Jacoba Lawson

Jacoba Lawson - Editor

Portland, OR, USA

Specialist in nonfiction of all kinds and outdoorsy fiction. Bring me your natural histories, your kayak treatises, your adventures stories.

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Overview

I believe mutual respect and trust are the keys to successful collaboration, whether I'm helping writers develop their ideas or giving a completed manuscript the final polish that really makes it sparkle.

Are you an expert in your field with knowledge to share but limited experience writing for a general audience? I specialize in ensuring readers connect with your work. I've helped radio hosts capture their voices on the page, herpetologists write warmly about their cold-blooded subjects, and trial lawyers communicate in plain English.

I also delight in working with fiction writers to create the same grounded sense of sure-handed expertise expected from nonfiction, but in service of amazing stories. My first career was in television writing and film production, and I never tire of applying the principles of narrative, structure, and character it taught me to a medium free from budgets, casting, and other production constraints. The thing that has always been most important to me is working with writers to get their stories told, and told well.

And now, a word from some past clients regarding what it’s like to work with me:

"Jacoba has a fine sense of how to make me better, challenge me when I need it but don’t want to admit it, and make creative suggestions that I would never have considered. Real test is would I ask for her in the future? She would be my first choice." Roger Dodd, The Art of Cross-Examination

"I always know I am in good hands with Jacoba. She is both careful in her attention and highly articulate as an editor of complex writing projects. She thinks about books at all levels: as a reader, a writer, and an editor. If you are prone to working in a guarded way with editors and publishers, you will be delighted to find in Jacoba a compassionate advocate, a discerning guide, and an inspiring collaborator." Brian K. Friesen, At the Waterline
Languages
English (US)
Fiction
Contemporary Fiction
Non-Fiction
Earth, Space, & Environmental Sciences
History
Home & Garden
Law
Nature
Travel

Work experience

Project Editor

Timber Press
October, 2017 – Present (over 4 years)

Timber Press is world-renowned as a gardening publisher, but we also publish books on subjects ranging from natural history to hiking guides to homeopathic remedies. My projects have included photo-heavy how-to and guide books like Wild LA and Fat Girls Hiking as well as more literary and narrative works like Writing Wild and A History of the Human Brain.

Editor

Trial Guides
April, 2016 – September, 2017 (over 1 year)

Trial Guides specializes in books that help plaintiffs' lawyers hone their craft and win at trial. Throughout my time there, I found myself in awe of our authors' knowledge and experience and honored to help them communicate it to their peers.

Project Manager

Ooligan Press
September, 2015 – June, 2017 (over 1 year)

Ooligan Press is dedicated to publishing authors and stories from the Pacific Northwest.

Portfolio (16 selected works)

Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World

Kathryn Aalto

In Writing Wild, Kathryn Aalto celebrates 25 women, both historical and current, whose influential writing helps deepen our connection to and understanding of the natural world. These inspiring wordsmiths are scholars, spiritual seekers, conservationists, scientists, novelists, and explorers. They defy easy categorization, yet they all share a bold authenticity that makes their work both disti... read more

In Writing Wild, Kathryn Aalto celebrates 25 women, both historical and current, whose influential writing helps deepen our connection to and understanding of the natural world. These inspiring wordsmiths are scholars, spiritual seekers, conservationists, scientists, novelists, and explorers. They defy easy categorization, yet they all share a bold authenticity that makes their work both disti... read more

Ricochet River: 25th Anniversary Edition

Robin Cody

It’s 1960. In a small logging town called Calamus that’s about as far in the middle of nowhere as you can get, Wade Curren, star of the high school baseball and football teams, is content living out his role of local hero, holding court in the corner booth of the town diner where his girlfriend Lorna waits tables. Lorna, working to support her family, is plotting her escape from their small to... read more

It’s 1960. In a small logging town called Calamus that’s about as far in the middle of nowhere as you can get, Wade Curren, star of the high school baseball and football teams, is content living out his role of local hero, holding court in the corner booth of the town diner where his girlfriend Lorna waits tables. Lorna, working to support her family, is plotting her escape from their small to... read more

50 Hikes with Kids California

Wendy Gorton

A Love of Nature Starts Here! California kids live in a magnificent natural playground, and 50 Hikes with Kids California helps them explore its beaches, deserts, mountains, and forests. Scavenger hunts for every hike make it fun for families to learn about the region’s geology, flora, and fauna. For successful adventures with even the youngest trekkers, award-winning author Wendy Gorton inclu... read more

A Love of Nature Starts Here! California kids live in a magnificent natural playground, and 50 Hikes with Kids California helps them explore its beaches, deserts, mountains, and forests. Scavenger hunts for every hike make it fun for families to learn about the region’s geology, flora, and fauna. For successful adventures with even the youngest trekkers, award-winning author Wendy Gorton inclu... read more

The Lifelong Gardener: Garden with Ease and Joy at Any Age

Toni Gattone

“The secret to making the most of later life is to keep doing what you love. With practical advice and gentle inspiration, Gattone shows us how gardening can work for people of any age.” —Carl Honoré, author of In Praise of Slowness You can keep gardening for life, you just need to make adjustment as you age. In The Lifelong Gardener, adaptive gardening expert Toni Gattone shares her proven me... read more

“The secret to making the most of later life is to keep doing what you love. With practical advice and gentle inspiration, Gattone shows us how gardening can work for people of any age.” —Carl Honoré, author of In Praise of Slowness You can keep gardening for life, you just need to make adjustment as you age. In The Lifelong Gardener, adaptive gardening expert Toni Gattone shares her proven me... read more

The Earth in Her Hands: 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants

Jennifer Jewell

“An informative and celebratory resource.” —Booklist In this beautiful and empowering book, Jennifer Jewell—host of public radio’s award-winning program and podcast Cultivating Place—introduces 75 inspiring women. Working in wide-reaching fields that include botany, floral design, landscape architecture, farming, herbalism, and food justice, these influencers are creating change from the groun... read more

“An informative and celebratory resource.” —Booklist In this beautiful and empowering book, Jennifer Jewell—host of public radio’s award-winning program and podcast Cultivating Place—introduces 75 inspiring women. Working in wide-reaching fields that include botany, floral design, landscape architecture, farming, herbalism, and food justice, these influencers are creating change from the groun... read more

The Lawsuit Guide

Ned Good, Greg Munro

While there are a handful of books written for people facing a lawsuit, none are as heavily endorsed by some of the best trial lawyers in America as The Lawsuit Guide. The advice it gives comes from lawyers who have prepared and brought numerous cases to trial and obtained large outcomes for their clients. This book offers the same advice that some of the top trial lawyers give to their client... read more

While there are a handful of books written for people facing a lawsuit, none are as heavily endorsed by some of the best trial lawyers in America as The Lawsuit Guide. The advice it gives comes from lawyers who have prepared and brought numerous cases to trial and obtained large outcomes for their clients. This book offers the same advice that some of the top trial lawyers give to their client... read more

Master Recipes from the Herbal Apothecary: 375 Tinctures, Salves, Teas, Capsules, Oils, and Washes for Whole-Body Health and Wellness

JJ Pursell

“This incredible, in-depth, and easy-to-access resource is a must for all of us who wish to learn more about healing ourselves through the plant world.” —Shiva Rose, actress, activist, and founder of The Local Rose JJ Pursell, the bestselling author of The Herbal Apothecary, is back with a complete, one-stop resource for herbal remedies that heal and nurture the whole family. Master Recipes fr... read more

“This incredible, in-depth, and easy-to-access resource is a must for all of us who wish to learn more about healing ourselves through the plant world.” —Shiva Rose, actress, activist, and founder of The Local Rose JJ Pursell, the bestselling author of The Herbal Apothecary, is back with a complete, one-stop resource for herbal remedies that heal and nurture the whole family. Master Recipes fr... read more

At the Waterline

Brian K. Friesen

One windy night on the Willamette River, a young man with romantic notions of a sailing life crashes his boat into a railroad bridge, nearly killing his wife. Divorced, ashamed, and haunted by the tragedy, Chad tries to leave the river and its memories behind, only to be drawn back years later. At a ramshackle marina north of Portland, he lives and works among a motley assortment of houseboat ... read more

One windy night on the Willamette River, a young man with romantic notions of a sailing life crashes his boat into a railroad bridge, nearly killing his wife. Divorced, ashamed, and haunted by the tragedy, Chad tries to leave the river and its memories behind, only to be drawn back years later. At a ramshackle marina north of Portland, he lives and works among a motley assortment of houseboat ... read more

Ground Rules: 100 Easy Lessons for Growing a More Glorious Garden

Kate Frey

“This luscious, photo-filled guide will inspire you with one hundred easy-to-implement tips.” —Garden & Gun​ Gardening doesn’t have to be difficult, and expert gardener Kate Frey makes it easier than ever. Ground Rules distills the vital lessons of gardening into 100 simple rules that will yield a gorgeous, healthy, and thriving home garden. In the photo-rich pages you’ll discover tips on gard... read more

“This luscious, photo-filled guide will inspire you with one hundred easy-to-implement tips.” —Garden & Gun​ Gardening doesn’t have to be difficult, and expert gardener Kate Frey makes it easier than ever. Ground Rules distills the vital lessons of gardening into 100 simple rules that will yield a gorgeous, healthy, and thriving home garden. In the photo-rich pages you’ll discover tips on gard... read more

The Proven Winners Garden Book: Simple Plans, Picture-Perfect Plants, and Expert Advice for Creating a Gorgeous Garden

Ruth Rogers Clausen, Thomas Christopher

Garden with the confidence of a winner! Proven Winners is America’s #1 plant brand. And now they are sharing their expert plant knowledge and creative design ideas in their first book, The Proven Winners Garden Book. This definitive guide starts with lessons on how to prepare a space, tips on choosing the right design, and a primer on buying the right plants. Twelve garden plans provide simple... read more

Garden with the confidence of a winner! Proven Winners is America’s #1 plant brand. And now they are sharing their expert plant knowledge and creative design ideas in their first book, The Proven Winners Garden Book. This definitive guide starts with lessons on how to prepare a space, tips on choosing the right design, and a primer on buying the right plants. Twelve garden plans provide simple... read more

Premises Liability

Michael Neff

Premises Liability

Premises Liability

Wild LA: Explore the Amazing Nature in and Around Los Angeles

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Lila M. Higgins, Gregory B. Pauly

“Put on your hiking shoes, pack your binoculars, and rediscover the City of Angels.” —Westways Magazine Los Angeles may have a reputation as a concrete jungle, but in reality, it's full of amazing wildlife. You just need to know where to find it! Equal parts natural history, field guide, and trip planner, Wild LA has something for everyone. It looks at the factors that shape local nature—inclu... read more

“Put on your hiking shoes, pack your binoculars, and rediscover the City of Angels.” —Westways Magazine Los Angeles may have a reputation as a concrete jungle, but in reality, it's full of amazing wildlife. You just need to know where to find it! Equal parts natural history, field guide, and trip planner, Wild LA has something for everyone. It looks at the factors that shape local nature—inclu... read more

Jacoba has 4 reviews

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

Ron Hays
Jacoba has been excellent to work with.

Ron Hays, November 2021


Ron Hays
Jacoba is a true professional. Skillful, thorough, and articulate in her recommendations. She is a pleasure to work with.

Ron Hays, November 2021


Melody Mociulski
This is my first ever experience with making a book and collaborating with an editor. I am amazed at the insight, creativity, and thoughtful suggestions/edits provided by Jacoba. I felt like she transitioned my 'raw' material into a polished and engaging manuscript. Her communication style is open and engaging. I couldn't be happier with her strategic, yet detailed assistance.

Melody Mociulski, April 2021


Scott Smith
Jacoba Lawson did an outstanding job with the manuscript evaluation of my book. She gave the manuscript a thorough review and delivered a spot-on analysis of its strengths and weaknesses, which she communicated to me in a clear, upfront manner. Her pricing was very fair as well. I highly recommend Jacoba for editorial projects.

Scott Smith, January 2021

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