I often hear an almost cavalier approach from others toward people's stories, and I think this happens because people don't know technique enough to help writers tell the story they want to tell. I'll help you build that story into a far stronger one, with a completely individualized approach. And the deadlines, email check-ins, encouragement, and insights I provide help to ease the isolation of writing. Write me at janet.thewordstudio[at]gmail.com to inquire. 

CLASSES: I've taught at four universities and run private workshops and classes in Philadelphia for decades. Students and private clients have gone on to attend graduate school in writing, to self-publish, and to become published authors of acclaimed short stories, novels, and nonfiction at major publishing houses. Notable books include Pam Jenoff's The Kommandant's Girl and Larry Kane's Ticket to Ride: Inside the Beatles' 1964 and 1965 Tours that Changed the World. Go here to learn of current workshops. I'm available to teach workshops at libraries, community centers, colleges, and universities.

PUBLISHING GUIDANCE: I'd be pleased to guide you through the processes of creating materials for querying agents, selecting agents to target, making wise decisions as you enter the marketplace, and launching a new book into the world effectively through a wide array of author-driven efforts. Writing a good query letter is difficult, and I've developed ways of doing so from experience. (My query got requests from 9 of 12 agents approached.) I can also help you develop a structure and content for your author website and social media. My own intense, concerted efforts for the year leading up to my debut novel's launch and since its release in May 2017 have increased publicity, reviews, sales, and readership. Released by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday in 2017, Lilli de Jong has been chosen as a Best Book 2017 by Library Journal, one of NPR's Best Books of 2017, a Bustle top debut novel of 2017, and a BookBub top historical novel of 2017. Kirkus Reviews called it a "monumental accomplishment." Learn more at www.janetbentonauthor.com. 

Go to the TESTIMONIALS page to read the words of some of the hundreds of writers I've mentored. Meet me on social media via the icons below.

“Janet’s skillful guidance and feedback have in large part made possible my career as a writer.” —Pam Jenoff, author of nine published novels, including the New York Times bestseller THE ORPHAN’S TALE (2017)