Grace Barnes

Grace Barnes - Editor

Washington, DC

Experienced editor and copy editor with a keen understanding of the contemporary publishing landscape and an ear for language.

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I'm a book editor and copy editor who works with publishers, agents, and other literary firms on project-based work, in addition to serving individual clients ranging from first-time memoirists to Pulitzer-winning journalists. On a regular basis, I provide book doctoring and developmental editing services to individual clients and clients that come to me by way of a top-tier literary consultancy, develop editorial content for a boutique literary PR firm that contracts with the Big Five and a handful of prestigious indies, copy edit manuscripts for a variety of publishers, and workshop book proposals for agents as well as my own clients.

I've held full-time roles in National Geographic's book division, at Politico (where I was a copy editor), and at a historic regional publisher. As an independent editor, I've worked across genres and on projects in all stages of the editorial process. I have a sophisticated understanding of the contemporary publishing landscape and the qualities that attract agents, in-house editors, and readers.

I particularly enjoy working on engaging nonfiction, literary fiction, and memoir. I'm a thoughtful, scrupulous editor who seeks to make the writing and publishing processes less daunting by offering clear, valuable, and carefully considered feedback and edits. I strive to make authors feel supported, and my goal is always to enhance a writer's voice, not to inject my own. Whether I'm working with a writer to troubleshoot a plot issue in a novel or to determine the best way to incorporate research into a political nonfiction project, I'm deeply invested in the subject. Authors who work with me can expect me to take their work as seriously as they do.

English (US)
Biographies & Memoirs
Political Science & Current Affairs
Coming of Age
Cultural & Ethnic
Literary Fiction
New Adult
Short Story
Themes & Motifs


  • Certificate in Editing (Poynter and ACES)

Work experience

Copy Editor

March, 2018 – February, 2019 (11 months)


September, 2017 – Present (about 3 years)

Ongoing/recurring work includes:
-Developmental editing and book doctoring for individual clients and clients of Cornerstones, a premier literary consultancy, on partial and full-length manuscripts, providing creative guidance, structural and organizational feedback, editorial redline, and one-on-one consultations, depending on the project. Editing and doctoring services for individual clients and a top literary agent on book proposals
-Copy editing for a variety of clients, primarily on books and book-length projects
-Editorial work, copy editing, digital production, and general support for a boutique literary PR firm

Editorial Assistant

National Geographic Books
September, 2016 – October, 2017 (about 1 year)

Education Manager

Pelican Publishing
June, 2015 – June, 2016 (about 1 year)

Portfolio (10 selected works)

A Man

Hirano, Keiichiro, Eli K.P. William

The Roxy Letters: A Novel

Lowry, Mary Pauline

Five Oceans in a Teaspoon

Dennis J Bernstein, Warren Lehrer

A Decent Family: A Novel

Ventrella, Rosa, Goldstein, Ann

The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival

Sabic-El-Rayess, Amra, Sullivan, Laura L.

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