Alaya Johnson

Alaya Johnson – Editor

Award-winning SF/F writer with 8 published novels and 15 years of experience with NY houses to help you bring out the best in your own work.


Who I am:

I am an author of Science Fiction and Fantasy with over fifteen years of experience in publishing. I have published eight novels for adults and young adults with major New York houses such as Macmillan and Scholastic (including Trouble the Saints and The Summer Prince), as well as dozens of award-winning short stories and novellas. I have extensive experience critiquing novels for professional workshops and writer's organizations, including Tin House, Mendocino Coast Writers Workshop, Aspen Words, and Clarion.

Who you are:

A writer of speculative fiction who has worked hard to master the basics. You have read extensively in the genre, you have solicited feedback from others, and you have revised your novel beyond the first draft. You get positive comments in your rejections from agents and editors, but a 'yes' still feels elusive. If you want to figure out how to get your writing from "decent" to "publishable," and are willing to put in the work, then I would be delighted to work with you.

Editorial philosophy:

I am a puzzle-solver who loves to figure out *how* and *why* stories work the way they do. I want to work with writers to clarify their creative vision in order to help untangle the thorny problems preventing it from being fully realized on the page.

I am offering in-depth developmental edits as well as general editorial assessments. A developmental edit with me includes in-line comments, including sentence shaping (as-needed in order to give you an idea of the prose-level issues that you can then address globally), a 3-10 page in-depth editorial letter analyzing the both the strengths and weaknesses of the plot, characters, and general flow of the manuscript, and an hour long conversation where we can go over any remaining questions before you tackle your revision. The general editorial assessment will include a 5-10 page editorial letter analyzing the manuscript (plot, characters, general flow) as well as a 45-minute conversation where we go over any questions you might have.

I'm here to answer any questions you might have, so please don't hesitate to get in touch. I look forward to hearing from you!

Testimonials from clients:

Abby P.

"I have been stuck in an editorial roadblock for months but I just got Alaya’s editorial thoughts back and they were detailed and brilliant and inspiring. I actually feel like diving back into my draft instead of hiding from it. Hire her!!"

Amanda H.

"Alaya's editorial notes helped me identify key points in my novel draft for revision that have shifted it from a first draft to a more honed draft that I can query with. Her feedback was indispensable."

African American Fiction Contemporary Fiction Dystopian Epic Fantasy Historical Fiction Magical Realism Space Opera Young Adult Fantasy
English (US)
  • World Fantasy Award for Best Novel
  • Nebula Award for Best Novelette
  • Nebula (Andre Norton) Award for Best YA/MG Novel
  • National Book Award Longlist for Young People's Literature

Work experience


Jan, 2007 — Present

Alaya has 16 reviews





M. B. E.

M. B. E.

Mar, 2024

My second go around with Alaya and it was just as good as the first. I find her very forgiving in her assessment and provides plenty of constructive suggestions to improve my work. As a first time writer, her help has really helped me grow.
Jeff B.

Jeff B.

Feb, 2024

Every few chapters as I progress through the writing of my novel I turn to Alaya, and she has always given me valuable feedback. She tells me what's working, what isn't working, and offers suggestions, both specific and general, on how to revise the manuscript and how to get through the problems.
Jeff B.

Jeff B.

Nov, 2023

This is my third time using Alaya's services on my novel in progress. I've learned that I can count on her to point out and explain weaknesses in my manuscript and suggest improvements. I find her to be perceptive, knowledgeable about literature and technique, and honest.
Hamzah S.

Hamzah S.

Oct, 2023

Alaya was everything i could have asked for (and more) as an editor. What made her stood out from the others were the inclusion of an hour zoom/google meets session to chat and to discuss elements of the report and her edits and to ask any questions. Alaya also helped me identify a lot of the blind spots that I would have never been able to pick up on. I look forward to working with her again.
cardell P.

cardell P.

Sep, 2023

I was in a writer’s group for over a year and hired two Beta Readers to read my manuscript, and they helped me take my writing to another level. But everyone missed a big issue with my manuscript that Alaya saw, and that was an eye-opener. During our online meeting, she was thoughtful and insightful when answering my questions about how to fix it. We also discussed what she liked, which was en...
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