As a freelance editor, I work with writers on selected projects, including fiction, narrative nonfiction, academic theses, business documents, and websites. I work with writers intending to self-publish as well as those preparing to be published traditionally. Here’s what I can do for you:
•Developmental editing occurs after a first (or later) draft has been completed. You’ve gotten your manuscript where you can, and you’re ready for help making it even better.
As a developmental editor, I will listen carefully to your thoughts about your writing project. I’m interested in your aims, your stuck places, your ultimate hopes for the piece. If there are particular kinds of feedback you want, you’ll tell me about them at this stage.
Then I will go through your manuscript page by page. I will offer you in-text notes, asking questions and making specific suggestions. I will also compose a detailed edit letter addressing your manuscript’s big picture: theme, characterization, plotting, pacing, tone, and argument. I’ll break down what’s working and what isn’t, and clearly describe the changes that would take your piece to the next level.
Finally, we will discuss the edit together over email. I want to answer your questions and make sure you are feeling satisfied and sure about how to proceed.
• Copy editing happens when your project is nearly ready for publication. Copy editing is a careful, line-by-line pass through a manuscript to fix issues of grammar and punctuation, and ensure a unity of style and format. If you plan to self-publish, a good copy edit is an essential finishing step that will help your work appear in its best light. A copy edit can also be a nice touch if you plan to submit work for publication or representation by an agent.
As a copy editor, I specialize in Chicago Style, the one most commonly used by book publishers.
I’m happy to take a look at your project, discuss your needs, talk about the options, and offer an estimate. My rates are available on request. I can provide you with my impressions of the first few pages of your manuscript, or a sample copy edit. Drop me an email to start a conversation. Alternatively, you can choose to work with me through Reedsy, a platform that connects editorial freelancers with self-publishing authors. View my Reedsy profile, including a selected list of books I have worked on, here.
For what it’s worth, I don’t consider myself the best person to help with YA, fantasy, or genre fiction. They’re just outside my area of expertise. I’m comfortable with literary fiction as well as a wide variety of nonfiction and self-help. As an experienced science writer, technical topics don’t daunt me.
As a writer myself, I understand what a struggle writing can be. When I work with clients, I strive to be supportive, insightful, and honest. I want each writer I work with to leave our exchanges feeling encouraged, but never at the expense of withholding what he or she needs to hear about the text.
Professionally, I am a published author and experienced magazine journalist who has been on the giving and receiving ends of the editorial process many times. I’m a Phi Beta Kappan with a master’s degree in English from an Ivy League university. Currently I am a developmental editor, copy editor, and writing coach with She Writes Press. I’m also an educator who has taught writing courses to adults and undergraduates at UC Berkeley Extension, Johns Hopkins, and Cornell.
To find out what past clients and students have to say about me, read on.
From fiction writers:
“Katherine is careful, precise, and almost alarmingly literate. As an editor, she tempers her critiques with an engaging and supportive tone. She has a wonderful ability to see into a book and recognize what works and what doesn’t, where more substance is needed and where excess can be pruned.”—Barry (novel)
“Wanted to say thank you for all the written comments you’ve given me. There’s a reason you’re a successful editor. You’re more helpful than anyone. The questions you ask show me the gaps you I need to fill in. So thanks!”—Kate (short stories)
From nonfiction writers:
“Let me take this opportunity to tell you how thrilled I am to be working with you on this project. You are an exceptional editor and very easy to work with. And I am learning a lot from you. I shudder to think of how the book would have turned out without your guidance. I know it is SO MUCH better now and will be a more effective tool (I hope and pray) to help others find their own way.”—Donna (coaching and developmental editing client, book-length self-help memoir)
“Your feedback is thoughtful and intelligent . . . you just blew me away sometimes.”—Wendy (coaching client, professional writing and blogging)
“I got the comments, and I am excited and delighted. The edit letter is spot-on. It is exactly the feedback I need. Your comments are clear and, in the best shamanic tradition, help me to see what I am blind to.”
—Briahn (personal essay)
“I would be most happy to recommend your services. I have been entranced by your knowledge and gentle manner.”—Annie (book-length memoir)
“Katherine, thank you for what is probably the most touching and thoughtful assessment I have received from someone reading this book. What I have heard from others, i.e. the designer, literary agent was good, but they were technical and written at a distance. Yours was personal, heartfelt and touching. I was moved by your words. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me.”—Julia (book-length memoir)
From copy editing clients:
“Thank you for the copy edit of [memoir title]. Not only have you paid very close attention to punctuation etc. but you have picked up on every sentence I had the minutest doubt about, myself!”—Annie (book-length memoir)
“THANK YOU for the work on my letter! You are a true pearl, as we say in French.”—Tatiana (cover letter, ESL)
“Many thanks. I went through all your comments and most of the changes and this is all VERY helpful.”—Emanuel (nonfiction book proposal)
“Dear Katherine, I want to thank you so much for your careful, thoughtful copy-editing of my ms. I so appreciate your work! I know it has made my work better!!! I will include you in my acknowledgements.”—Patricia (book-length memoir)
“I have been through the entire manuscript, I read all of your comments and glanced at a few of your suggestions incorporated into the manuscript itself. First, let me say that from reading your comments, it was evident that you were not only making valuable suggestions, but that you had an intuitive understanding of this story and what I am attempting to convey. That came through clearly in your comments. You were sensitive and cognizant of my, the author’s, style and voice. You read the story not only for the copy edit, but for the content, the message, the style and the words. When I dig into this deeper, I do not believe I will be disappointed.”—Julia (book-length memoir)
“I’m getting very close to having everything ready for the typesetter. I really appreciate your help and expertise on this project.”—Tabita (nonfiction book)
“Your instructional style has greatly boosted my confidence and enjoyment in writing. Thank you so much for being the inspiration I needed after unfortunately feeling burned and intimidated by other instructors in the past.”—Melissa, writing skills workshop (classroom)
“I passed the written section of the CBEST [the credentialing test for California public school teachers] thanks to your class. You have no idea what a relief that is to me.”—Katie, writing skills workshop (classroom)
“Thank you so much, Katherine. This class was so helpful, and I enjoyed writing again—for myself. You are a skilled instructor, and an incredible writer. I’m enjoying Coming of Age on Zoloft!”—Sandra, writing skills workshop (online)
“Katherine, I wanted first to say thank you—thank you for your thoughtful criticism throughout this course, thank you for pushing me in my writing, for not letting me get away with lazy sentences or sloppy structure. I appreciate it deeply, and I’ve been excited to see my writing improve in this and other classes. You’re a wonderful instructor and I’m glad to have taken this class with you.”—Aliceanna, writing skills workshop (online)
“That’s what I’ve found really helpful in this course: the awareness of the audience, telling a story for that audience, finding the compromise between one’s desire to be unique and the desire to be heard. Thank you, Katherine, for all your help!”—Galina, creative nonfiction workshop (online)
“Thanks so much for your comments. They were really encouraging and helpful with both my confidence in this essay, as well as in wanting to continue to pursue my writing in general. I’ve really gotten a lot out of this class (much more so than many of the “in person” classes that I’ve taken) and I’m very grateful to you for that. Thank you.”—Christina, creative nonfiction workshop (online)