Put out your best when you publish

                 and the best will come back to you.

Whether you’re self-publishing or interested in traditional publishing, professional editing is a necessary step in the preparation of a book. A good editor is not your best friend, the one who was an English major in college, it’s someone who has years of experience helping bring authors’ voices forward clearly, who uses the Chicago Manual of Style (the industry standard in book publishing), and who will get the essential questions answered before the manuscript is stamped “final.” Your book deserves readers and you deserve success.

I am a veteran full-service editor with over thirty years experience with developmental editing, line editing, copy editing, and editing anthologies. Before becoming an independent freelance editor in 2001 I was an editor for Ten Speed Press, Chronicle Books, Ortho Books, Crown Publishing, and Bay Books, editing travel books, cookbooks, self-help books, and more. Independently, I’ve edited hundreds of memoirs and other nonfiction manuscripts for writers, songwriters, lawyers, philosophers, professors, scientists, psychologists, retirees, and entrepreneurs. You can read about some of my clients here.

A professional editor can make all the difference for a book that sells.

The different types of editing:

Developmental Editing

Structural issues and completeness of content are the central focus of a developmental edit. Developmental editing considers the broader strokes of a book, important in its earlier stages. I provide detailed notes in the pages and in review notes with return of the manuscript.

With memoir, in developmental editing the first concern is the visibility of the main concept, or “spine” of the story. It’s from this core that all else comes. I look for the take-aways, the essential relatability, the universality in the personal story that’s needed. I consider story structure for its reflection of the author’s growth, otherwise known as the narrative arc. I address the elements that make a memoir a page turner:  pacing of the story, scene construction, character development, handling of time, and voice. Where it fits I suggest dialog to animate the narrative. I make notes in the manuscript about where these elements are working and where they are not, I suggest they be added.

With nonfiction, I consider the outline and structure of the book and make sure the voice and format is the most appropriate for the topic.

A developmental edit starts with a free 15-minute consultation.

Coaching can be helpful when you have a manuscript in development or have an idea or an outline to work from. Be sure to check out my coaching services.

Line Editing

It’s time for a line edit when a manuscript is ready for refinement.

I edit using Tracked Changes in Word to show the edits made and allowing for your consideration of the edits before accepting them into the final manuscript. I edit for clarity, suggesting what can be omitted to keep the writing vivid. I note passive sentence structure and recommend breaks in overlong sentences. I correct punctuation and spelling, mark for consistencies in name spelling and capitalization issues, and I query the author regarding facts that will require checking.

Requested rewriting, or what may be called light ghostwriting, is available for an additional fee.

Copy Editing

Traditional publishers employ copy editors as a next step following the line editor before a manuscript goes to proofing. Self-publishers are responsible for hiring a line editor, copy editor, and proofreader before going to press. I provide referrals to good copy editors and proofreaders on request.


Anthologies are books created from collected writings by various authors often on a particular topic. I have published two anthologies and besides editing can offer advice regarding the use of interview transcripts and consult on structure and content.


Line editing: I provide an estimate based on manuscript length (word count) after viewing the first ten pages and bill at an hourly rate. Half of the estimated fee is due to start with the balance due at completion.  I offer a sample edit of 2,500 words for $100 to be sure we’re the right fit.

Developmental editing: I review a completed manuscript or manuscript in progress, provide written development notes, and offer a follow-up 30-minute phone call for a fee that is based on manuscript length.


I can help you shine.

About Suzanne

Suzanne Sherman is a veteran publishing professional, with thirty-five years in the field and a specialization in memoir and other nonfiction. Her clients have published with Wiley & Sons, Chronicle Books, Ten Speed Press, and a number of smaller publishers. She has also helped many authors successfully self-publish. Some of Suzanne’s memoir students and coaching clients prefer to write for personal pleasure or to create books for family, and they call her an invaluable guide.


Start Writing Right!

These 7 easy-to-follow essentials can get you started right or help you fine-tune your writing in progress. It’s a short, info-packed resource to help you improve on a good idea and give you the tools to build your exceptional story.