Put out your best when you publish

                 and the best will come back to you.

Whether you’re self-publishing or planning to sign a contract with an agent or traditional publisher, a professional editor is a required step in the pre-publication process. A good editor is not your best friend, an English major, it’s someone who knows the Chicago Manual of Style (the industry standard for book and magazine publishing) and has years of experience bringing authors’ voices forward clearly and getting the necessary questions answered before the manuscript is stamped “final.” Your book deserves readers and you deserve that success after all the work you’ve put into writing it. With the help of an experienced editor, your book will reflect your commitment to success.

I have over thirty years experience as a professional developmental editor, line editor, copy editor, anthologies editor, and blog editor.

Past employers include book publishers, such as Ten Speed Press, Chronicle Books, Ortho Books, Crown Publishing, and Bay Books, where I edited scores of cookbooks, memoirs, self-help books, regional guides, and more. Independently, I’ve edited many hundreds of manuscripts for writers, professional songwriters, lawyers, philosophers, professors, scientists, psychologists, retirees, and entrepreneurs. You can read about some of my clients here.

A skilled editor can make all the difference if you want a book that sells.

Here are descriptions of what’s involved in the different types of editing.

Developmental Editing

Developmental editing is needed for books not yet structured in the best way or expressed as fully as possible. Developmental editing looks at the broader strokes, not the fine detail that belongs to line editing.

As a developmental editor I start by considering the essence of a book. With memoir, the first concern is the concept, or “spine” of the story. It’s from this core all else comes. In memoir, and in nonfiction books, I look for the take-away message(s) and make sure the message is visible. This is part of what gives memoirs relatability, or universality. In memoir, too, I look for the elements that help transform truth to art and make a memoir a page turner: dramatic structure (the protagonist’s growth, or the narrative arc), pacing, scene construction, character development, management of time, and voice are some of these components. I note where tension lags, and where it fits I suggest use of vivid verbs or use of dialog to animate the writing. I make notes in the manuscript about where these elements are working. Where they are not, I suggest they be added. With nonfiction, I make sure the chosen format is the most appropriate for the topic and tone.

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

Line Editing

It’s time for a line edit when a manuscript is completed and ready for detailed review and refinement.

As a line editor, I edit your manuscript electronically, using Tracked Changes, the editing tool in Word, so you can see the edits made in the document and accept or reject them, bypassing the step of incorporating edits from manuscript to computer.) I edit for clarity and consistency, suggesting what can be omitted to keep the writing clear and concise. I note passive sentence structure and recommend breaks in overlong sentences. Though is done in more detail by a copy editor as a final step in the editing process, I mark for correct punctuation, make sure spelling is accurate and that capitalization is done correctly and consistently. Where I find facts that need checking, I query the author to pursue that research.

Requested rewriting, or light ghostwriting, is available for an additional fee.

Copy Editing

Traditional publishers employ copy editors to follow their line editors before a manuscript goes to proofing. I recommend hiring a line editor before submitting a book sample to a prospective publisher or agent.

Self-publishers are responsible for hiring a line editor, a copy editor, and a proofreader before going to press. I provide referrals to quality copy editors and proofreaders, as needed.


Anthologies are assembled from collected writings. I have published two anthologies, both of them including submitted material and many transcribed interviews. For creators of anthologies, I offer advice, I line edit manuscripts, and I consult on book structure and content.


Line editing: I provide an estimate for line editing based on manuscript length (word count, not number of pages) and determine the form of editing required after reviewing the table of contents (if there is one) and first fifteen pages of the manuscript. Half of the estimated fee is due to start the edit with the balance due when the edited manuscript is delivered. If a line edit is desired, I offer a sample edit of six pages for $90 to be sure we’re the right fit.

Developmental editing: This level of editing usually involves my review of an entire manuscript with written notes for the author and a follow-up phone call. Coaching can be helpful for writers with a manuscript in development or with just an idea or an outline or table of contents to work from as they begin the writing of the book. For more, see my coaching services.


So I can help you shine.

About Suzanne

Suzanne Sherman has been a publishing professional in various capacities since 1983 and has specialized in memoir for over 20 years. Her clients have published with Wiley & Sons, Chronicle Books, Ten Speed Press, Monkfish Publishing, Freethought Press, and more. With her guidance, clients who preferred a small print run of their books to distribute as they liked have used a printer, many have successfully self-published, and several have put their books into the market with the help of a hybrid publisher. READ MORE »

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