Dawn Raffel

Dawn Raffel - Editor

Hoboken, NJ, United States

Deep experience editing memoir, narrative nonfiction, novels and short stories.

Request a quote
Verified identity

Overview

I enjoy working with writers at all levels, from debut authors to seasoned pros. When I edit, I pay very close attention to language, structure, pacing, and logic. I really try to get inside the DNA of the book to make it the best it can be on its own terms. You can expect lots of line notes and comments, and I'm always happy to answer questions. I try to make the process as painless as possible! Yes, it can even be fun.

In addition to editing, I teach creative writing and serve as an emerging writer mentor at AWP and the Center for Fiction. I'm also a writer myself, so I know how it feels to be on the other side of the desk. I'm interested in literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, and memoir, and am always delighted to see my clients' books make their way into the world.
Languages
English (US)
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
Fiction
Literary Fiction

Awards

  • Two National Magazine Awards
  • Client long-listed for 2019 National Book Award
  • Client won short story collection contest and 2020 publication

Work experience

Owner

Self-employed
January, 2015 – Present (almost 8 years)

I work with individuals, publishers, and organizations to develop books and other creative content.

Editor-in-Chief

The Literarian
December, 2010 – January, 2014 (about 3 years)

Launched and edited a literary magazine for the Center for Fiction in New York, working with a wide variety of well-established and debut authors.

Books Editor

Reader's Digest
February, 2010 – November, 2014 (over 4 years)

Assessing, acquiring, editing and shaping substantial book excerpts for Reader's Digest magazine, covering the full book market, and gaining a comprehensive understanding of the marketplace. In this position, I also acquired and edited original content, working with everyone from Pulitzer Prize winners to novices.

Editor-at-Large

More Magazine
December, 2006 – February, 2010 (about 3 years)

Acquired and edited articles and book excerpts and covered the whole book market for a mass circulation women's magazines with one-million plus circulation.

Executive Articles Editor

O, The Oprah Magazine
October, 1999 – November, 2006 (about 7 years)

Helped launch the magazine and create its architecture. Extensively acquired and edited articles and book excerpts for seven years.

Portfolio (34 selected works)

A Wilder Time: Notes from a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice

William E. Glassley

"Very few people have spent as much time as William E. Glassley in such deep wilderness. So it would behoove us to pay attention even if he had not brought back such a fascinating, lovely, and useful set of observations. This is a remarkable book." ―Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Oil and Honey"Glassley exhibits an uncanny ability to put us in the midst of Greenland's vast silen... read more

"Very few people have spent as much time as William E. Glassley in such deep wilderness. So it would behoove us to pay attention even if he had not brought back such a fascinating, lovely, and useful set of observations. This is a remarkable book." ―Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Oil and Honey"Glassley exhibits an uncanny ability to put us in the midst of Greenland's vast silen... read more

Dancing with Elephants: Mindfulness Training For Those Living With Dementia, Chronic Illness or an Aging Brain (How to Die Smiling Book 1)

Jarem Sawatsky

Praise for Dancing with Elephants:"If you need some encouragement in living with joy, read this book. It will change your perspective on everything." —Lana Philips "Sawatsky beautifully models a way to dance in the gale of full catastrophe, to celebrate life, to laugh with it and at himself." —Jon Kabat-Zinn, national bestselling author of Full Catastrophe Living"...beautiful and inspiring boo... read more

Praise for Dancing with Elephants:"If you need some encouragement in living with joy, read this book. It will change your perspective on everything." —Lana Philips "Sawatsky beautifully models a way to dance in the gale of full catastrophe, to celebrate life, to laugh with it and at himself." —Jon Kabat-Zinn, national bestselling author of Full Catastrophe Living"...beautiful and inspiring boo... read more

This Particular Happiness: A Childless Love Story

Hollis, Jackie Shannon, Day, Jody

The Daily Miracle- A Memoir of Newspapering

C. Fraser Smith, C. Fraser Smith

Hiro's War

Taniguchi, Rebecca

Come As You Are: A Novel

Haupt, Jennifer

Nest. Flight. Sky.: On love and loss, one wing at a time

Beth Kephart

In Nest. Flight. Sky: On Love and Loss, One Wing at a Time, award-winning memoirist Beth Kephart returns to the form for the first time in years to reckon with the loss of her mother and a slow-growing but soon inescapable obsession with birds and flight. Kephart finds herself drawn to the startle of the winter finch, the quick pulse of hummingbirds, and the hungry circling of hawks. She disco... read more

In Nest. Flight. Sky: On Love and Loss, One Wing at a Time, award-winning memoirist Beth Kephart returns to the form for the first time in years to reckon with the loss of her mother and a slow-growing but soon inescapable obsession with birds and flight. Kephart finds herself drawn to the startle of the winter finch, the quick pulse of hummingbirds, and the hungry circling of hawks. She disco... read more

On the Whole: A story of mothering and disability

Ona Gritz

Ona Gritz has had cerebral palsy all her life, but until she gave birth to her son, she didn’t really understand what it meant to be disabled. Her cerebral palsy affects her coordination and balance but not enough to have ever truly hindered her. “For the most part, I considered my disability a cosmetic issue,” she tells us in On the Whole. “Just how obvious is it? Do people see me as pretty d... read more

Ona Gritz has had cerebral palsy all her life, but until she gave birth to her son, she didn’t really understand what it meant to be disabled. Her cerebral palsy affects her coordination and balance but not enough to have ever truly hindered her. “For the most part, I considered my disability a cosmetic issue,” she tells us in On the Whole. “Just how obvious is it? Do people see me as pretty d... read more

The End of the World as We Know It: Essays about motherhood

Marion Winik

Winner of Child magazine’s Book of the Year award for her hilarious and candid book on single motherhood, The Lunch-Box Chronicles, Marion Winik returns to the topic of parenting in these nine essays. Beginning with the story of her second wedding and her move to rural Pennsylvania, she covers everything from blending families and having a child in one’s 40s to dealing with the legal problems ... read more

Winner of Child magazine’s Book of the Year award for her hilarious and candid book on single motherhood, The Lunch-Box Chronicles, Marion Winik returns to the topic of parenting in these nine essays. Beginning with the story of her second wedding and her move to rural Pennsylvania, she covers everything from blending families and having a child in one’s 40s to dealing with the legal problems ... read more

Guesswork: Essays on forgetting and remembering who we are

Marion Winik

Funny, thought-provoking, and always entertaining, personal essayist Marion Winik is known for decades of storytelling on NPR and the stunning memoir First Comes Love. Memory and identity are the focus of this new collection, Guesswork, drawn from a column that has won “Best of Baltimore” from Baltimore magazine several years running. “The Things They Googled” looks at how search engines have ... read more

Funny, thought-provoking, and always entertaining, personal essayist Marion Winik is known for decades of storytelling on NPR and the stunning memoir First Comes Love. Memory and identity are the focus of this new collection, Guesswork, drawn from a column that has won “Best of Baltimore” from Baltimore magazine several years running. “The Things They Googled” looks at how search engines have ... read more

Model Behavior: Friends for life

Susannah Bianchi

Camille, Rosanna, and Joanne are three former models who’ve been the best of friends since their runway days. They may have gained a little cellulite, but they’ve also packed on a whole lot of wit and savvy. Their Sex and the City–like escapades in Manhattan’s high-end hotel bars, their heartbreaks and delicious revenge schemes, and their spot-on observations about everything from nips and tuc... read more

Camille, Rosanna, and Joanne are three former models who’ve been the best of friends since their runway days. They may have gained a little cellulite, but they’ve also packed on a whole lot of wit and savvy. Their Sex and the City–like escapades in Manhattan’s high-end hotel bars, their heartbreaks and delicious revenge schemes, and their spot-on observations about everything from nips and tuc... read more

Devil Doll: A friendship gone awry

Bonnie Friedman

Two young Americans meet en route to studying in Spain and forge an unusually close friendship. Once back in the United States, one of the women, who is married, invites the younger to come live with her and her husband. Over time a ménage à trois develops. But that isn’t what causes the ultimate rift in the friendship. Something deeper and more insidious had been at work from the very beginni... read more

Two young Americans meet en route to studying in Spain and forge an unusually close friendship. Once back in the United States, one of the women, who is married, invites the younger to come live with her and her husband. Over time a ménage à trois develops. But that isn’t what causes the ultimate rift in the friendship. Something deeper and more insidious had been at work from the very beginni... read more

Loreena's Gift

Colleen M. Story

** WINNER: 1st Place Idaho Author Awards (2016 Fiction) ** ** SOLO MEDALIST: New Apple Book Awards (2016 Cross Genre)**** WINNER: Foreword Indies Book Awards (Silver, 2016 Fantasy) **** HONORABLE MENTION: Reader Views Literary Awards (2016 General Fiction)** FINALIST: Best Book Awards (2016 New Age) ** A BLIND GIRL'S TERRIFYING "GIFT" ALLOWS HER TO REGAIN HER EYESIGHT--BUTONLY AS SHE FERRIES T... read more

** WINNER: 1st Place Idaho Author Awards (2016 Fiction) ** ** SOLO MEDALIST: New Apple Book Awards (2016 Cross Genre)**** WINNER: Foreword Indies Book Awards (Silver, 2016 Fantasy) **** HONORABLE MENTION: Reader Views Literary Awards (2016 General Fiction)** FINALIST: Best Book Awards (2016 New Age) ** A BLIND GIRL'S TERRIFYING "GIFT" ALLOWS HER TO REGAIN HER EYESIGHT--BUTONLY AS SHE FERRIES T... read more

Origins of the Universe and What It All Means: A Memoir

Carole Firstman

In her debut memoir, Carole Firstman traces her strained relationship with her eccentric and distant father, a gifted biology professor whose research on scorpions may have contributed to the evolutionary theories of Stephen Jay Gould. Through unexpected forms—from footnotes and diagrams to startling love letters and Saturday morning cartoons—Firstman struggles to reconnect with her estranged ... read more

In her debut memoir, Carole Firstman traces her strained relationship with her eccentric and distant father, a gifted biology professor whose research on scorpions may have contributed to the evolutionary theories of Stephen Jay Gould. Through unexpected forms—from footnotes and diagrams to startling love letters and Saturday morning cartoons—Firstman struggles to reconnect with her estranged ... read more

Tuscan Son

Berne, Robert

Hamlet's Mirror

Kanefield, Elma Linz, Conjeaud, Dianne

As Time Goes By

Adams, W Royce

Cry Sanctuary

Kulikowski, Carole

Dawn has 11 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Julie Liptow
Dawn is good ally to have for a creative endeavor. Invaluable. I look forward to working with her again.

Julie Liptow, September 2022

Dawn Raffel
Thank you, Julie! It was a pleasure to work with you.

Reply from Dawn Raffel


Timothy Maynard
Dawn provides succinct and valuable feedback. She is straightforward, curious, and useful. I will continue to use her expert advice. Highly recommended editor.

Timothy Maynard, August 2022

Dawn Raffel
Thank you! It's a pleasure to work with you.

Reply from Dawn Raffel


Scott DoVale
From our very first contact, Dawn guided our collaboration with a professional, experienced, and gracious voice. Her work as a developmental editor offered me detailed comments throughout my manuscript and insightful, open-ended suggestions leaving me with constructive, positive ideas to help me solidify the shaping of my book. I valued her emails, conversations and critiques, giving me more...
Read more

Scott DoVale, August 2022

Dawn Raffel
Thank you! It was a pleasure to work with you.

Reply from Dawn Raffel


Heather Amato
Dawn has been an incredible editor. She has helped my manuscript read more fluidly and concise. Her questions about certain areas were thought provoking and pushed me to write more deeply. Her encouragement was very supportive and appreciated.

Heather Amato, February 2022

Dawn Raffel
Thank you!

Reply from Dawn Raffel


Heather Amato
Dawn was a wonderful editor who helped me better evolve my story into something about which I am proud. Thank you.

Heather Amato, November 2021

Dawn Raffel
Thank you!

Reply from Dawn Raffel

Read more reviews

Explore the Reedsy Community

Reedsy is a community of top publishing professionals. Join Reedsy today to browse 1000+ profiles.

Nicola Homer

Book editor and proofreader with experience in non-fiction: arts and culture, current affairs, travel guides and general history.

United Kingdom

Stephanie Carbajal

Thoughtful, detail-oriented editor with more than 10 years of experience in the publishing industry, specializing in nonfiction.

Bellingham, WA, USA

To view 1,000+ more profiles, Join Reedsy