Alexis Rizzuto

Alexis Rizzuto – Editor

I am a freelance editor specializing in narrative nonfiction. I offer developmental and line editing for essays, books, and proposals.


I’ve spent 20 years in the writing and publishing world, in positions that add up to a useful combination of perspectives: from writing instructor, to working at a literary agency, as an editor at two publishing houses, and now freelancing. I know what goes into creating books, pitching books, editing books, and promoting books. My expertise is as a developmental and line editor of nonfiction. I am known for my sound editorial judgment, the passion and integrity I bring to my work, and a warm interpersonal style. My goal for each project is to bring the author’s ideas to their fullest and most effective expression, and help those ideas reach their audience.

Here are some comments from authors I've worked with:

"This is the second book I have worked on with Beacon Press senior editor Alexis R. ‘Work’ is a misnomer—collaborating with Alexis has been a pure joy, and she has helped to fulfill my vision for this story, even at a point when I began to lose my way. I greatly appreciate her intelligence and honesty but most importantly her warmth in what has been an emotional, often challenging, process."--Jorja Leap, author of Jumped In and Project Fatherhood.

"During the many years I dreamed of being an author, I prayed I would be blessed with an editor who would make my work far better than it otherwise could be. Alexis is that dream editor, and I am grateful for the opportunity of working with her. Alexis ‘got’ the book from the outset and saw potential in it beyond my original concept."--Judy Mills, author of Blood of the Tiger

Agriculture Biographies & Memoirs Earth, Space, & Environmental Sciences Education & Reference Life Sciences Nature
English (US)
  • MFA in Creative Nonfiction

Work experience


Mar, 2015 — Present

• Manuscript critique and full developmental and line editing for authors of narrative nonfiction and memoir.
• Book proposal development and editing, guidance on market research, submission advice and support.

Beacon Press

Jun, 2008 — Mar, 2015 (over 6 years)

• Spearheaded Beacon’s environmental list, acquiring and editing books on energy, climate, food, nature, animals, and conservation, as well as literary nature writing. Other topics include memoir and education.
• Worked collaboratively with other departments in the production, promotion, and marketing of each book, guiding the authors throughout these stages, and generating material for launch meetings and sales presentations.
• Cultivated new projects, authors, and contacts with agents; attended conferences relevant to acquisition areas.
"Alexis is everything you could ask for in an editor--conscientious, a meticulous line-editor, SMART, warm, reliable, and passionate about her projects, authors, and activism. She was a delight to work with as an office mate and equally appreciated as a model editor whose projects were always in impeccable shape when handed over to production. A rare combination of writer and editor, Alexis would be an asset to any editorial project." --Marcy Barnes, Production Director

Grub Street Inc.

Jan, 2003 — Jan, 2009 (about 6 years)

• Taught Creative Nonfiction, and Personal Essay & Memoir workshops (Levels I, II, and Master Class).
• Taught publishing workshops and book proposal seminars.
• Recurring panelist and manuscript consultant at the Grub Street Muse & the Marketplace conference.

Kneerim & Williams Literary Agency

Jan, 2002 — Jun, 2004 (over 2 years)

• Worked closely with authors to develop and edit book proposals.
• Assisted agents with submission lists and pitch letters, follow-up calls with editors.
• Managed flow of incoming manuscripts and queries; recruited, hired, trained, and supervised interns.


An acclaimed author reflects on his upbringing in a post–World War II blue-collar family and comes to terms with the racism, sexism, and other toxic values he inherited.Finalist for the 2014 New England Book Award in Non-Fiction Richard Hoffman sometimes felt ... read more
A lively and lyrical account of one woman’s unlikely apprenticeship on a national-park trail crew and what she discovers about nature, gender, and the value of hard work Christine Byl first encountered the national parks the way most of us do: on vacation. But... read more
Examines major myths informing American education and explores how educators can better serve students, increase college retention rates, and develop alternatives to college that don’t disadvantage students on the basis of race or incomeEach year, as the found... read more
A group of former gang members come together to help one another answer the question “How can I be a good father when I’ve never had one?” In 2010, former gang leader turned community activist Big Mike Cummings asked UCLA gang expert Jorja Leap to co-lead a gr... read more
A longtime backpacker, climber, and skier, Michael Lanza knows our national parks like the back of his hand. As a father, he hopes to share these special places with his two young children. But he has seen firsthand the changes wrought by the warming climate a... read more
Science entwines with matters of the human heart as a whale researcher chronicles the lives of an endangered family of orcas Ever since Eva Saulitis began her whale research in Alaska in the 1980s, she has been drawn deeply into the lives of a single extended ... read more
Stay, Daughter

Azad, Yasmin

An expert in wildlife management tells the stories of those who are finding new ways for humans and mammalian predators to coexist. Stories of backyard bears and cat-eating coyotes are becoming increasingly common—even for people living in non-rural areas. Far... read more
Blood of the Tiger takes readers on a wild ride to save one of the world’s rarest animals from a band of Chinese billionaires. Many people think wild tigers are on the road to recovery, but they are in greater danger than ever—from a menace few experts saw com... read more
A public school principal’s account of the courageous leaders who have dismantled the tracking systems in their schools in order to desegregate classrooms What would happen if a school eliminated the “tracks” that rank students based on their perceived intelle... read more
Winds sweeping across the Great Plains once robbed the Farm Belt of its future, stripping away overworked topsoil and creating the dreaded Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Today, those winds are bringing new hope to the declining rural communities of the central United... read more
Foreword by Jane GoodallA former student and colleague of Jane Goodall shares stories of chimps and their heroes, and takes readers on a journey to save man’s closest relative. Unbeknownst to much of the public, chimps are in trouble: censuses show them to be ... read more
Named one of the best books of the year by Slate, Chicago Tribune, Entropy Magazine, and named one of the top 10 memoirs by Library JournalInto the Wild meets Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man—a lyrical memoir of a life changed in an instant and of the per... read more

Alexis has 3 reviews





Jen M.

Jen M.

Jun, 2024

I'm so glad I hired Alexis. She listened to my questions and brought her science background, literary skills, and knowledge of the market to her editorial assessment. Her feedback, from the macro to the micro level, was thoughtful and provided the clear path forward I was seeking. Alexis was encouraging while having a clear-eyed perspective on what it takes to get a book published. Her fee was ...
Read more
Sean C.

Sean C.

Nov, 2021

Great experience with Alexis. Very helpful edit of my proposal and excellent advice on both the proposal and book content. Professional, friendly, and invested in the outcome.
Cindy M.

Cindy M.

Jun, 2020

While we are not quite finished with our collaboration, I have had a very positive experience with Alexis. She has shown great interest in my subject, which is a biographical account of an immigrant, and has offered valuable suggestions for improving my draft. I feel confident that with her input I will be able to raise my manuscript to its most readable and engaging level.

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