My first book editing assignments came in the mid-1990s from publishing houses that needed a developmental editor for three major college textbooks. A significant portion of my current practice is devoted to a similar kind of idea-to-publication developmental editing. In this field, I become involved with the client early in the writing process, sometimes as the author is refining the topic. As the writer and I move forward collaboratively, I may advise on an outline, help plan the overall structure, and coach the author as I read and re-read multiple drafts of his of her chapters. I eventually edit the manuscript in progress for such issues as initial concept, focus, clarity, structure, story logic (for fiction and memoir), continuity, and the elements of effective style.
Personal consultations by phone or in person are frequent during this process: I provide suggestions and instruction as the book takes shape, while the author grows in skill along the way. As part of this longer-term process, I often teach nonfiction writers how to craft a book proposal.
One of my favorite examples of this kind of developmental editing was with a commercial airline captain who, when I met him, did not know how to type. Yet because of his strong intention and our trusting relationship, he was able to organize, write and publish a moving account of a friend’s spiritual awakening, I Became My Heart. His testimonial is one of several in the Yoga and Spirituality section under Projects. Similarly, Rachel Krentzman, an exceptional physical therapist and Yoga therapist, dreamed of writing a book to extend the reach of her discoveries beyond her office, her workshops and the classes she taught. We started with her idea, developed it, and she’s now landed a two-book contract with an excellent London publisher. Her Yoga for a Happy Back and Scoliosis: The Art of Letting Go will be published next year. Rachel’s testimonial is also in the Yoga and Spirituality section. Other recommendations from authors and publishers for whom I’ve served as a developmental editor are in that section and in the Academic Books menu under Projects.
My fee for developmental editing is $150 per hour.