Alaya Johnson

Alaya Johnson – Editor

Award-winning SF/F writer with 7 published novels and 15 years of experience with NY houses to be your next-level writing coach.


Who I am:
I am an author of Science Fiction and Fantasy with over fifteen years of experience in publishing. I have published seven 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, and the NY-based critique group Altered Fluid.

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 2-3 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 2-3 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 Dystopian Epic Fantasy Historical Fiction Magical Realism Short Story Themes & Motifs 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 11 reviews





Jeff B.

Jeff B.

May, 2023

Alaya gave me a clear and helpful critique, expressing enthusiastic praise about the things that worked, pointing out the things that didn't and offering suggestions.
Lisa L.

Lisa L.

Apr, 2023

A very positive experience with a professional, communicative, insightful, sharp editor. Would definitely recommend.
Ambernice Z.

Ambernice Z.

Mar, 2023

She was so incredibly thorough and gave me great advice on how to improve my work. I would definitely work with her again.
Matt I.

Matt I.

Mar, 2023

Every meaningful improvement in my project has been thanks to Alaya.
Moriah H.

Moriah H.

Mar, 2023

A thorough review with lots of suggestions on how to move forward with the next draft.