Developmental Editing

I offer editing designed to improve the organization and flow of your content—usually books, though I work with all kinds of persuasive writing.

In the publishing industry, this type of editing is called developmental or content editing. In journalism or the business world, some refer to it as substantive editing.

When do you need a developmental editor?

While you're still writing or when you've finished a draft, no matter how rough. The goal of developmental editing is to elevate the quality of your work on a fundamental level by asking the question, "Does it make sense?" (Or, "Are you making your point as clearly as possible?") If not, what needs to be changed to make it better?

Most clients hire me after they've written a draft (or at least a few ideas on a napkin). Developmental or content edits occur before you hire a line editor or copy editor for prose issues and grammar and punctuation.

Is this service only for book authors?

Nope. Any written project can benefit from a developmental edit: blog posts, books, training programs, websites, even a LinkedIn summary. It's always a smart idea to hire a professional to give your work a once-over. Everybody misses something. Even internal writers or marketers can be too close to material to see whether it's any good.

This is where I can be of service. I've critiqued, coached, revised, and polished other peoples' writing since 1994. After working with me, my clients have gone on to get agent representation for their books, make bestseller lists, secure job interviews or school acceptances, and place in writing competitions.

recent Projects

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"It was great having Kristen as the substantive editor for my second book, a book which combined both business and technical elements. Kristen did a great job helping me develop content flow as well as keeping an eye on some of the finer points of my writing style. Her perspective helped me focus on the reader experience and be more thorough in my writing. Kristen helped shape critical elements of the manuscript and worked to make terminology and concepts engaging and easy to understand. She was also very responsive and pleasant to work with. I would certainly recommend working with her."

— David Stephenson, Ph.D., Data Science Specialist and Author (Forthcoming)

“I don't know how to thank you. Upon receiving your critique yesterday, I immediately skimmed through it and burst into tears—mostly out of relief. Your thoroughness, kindness and sensitivity just blew me away. I cannot tell you how different your approach was from the very first editor I shared the rough draft of the manuscript with a couple of years ago. I just feel like you have put your soul into it, and you have given me some incredible feedback, all along being so gentle and kind, and really taking to heart how scary and vulnerable it is to share your work with someone you don't know and yet whose opinion you value so highly.”

— L.M., First-time author (Forthcoming)

“Kristen is the BEST! If you are looking for an editor to help structure, develop, and take your book to the next level, look no further. Kristen helped me realize what parts of my story needed more detail and emphasis, and which parts needed to be concise and clear. She is punctual, honest, and goes the extra mile to assist in any way she can. Without her my book wouldn't be what it is today. Five stars from me!”

— Zev Kanter, Author, Release Control/Restore Harmony: A 3-Stage Guide to Sustainable Weight Loss & Binge Eating Recovery (Forthcoming)

“I’m writing to let you know how pleased I am with your work. Your objective assessment within your notes is what these stories needed. You have identified the holes, the missing pieces and points of clarification that would make these stories better. I believe I will have a very strong collection of horror stories.”

Lou Rera, Author, AWAKE: Tales of Terror, 2020

"I was so lucky to find Kristen to help me with my book, Getting the Best Care: Rescue Your Loved One from the Healthcare Conveyor Belt. Kristen has a friendly and approachable nature but she is a stickler for process. That is a great combo in an editor. She helped me to clarify my thinking and to make the book so much better with her editing expertise. She is responsive to emails and never left me wondering. I would love to work with her again!"

Margaret Fitzpatrick, Speaker and Advocate for a More Rational Approach to Healthcare as We Age, Author of Getting the Best Care, 2019

"After wrestling with a narrative nonfiction manuscript for some time, I finally realized that what I needed was an objective set of eyes on the work, someone to help me craft a more compelling story arc and 'journey.' Kristen's manuscript critique was invaluable, providing me with specific suggestions and ideas. Supportive, yet with a keen eye for detail, she is a delight to work with."

Leslie Karst, author of the Sally Solari mystery series

"After an exhaustive search for a content editor for my first book, I was lucky enough to find Kristen. Kristen is a true professional! She was transparent, punctual, knowledgeable, and informative. Kristen took the time to explain her craft in a way that a newbie like me could understand and use for the future. My experience with Kristen has been so educational for me, and I would recommend her to anybody!"

— Michael J. Pearsall, Corporate Trainer and Author, Purposeful Leadership for a Total Engagement Culture

"Kristen worked with me on editing my manuscript (which was originally a collection of blogs) into a solid book. She was efficient, resourceful, and collaborative, and really served as a consultant in addition to editor. Kristen hooked into my message and target audience and worked with me on tightening up a manuscript I felt proud to deliver to the marketplace."
— Stacey Rosenfeld, PhD, Author, Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation’s Fixation with Food and Weight, 2014


"Kristen had a wonderful ability to understand what I wanted to express and then write with clarity and intelligence. She also has a good grasp of working with medical and technical information, which makes her services even more valuable. My book turned out better than I could have imagined and I am thrilled with the result."

— Author, Bestselling Health Book

"Your edit is a gift! You're doing exactly what I hoped you would be doing: copy editing, mixed with excellent content editing. I also love your suggestions and questions — makes me think deeper about the messages I'm trying to convey and how to better communicate them."

— Confidential Client, Business Book Author and Tech Director at a Fortune 500 Company

"I came to Kristen for advice on writing and marketing my first non-fiction book. After reading my notes, she critiqued my concepts, helped me identify my hook, and encouraged me to focus by thinking about my target audience while writing. She was very helpful to me in clarifying what I wanted to say. Now, less than a year later, I’ve finished my first self-help book. I highly recommend her services as a coach to new and developing writers."

— Jeffrey Bergman, Author, Perfect At Our Core: 4 Steps to Overcome Self-Judgment and Feel More Comfortable with Yourself

"If it is important, I use Kristen exclusively to edit and coach me in polishing my written work. Kristen excels at helping me organize my thoughts and work experience objectively. Kristen has a gift for pulling the story from me and helping me express my experience and enthusiasm so others can get as excited about my work and vision as I am. She helps me balance industry speak with clear writing that describes what I do clearly for a lay audience. After working together, I feel confident and excited with the documents I have and how they reflect me. Kristen is easy, kind, considerate, patient, knowledgeable, insightful, and fast to work with. I could not recommend her enough."

— Chuck Zimmer, Art in Public Places Project Manager, ArtsWA

"Thank you so much for your time and comments. I found them to be very helpful and positive, much more so than any of the other feedback I’ve received."

— L., Aspiring Memoirist

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