Alaya Johnson

Alaya Johnson - Editor

Oaxaca, Mexico

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

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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."
English (US)
African American Fiction
Epic Fantasy
Historical Fiction
Magical Realism
Short Story
Themes & Motifs
Young Adult Fantasy


  • 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

Freelance Writer and Editor

January, 2007 – Present (about 16 years)

Portfolio (12 selected works)

Everything's Fine

Patterson, Janci

What's Yours is Mine

Surova, Talia

Wergen: The Alien Love War

Rivera, Mercurio D.

Across the Event Horizon

Rivera, Mercurio D, Bisson, Terry

The Cat King of Havana

Crosshill, Tom, Nolting, Mia

Trouble the Saints: A Novel

Johnson, Alaya Dawn

Reconstruction: Stories

Johnson, Alaya Dawn

The Summer Prince

Johnson, Alaya Dawn

Love Is the Drug

Johnson, Alaya Dawn

Alaya has 4 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Matt Igoe
Alaya is a great help. The edits were professional and targeted.

Matt Igoe, January 2023

Phoebe Wood
I hired Alaya to look at a speculative fiction short story of 4000 words and she did excellent work. I chose to collaborate with Alaya because she has a combination of great experience in the field and a very good communication style. My developmental edit focused on story logic and world building. If these are areas you want help with, Alaya will definitely be able to advise. She suggested p...
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Phoebe Wood, December 2022

Greg Kastigar
Alaya is an excellent editor. She is meticulous in her assessment and constructive with feedback. I worked with Alaya on a short story I'm developing, and her feedback helped me take it to the next level. She has an extensive background, including publishing, so her advice is sincere and honest. I have been writing for years, but this was my first experience with Reedsy, and I couldn't be happi...
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Greg Kastigar, November 2022

Renner Barsella
Alaya's feedback was thoughtful and informed. She not only gave me valuable insight into what I needed to do to make my query, synopsis, and first pages clearer, but also gave context about what agents and editors would be looking for when they read my materials. That was extraordinarily helpful in figuring out what information to prioritize and how to present it. Could not recommend Alaya high...
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Renner Barsella, September 2022

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