Elizabeth Zack

Elizabeth Zack – Editor

Former Senior Editor at Ballantine Books; specializes in content editing of non-fiction (self-help, memoir, parenting) and fiction.


I learned from the best: two of the world's top-notch publishers, Ballantine Books/Random House, Inc. and John Wiley & Sons/Wiley Publishing. At both companies I served as a Senior Developmental and Acquisitions Editor. Today, I continue to partner with writers (published and aspiring) to help them craft and develop their work. I'm thrilled that I've had some great responses to my editing, including these raves:

"Absolutely the best!" - Joan Mathews-Larson, author of the national bestseller Depression-Free, Naturally
"An awesome editor." - New York Times-bestselling author Joan Wester Anderson
"I was continually amazed at each and every page you touched." - Douglas L. Hoover, author, The Dirt Bike Detective
"A fantastic editor who has the incredible ability to amplify the author's voice, making the ideas more clear and powerful." - Glenda Storm, writer
"Her work is professional and smart. She has a canny ability to bring life to a manuscript, while maintaining the integrity of the work." - Beth Grosshans and Janet Burton, authors, Beyond Time-Out

Since I previously worked at publishers offering extremely packed production schedules, I've had the opportunity to develop literally hundreds of titles. So I can easily write that I specialize in both
non-fiction (memoir, parenting, self-help, wellness, inspiration, spirituality, and so on) and fiction (including women's fiction, YA, romance, and thrillers.).

As your content editor, I will take a unique and individualized approach to your manuscript; in other words, I'll give it what it needs. That may mean rewriting and revising some of your words and passages, as well as offering suggestions and comments about the writing based on what I've learned in this the industry over the past thirty years. The editing will be directly worded, accessible, and very specific.

With non-fiction works, I am apt to focus on the: structure (both of the book and the individual chapters); voice (authoritative or not? personal, direct, and accessible, or not?); commercial appeal; viability (have you effectively proven/laid out your point?); pace; style; transitions and chapter closes; and so forth.

With fiction works, I am likely to focus on: pace; description (lacking, just right, or overwritten?); sentence structure (run-ons, or staccato?); character development/emotional motivation/believability; level of suspense/drama; scene changes and chapter closes; and so forth.

I am quite happy to work with writers at any stage of their career - and I have. I am proud to count new and aspiring writers, published authors, authors of local, regional, and/or national bestsellers, authors whose work have received great publicity and review attention, indie authors, and authors at 'big' publishers among my clientele.
Biographies & Memoirs Health & Wellbeing Parenting & Families Religion & Spirituality Self-Help & Self-Improvement Sex & Relationships
Romance Women's Fiction
English (US)

Work experience


Jan, 2003 — Present

Tired of a two-hour commute to NYC (once it took seven hours; black ice was to blame!), I finally decided that a home office was for me, and for the past fourteen years I've freelanced.

As a freelance editor I provide the same top service and offer the same kind of editorial advice I offered as a Senior Editor at two top publishers. That means my clients receive: manuscript collaboration, content editing, editorial assessments, and/or consultation. My clientele consists of aspiring writers and published authors, literary agents, and publishers .

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Aug, 2000 — Aug, 2002 (about 2 years)

Recruited by John Wiley Inc. to be a Senior Editor in their trade paperback and hardcover list, Elizabeth conceptualized, acquired, and developed titles focused on health and wellness, self-help, and parenting.

The Ballantine Publishing Group/Division of Random House, Inc.

Jun, 1987 — Aug, 2000 (about 13 years)

Joining the Hardcovers and Trade Paperbacks department right out of college, Elizabeth started as an Editorial Assistant to three busy NYC-based editors.

A mere seven months after Elizabeth joined the company, the V.P. and Editor-in-Chief snatched her away when she lost her own assistant (truly! just ask my three editors...).

In her new role Elizabeth worked as the Editor-in-Chief's Executive Assistant, as well as Coordinator for the Trade Department.

A series of promotions ensued - Assistant Editor; Associate Editor; Editor, and Senior Editor - meaning that Elizabeth was fortunate to happily acquire, develop, and edit titles in all kinds of subjects areas (both fiction and nonfiction) at Ballantine Books for a period of thirteen years.


Get an Insider Glimpse into What Life is Really Like Among Hollywood's Bright Lights and Big Stars As a young woman struggling to make ends meet in L.A., photographer Jennifer Buhl never dreamed that a chance encounter with the paparazzi would lead her to chas... read more
A child caught in the horror of alcohol and drug addition. A mother helplessly standing by unable to save her. The Lost Years is the real life story of just such a mother and child, each giving their first-hand accounts of the years lost to addiction and despa... read more
An empty mind is a safe mind. Yulia's father always taught her to hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive the harsh realities of Soviet Russia. But when she's captured by the KGB and forced to work as a psychic spy with a mission to undermine the... read more
When Mary Magdelene is born into a Jewish family in a small town on the western bank of the Sea of Galilee, no one has any idea of the impact she will have on biblical history for thousands of years to come. As she grows up learning to have a reverence for God... read more
Eight essential keys to resolving conflict and rebuilding your life. This unique and empowering guide gives divorcing couples the skills to manage their divorce successfully, handle the legal and emotional issues harmoniously, and redefine and preserve the pos... read more
At last, step-by-step guidance and concrete exercises that tailor the Feel the Fear program to the demands of your busy life!With her phenomenal bestseller Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, renowned author Susan Jeffers has helped millions of people overcome the... read more
In this wonderfully illustrated "chapter book" readers young and older will enjoy the adventures of Gabriel Peters. We meet him at the end of his fourth grade year, when he confronts his toughest bullies, Ronnie, on the playground and Carl, his brother, in the... read more
The control-freak, the narcissist, the slacker, the cynic... Difficult people are the worst part of a manager’s job.Whether it comes from direct reports or people above, outbursts, irrational demands, griping, and other disruptions need to be dealt with—and it... read more
The Braided Locket

Michael Livolsi

John Adler’s life was orderly and predictable until the day he stumbled upon something that would strangely impact him forever. The normal and serene life John had been living was suddenly vague and complicated. It became increasingly difficult for him to diff... read more
Getting Older, Being Here guides you, personally or as a caregiver, through the challenges of the later years of life. You learn how to add grace and compassion to this journey by reducing stressful thoughts and actions. It is filled with vital information and... read more
On the eve of Robin’s 30th birthday, her life spins out of control: Her sister is suicidal, her husband may be cheating, and a promotion doesn’t go as planned. Robin is desperate for a break, and the chance to pull herself—and her life—back together. Robin dec... read more
From the New York Times best-selling author of Where Angels Walk Now, for the first time in paperback, The Power of Miracles brings together Joan Wester Anderson’s most glorious and remarkable accounts of unexpected healings, celestial visions, mysterious resc... read more
A practical guide to building your child’s bond with family and fostering school success amid the allure of digital screensKids’ obsessive use of video games, social media, and texting is eclipsing their connections with family and school—the two most importan... read more
Many of you who appear to have life under control are simply great actors. Underneath you live with inner tensions, anxiety or panic states, feelings of hopelessness or paranoia, racing thoughts, ongoing anger, bone-weary fatigue. . . . The good news is that a... read more
"A riveting read, this novel will ensnare readers in the first chapter and not let up." --Kirkus Reviews"Inna Swinton is the Gary Shteyngart of chic-lit, capturing the contemporary Russian-Jewish immigrant experience with a light touch and a sharp eye." -- Sal... read more
The covers of such magazines as Time and Newsweek have described parents as living in “mayhem” and “madness” with their children. TV’s Supernanny regularly captures kids wildly, unbelievably out of control. How did our families get to such a state? Child psych... read more

Elizabeth has 32 reviews





Joel I.

Joel I.

Jan, 2024

I've partnered with a number of writing "professionals" on my first book manuscript. Thankfully I found Elizabeth - a true professional developmental editor that I recommend with no reservation. Prompt, professional, and tactfully honest with feedback, Elizabeth has been amazing to work with on developing a cohesive manuscript draft of my book. Highly recommend!


Mar, 2023

This was a first, "sample" job; and the most efficient way I can express my satisfaction is that I have signed up for the next, much bigger, phase. I'm excited and very happy! H. W. Streiffer
Terri T.

Terri T.

Dec, 2022

Elizabeth has wonderful credentials; however, I was saddened that is project was not one that was collaborative. Due to this lack of communication and collaboration, the Editor did not stay true to my voice and tone but instead went forward to insert her voice which was far different than my original vision and intention. Had we been able to collaborate I have no doubt that Elizabeth had the sk...
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Kathryn Betts A.

Kathryn Betts A.

Nov, 2022

Elizabeth was very conscientious in doing a thorough job with my 87,000 word memoir manuscript, and easy to work with. She got the work done a couple of days earlier than we'd agreed. Her overall comments were kind and heartening. Many of her changes to improve the pacing and readability of my writing were spot on and very helpful. That said, I also felt she chose to delete several parts of th...
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colleen B.

colleen B.

Jul, 2022

Elizabeth and I have worked together on a project in phases over the past year. As usual, she was great to work with. Very knowledgeable, good insights that helped me see what I was missing. She does what she commits to, and does it very well.

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