Courtney Oppel

Courtney Oppel - Editor

Helena, MT, USA

Experienced editor specializing in biography, regional interest and history. Clients include Rowman and Littlefield and Pearson Education.

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I'm a Montana-based freelance editor (recently COVID "retired" from 8+ years with Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Company) experienced in all stages of editing non-fiction books, with a particular affinity for copy editing and proofreading. Over the past decade my focus has been on biographies of prominent men and women in American (including Native American) history (Mochi’s War; The Trials of Annie Oakley; The Pinks: The First Women Detectives, Operatives, and Spies with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency; Mrs. Earp: The Wives and Lovers of the Earp Brothers; The Cowboy President: The American West and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt), books on infamous Americans (Ma Barker, Bad Blood, Wicked Women, The World of Doc Holliday, Globe Pequot Press’s Speaking Ill of the Dead and Outlaw Tales series--who doesn't love a good book about a rotten character?) and regional interest titles (Smaller Stories of Greater Yellowstone, The Cowboy of the Pecos, The Lost Canyon of Gold, Globe Pequot Press’s It Happened In and state Curiosities series).

I offer considerable expertise in locating hard-to-find archival images for publication in American history titles. My passion is helping good writers become better writers, and shepherding them through the process of getting their manuscripts publication-ready. I consider my work successful when the writers I collaborate with have gained confidence in their abilities and greater knowledge of the publishing process.

Here is some feedback from authors I've worked with:

You were wonderful to work with . . . so professional and insightful! Had a great experience on the 2nd edition. (I've written 50 books so I've seen good, better, best . . . you are among the best.) And I'm pleased with how this book "looks" and "reads." A lion's share goes to your direction and feedback. You are really, really good: truly an editor! You bring out the best work I can do. As I reviewed the final proof, I need to call out a thank you. I so appreciated your help and guidance. (And your work on the visuals.) I'd work with you again in a second.
-Michael Rutter (author of Myths and Mysteries of the Old West)

On this, the actual pub date of my book, just wanted to say a direct and personal “Thank You” for your great help and support. I hope we’ll have an opportunity to work together again sometime.
- Ted Reinstein, Reporter, WCVB-TV (author of New England Notebook)

I appreciate all of your support. You are a great friend and editor, and long after our paths part, I hope you have a wonderful editing and writing career.
- James Crutchfield, Historian (author of Globe Pequot Press's It Happened In series)

Thank you SO much for all of your editing. You made a silk purse out of the sow's ear.
- Missy Wolfe (author of Insubordinate Spirit: A True Story of Life and Loss in Earliest America 1610-1665)

Thank you, Courtney. I can tell you intuitively get it that we are bringing people’s lives back to life! Thank you for supporting me in this quest ... it means a lot to me. Many, many thanks!
- Tricia Wagner (author of It Happened on the Underground Railroad)
English (US)
Biographies & Memoirs
Christian Non-Fiction
True Crime
Historical Fiction
Historical Mysteries

Work experience

Assistant Acquisitions Editor (contract)

Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Company
September, 2011 – October, 2020 (about 9 years)

Working with authors on manuscript preparation for nonfiction titles for Globe Pequot Press (regional interest) and TwoDot Books (Western history) imprints; developmental editing; preparing materials for project editors; negotiating author contracts; proofreading galleys; writing cover copy; acquiring art and permissions for publication


January, 2010 – June, 2010 (5 months)

Researching and writing articles on various topics for online publication

Editor (contract)

Pearson Education
August, 2007 – August, 2010 (about 3 years)

Collaborating with textbook authors, developers and production staff to copyedit and proofread online nursing course tests, comparing them against electronic source documents for content accuracy, format consistency and bugs/errors

The Trials of Annie Oakley

Kazanjian, Howard, Enss, Chris

The Great Divide

Grace, Stephen, Havey, Jim

Mochi's War: The Tragedy of Sand Creek

Enss, Chris, Kazanjian, Howard

Broken Stained Redeemed

Warner Heidrick, Karen

Courtney has 10 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Steven Burt
Courtney was great! She was hired to proof read my book, but also fact-checked along the way and offered some sentence construction suggestions in a few spots. I will definitely work with her again.

Steven Burt, November 2021

Timothy Jones
Courtney was AWESOME!!!! Her attention to detail is phenomenal.

Timothy Jones, October 2021

Courtney Oppel
It was a privilege to work with you on this project and I'd welcome the opportunity to work with you again.

Reply from Courtney Oppel

Eric Reid
This is the fifth project I have worked on with Courtney, which on its own should say enough, but if you need more here goes; Outstanding level of professional service. What I love about Courtney is she takes the time to get a clear picture of the project and the expectations and then delivers. It is clear from the comments and suggestions that Courtney read the manuscript several times and did...
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Eric Reid, July 2021

Courtney Oppel
Thank you, Eric! That was another incredible book, and it's always a pleasure to work with you.

Reply from Courtney Oppel

Michelle Higdon
Courtney was AMAZING!!! She edited the crap out of my manuscript and made it so insanely polished. She was up front with her bid and offered me a sample of her work before I chose her. In her edits, she also pointed out inconsistencies and suggested fixes to help make things better for the reader's understanding. Man, I couldn't have asked for a better editor! Courtney will be my only editor I ...
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Michelle Higdon, July 2021

Courtney Oppel
Thank you so much, Michelle! You are an amazing writer and were so wonderful to work with. I cannot wait to see your book published--and hope it's just the first of many.

Reply from Courtney Oppel

Dell Allen
I appreciate the job Courtney did on my manuscript. She was thorough, timely and very good at what she does. I would recommend her without hesitation to anyone needing an editor. Dell M. Allen

Dell Allen, June 2021

Courtney Oppel
Thank you, Dell--it was a pleasure to work with you. Best of luck with your book!

Reply from Courtney Oppel

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