Memoir Editor

A professional editor can make all the difference.

Whether you’re self-publishing, seeking a hybrid publisher, targeting small publishers or looking for an agent, an experienced, professional editor will bring your voice forward in the most compelling way and help your book earn the praise it deserves. Your work will look professional and reflect your commitment to success.

After 30 years in the publishing business, I specialize in:

  • Developmental editing
  • Line editing

I’ve worked for publishing companies including Ten Speed Press, Chronicle Books, Ortho Books and Crown. For hundreds of independent writers I’ve edited memoirs, as well as travel guides, cookbooks, workbooks, self-help books and more. These people are professional writers, businesspeople, retired professionals, psychologists, scientists, professors, chefs and more. You can read about some of my clients here.

Developmental Editing

Whether you have an idea for a book that you draw out in synopsis and outline form for me or a completed draft of your manuscript, I target or uncover the essence: what is the “spine” of your story in a memoir, the central theme? What is your take-away, or message? It’s from this core that all else comes. In memoir, if you have a completed draft of a manuscript I look for the elements of fiction that transform truth to art and make a personal story a page turner: dramatic structure (narrative arc), scene construction, pacing, character development, handling of time, engagement with author voice. How are these aspects working? What areas need improvement? I provide approximately ten pages of written notes about where these elements are working and what improvements I see can be made. Maybe you need to enliven the writing with vivid verbs or strengthen your use of dialog. Nonfiction has its own issues, different from creative nonfiction (memoir). With nonfiction, I consider the format and address whether or not it’s the most effective for your topic and tone.

Line Editing

It’s time for a line edit when the bigger-picture structural work is done and you’re ready to improve the writing. I read for engagement, for clarity, and for consistency in tone and style. I make suggestions to keep the writing vivid and concise, note where useful additions or developments could be made, suggest rephrasing of passive or overloaded sentences. I edit electronically, using Track Changes, in Word, so you can review the suggested changes before accepting or adjusting them and thereby avoid the separate step of incorporating edits from manuscript to computer.

Copy Editing

Copy editing is the next step in the editing process for self-publishers, following the line edit and preceding proofreading. A copy editor ensures that punctuation is correct, spelling and capitalization are accurate, styles are consistent, and the flow of information is logical. Copy editors take care of fact checking, as needed, and develop a style guide for the proofreader. After this comes proofreading, by a professional proofreader, and then it’s time to go to print. I can provide referrals for a copy editor and a proofreader, as needed.


Anthologies are assembled collected writings or transcribed interviews. I edit the content of anthologies and consult on the book’s structure and content.

Put on your best when you go out there and the best will come back to you.

My Rates

Line editing is $85 per hour. I provide an estimate for the project in the written agreement I supply. Half of the estimate is paid to start the edit and the balance is due when the edited manuscript is delivered. An average fee for editing a well-drafted 60,000-word manuscript is 30 hours, or $2550.

Developmental editing is $95 per hour, with requested rewriting optional.

How It Works

You contact me and briefly describe your project and your writing experience. If I can help you with your project, we arrange a complimentary half-hour phone call to discuss it further. I give a project estimate after I see the first 15 double-spaced pages. If you prefer, I provide a brief consultation and sample edit of the first 15 double-spaced pages to be sure we’re the right fit. The fee for that is $110, paid ahead by check or PayPal (plus the 3% PayPal fee).

Like a reference? Just ask. Books I’ve edited fill my shelves, and their authors will be happy to talk with you about working with me.



See how I can make the difference you want.

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