My editing process is similar to how in-house editors operate. However, since each writer and project is unique, I offer a more collaborative approach, tailored to each client’s specific needs. Authors or agents usually contact me with a brief description of a project requiring a skilled editor. Not every project is a good fit, and I always make sure to be up-front if a writer would be better served elsewhere.
I am drawn to strong female voices, humorists, and female-humorists, but I’m perfectly capable of editing humorless male writers as well. I particularly enjoy working on memoir, essay collections, and commercial and literary fiction. Some of my favorite writers include: Jessi Klein, Una LaMarche, Nora Ephron, David Sedaris, Vladimir Nabokov, Charlotte Bronte, and Jane Austen.
My clients run the gamut: from debut novelists who need a skilled editor before approaching agents, to established authors with books already under contract. After failing to sell on its first offering, some clients are looking for a “Book Doctor”; others are referred by literary agents before they submit to the big publishing houses.
If I am interested in taking on a project, I often suggest that the author complete as much of the book as possible before we begin our working relationship, or I might give the writer specific “homework assignments” in order to get the most out of our time together.
Once a writer has a clear vision for her book or the manuscript is three-quarters completed, I give the manuscript a close read. Then I compose a comprehensive letter to share with the author, which typically includes:
Global manuscript analysis and impressions
What works and what doesn't
Structural and conceptual notes
Chapter by chapter notes
I prefer to review my letter in a face-to-face meeting, and together we make a plan for how to implement my suggestions. Depending on how much the author accomplishes, we either do another round of notes asking the author to do most of the heavy lifting, or I begin to narrow my focus down to the sentence level. For the remainder of our time together, I generally use Microsoft Word’s “track changes” for line edits, any remaining structural changes, and write notes in the margins.
As an editorial consultant I approach each project with the same dedication, care, and focus as if it were my own. My background in writing literary and dance criticism for various publications, my experience writing a novel, and teaching and mentoring in the non-profit world, make me one fierce ally to any writer.