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

A good editor is not your best friend, the one who majored in English in college. The best value and the most dependable is in hiring a professional editor with years of experience doing it.

A good editor does more than bring an author’s voice forward clearly. A good editor can also make sure your book has what it needs to have commercial value, which is what prospective agents and publishers are looking for. For self-publishers, a good editor can can make all the difference between a book that sells and one that does not. Your book deserves readers and you deserve success.

I have been an editor since 1983, when I started at 23 as a copy editor at Women’s Sports & Fitness magazine. For the next fifteen year I was an editor for a variety of book publishers, including Ten Speed Press, Chronicle Books, and Ortho Books.

At this point in my career, I do developmental editing projects, I am a substantive editor, and a line editor. I have edited memoirs and other nonfiction, travel books, novels, and anthologies, including my most recent book Girlhood in America. My clients are both new and experienced writers. They have been professors, lawyers, doctors, philosophers, scientists, psychologists, musicians, retirees, and entrepreneurs. You can read about some of my published clients here.


Put out your best when you publish
and the best will come back to you.

How do you choose which kind of editing you need?

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

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.

Developmental editing concerns big-picture issues in a book. It describes a collaborative partnership between author and editor, during which an idea or partial manuscript is transformed into a complete book.  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 in the story—the universality in the personal story that’s needed. I help plan a story structure that will reflect the author’s growth; this is the character arc, or narrative arc. I address the elements that make a memoir a page turner:  pacing, scene construction, character development, inclusion of sensory detail, management of time, and consistency of voice.

Coaching can be helpful when you have a manuscript in development or have an idea or an outline to work from and can use guidance, feedback, and support as you write your book. Be sure to check out my coaching services.


If you want help planning the structure of the book and want feedback and course correction as you write, you want a developmental editor. If you want an editor’s help improving your book, you want a substantive editor who can offer a detailed manuscript assessment.

With substantive editing, I review the big-picture topics, as described for developmental editing. The difference is that I have your entire best effort in front of me at once. I give you notes in the manuscript along with an editorial letter (several pages) that reference specific pages and explains more about what you’ll see in the marked-up manuscript.

A second edit usually follows, after you complete the revisions you’ll make on the reviewed draft.


A line edit is required by publishers before a book goes to press. If you are self-publishing, line editing is a necessary step. In a line edit, among other things to do with good storytelling and good story flow, I note passive sentence structure and overlong sentences. I correct punctuation and spelling as needed, note inconsistencies in name spelling and capitalization issues, and query the author regarding facts that need checking. The work is billed hourly, with half the estimated fee due two weeks before the scheduled start date and the balance due when the edited manuscript is returned to the author.

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


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.



Suzanne’s input has taken my memoir to a level I would never have attained without her. I keep being amazed at her ability to hone in on problem spots, restructure the chapters, identify the emotional heart of the story, and improve my overall writing. I have worked with other editors but none have come close to providing what Suzanne has contributed, and I am beyond grateful for her expertise, dedication, and encouragement. — Jason Blume, Hit songwriter and author of 6 Steps to Songwriting Success, Inside Songwriting, and This Business of Songwriting (Billboard Books)

I appreciate and admire Suzanne’s work and professionalism. I think she may be the finest editor I’ve ever encountered in my long career. — Lewis Vaughn, author of over 20 books, including Star Map: A Journey of Faith, Doubt, and Meaning