Des Hewson

Des Hewson - Editor

Portland, OR, USA

Copyeditor and developmental editor with an MA in book publishing. Specializes in lit fic, SFF/horror, LGBTQ, and creative nonfiction.

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**Currently accepting Copyedits and Proofreads only**

I am an editor and literary consultant with a Master of Arts in Writing & Book Publishing and a decade of industry experience both freelance and in-house. I am based in Portland, OR, where I've most recently served as a developmental editor for Overcup Press and acquisitions editor for Ooligan Press. I teach book editing and copyediting to graduate students in Portland State University's publishing master's program. I offer services in developmental editing, copyediting, proofreading, query review, and proposal development. I complete freelance and contract work for both publishers and writers.

I consider editing to be an endeavor of empathy and collaboration as much as of analytical and stylistic dexterity. I aim to thoroughly understand author and publisher goals before embarking on edits and to incorporate a well-researched understanding of audience, genre conventions, and market trends into my process to give a book the strongest chance possible at success on the shelf. I consider myself a kind of advocate and mediator between author and reader—it's my job to help writers communicate effectively with their intended audience, and to provide guidance and support during the strenuous process of revision. I want to help authors achieve what they envision their book achieving, both in the internal space of the reader's experience and in the world.

I have a strong background in copyediting and line editing, and I am fluent in the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style (the style guide preferred by trade publishers). As a developmental editor, I'll kindly tell it to you straight and provide actionable solutions and generative exercises. I particularly love refining structure and digging deep into character development and worldbuilding, so if you find you struggle with those aspects of your storytelling, I might be the editor for you. Whether you're looking to tighten up your narrative or polish your prose, together we can make your book the best possible version of itself it can be.

In my personal life, I am an avid reader of weird fiction, speculative fiction, and horror. I get excited about anything that brings to the table a distinctive narrative voice, deeply engaging atmosphere, and beautiful, deliberately crafted sentences. I love the work of authors like China Mieville, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Kathe Koja.

While the bulk of my portfolio comprises nonfiction and literary fiction, I am currently welcoming new genre fiction projects. I’d love to hear from authors looking for editorial assistance in speculative genres, especially women and queer authors writing horror.

What I don't do:
Writing coaching
Children's picture books
Graphic novels and comics
New Age material
Erotic romance
Books containing graphic sexual violence

Guidelines for Authors

When querying, please review the differences between types of edits and what they entail before selecting a service. Each type of editing involves a different specialized set of skills as well as different timelines and rates. While it may be possible sometimes for some services, such as copyediting and query review, to occur simultaneously for a negotiated rate, a developmental edit or substantive line edit cannot be completed alongside copyediting or proofreading. This is because DE requires significant rewriting and revision, rendering much of the copyedits moot. I consider it unethical to waste an author's time and resources this way and will usually decline to complete more than one kind of editing in a round.

You can review information about editorial services on Reedsy's FAQ . I've included information about the two most common types of editing I complete below. Please note that while copyediting involves ensuring adherence to a style guide such as CMoS and thus is completed the same way no matter the editor, different editors may have very different approaches to DE.

Developmental Editing

Also sometimes called a content edit, a developmental edit provides comprehensive feedback and guidance on the big picture: your manuscript’s structure, style, character development, and plot. The edit will highlight strengths, pinpoint weak areas, address potential sensitivity or authenticity concerns, and offer actionable possible solutions to problems your reader may encounter with the text. My approach to DE is holistic and does not involve line editing at the sentence level or direct queries in the text, though recurrent global concerns may be addressed in the completed DE report. A round of DE typically takes a minimum of three months, depending on genre and word count.

When querying for DE, please include a sample of at least two chapters. Full manuscripts are welcome, as are proposals or synopses if you have them.


A copyedit’s purpose is to help you communicate clearly and consistently with your intended audience on a mechanical level. I edit the text directly using Track Changes in Word to ensure that written materials conform to preferred style guidelines and are free of errors in grammar, usage, and diction as well as internal inconsistencies and organizational problems. Fact checking can also be provided during copyediting for a higher rate.

Turnaround time for a copyedit varies depending on the type and length of the manuscript as well as the level of editing that it needs. I am fluent in CMoS and AP style, and I perform copyedits on both short work and book-length manuscripts. Copyediting does not involve feedback on content unless it is directly related to style or mechanics, or unless an aspect of content interferes with the reader’s ability to understand or connect with the text.

When querying for copyediting, please attach the chapter of your manuscript you believe needs the most work, not the one you've polished most. This will help me best gauge the appropriate timeline and rate for your project and get back to you with the most accurate quote. If your manuscript will require fact checking, please include this information in your query.

English (US)
Biographies & Memoirs
LGBTQ Non-Fiction
Writing & Publishing
LGBTQ Fiction
Literary Fiction
Science Fiction

Work experience

Developmental Editor

Overcup Press
June, 2021 – Present (8 months)


Clyde Custom Publishing
October, 2020 – Present (over 1 year)

Acquisitions Manager

Ooligan Press
June, 2019 – June, 2020 (about 1 year)

Curation of publisher's frontlist
Developmental editing on new titles
Proposal and manuscript evaluation
Management of editorial and research teams
Comp, market, and audience research
Sales pitch development and presentation
Successful acquisition of every book pitched during tenure


Ooligan Press
June, 2017 – June, 2020 (about 3 years)

Copyediting of manuscripts and blog posts
Proofreading of typeset books and ebooks
XML coding in preparation for typesetting
Cover design and interior layout/typesetting

Ebooks Manager

Light Technology Publishing
May, 2014 – January, 2017 (over 2 years)

Epub proofreading across devices
Custom ebook production and conversion
Digital distributor input and upload
Metadata management for ebooks and print


Sedona Journal of Emergence
September, 2013 – October, 2015 (about 2 years)

Copyediting of magazine articles
Proofreading of typeset articles using InCopy
Management of editorial email/submissions
Organization of and updates to production schedule


Siren Publishing
April, 2012 – July, 2013 (about 1 year)

Developmental and line editing
Copyediting of revised manuscripts
Content evaluation for imprint conformity
Web graphic, print ad, and cover design


Niche Literary Magazine
August, 2011 – Present (over 10 years)

Curation of poetry and visual art selections
Copyediting of accepted pieces
Proofreading of typeset magazine
Interviews with contributors for website blog

The Step Back

Bushnell, J.T.


Nick Jaina

Faultland: A Novel

Vitello, Suzy

Laurel Everywhere

Moynihan, Erin

The Gifts We Keep

Grindeland, Katie


Tompkins, Matt

Sleeping in My Jeans

Leonard, Connie King

Des has 2 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Kenneth Griggs
This edit was exactly what I was hoping for. Des provided everything needed to help vastly improve my MS. I highly recommend her services.

Kenneth Griggs, July 2021

Cynthia Tremblay
Very helpful and knowledgeable

Cynthia Tremblay, December 2020

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