Jennifer Huston Schaeffer

Jennifer Huston Schaeffer – Editor

Editor with 21+ years of experience in biography, memoir, history, and fiction for adults and children at various publishing companies.

Overview

On my website, there’s a photo of four-year-old me with Farrah Fawcett bangs. I’m dressed in yellow footie pajamas and am seated in front of a baby blue typewriter. Looking back, it’s obvious that I was destined for a career as a writer and editor.


Fast-forward 40+ years. After more than 16 years working at various publishing companies, I left a senior editor position to go solo. These days, I’m much happier choosing projects that allow me to specialize in the genres I most enjoy: biographies, memoirs, historical fiction and nonfiction, narrative nonfiction, crime fiction, and true crime.


But I didn't start out with my dream job as a book editor. I had to cut my teeth as an editorial assistant and make my way up the ranks. Even before that, I worked at various jobs, including the college newspaper. Those jobs, along with my eclectic interests in history, sports, psychology, pop culture, music, and genealogy—just to name a few—have made me a better editor and shaped who I am today, personally and professionally.


I understand your concern that an editor might take away your voice and alter your manuscript until it’s completely unrecognizable to you. But that’s not my goal. I believe that the author/editor relationship is a collaborative one. I understand the hours you’ve spent writing your manuscript. I get that it’s your "baby" and an expression of your creative soul. My only goal is to improve the work you’ve already done. I can look at the text objectively, just like your readers will. And based on my 21+ years of experience, I can offer advice on how to fill in the “holes,” make the text flow better, enhance the word choice, and provide suggestions to improve clarity and readability.


No matter what type of editing you need from me, you can be assured that I will bring my A game to the table. I have edited nearly 300 books in my career and am proficient in the Chicago Manual of Style. I can promise you that I’ll give your manuscript the same attention to detail and high standards of quality that I give to each project I work on. We’re on the same team, and our goal is to make your book the very best it can be.


In 2019, I was named one of the top 17 book editors in Chicago. Check out my reviews and see what some satisfied clients have said about my work:


“Jen is an exceedingly hard worker, extremely professional, and nothing short of an editing genius.”

—Claire Josephine


“I was so impressed with Jen's work. Her edits were thorough, clear, and brilliant. She edited my full manuscript at a reasonable price and went above and beyond. I would highly recommend her to any writer, even those shaking in their boots like I once was!”

—Lisa Rimmert


"Jennifer did a phenomenal job assisting with character development, and her editing skills were exceptional. She finished her work quickly, and I could not have been more pleased with the final product.”

—James Pauley, Jr.

Services
Fiction
Action & Adventure Historical Fiction Historical Mysteries Thriller & Suspense
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs Children’s Non-Fiction History True Crime
Languages
English (US)

Work experience

Self-employed

Jun, 2018 — Present

I specialize in developmental editing, copy editing, and proofreading for fiction and nonfiction books for both adults and children. My preferred genres are (in no particular order): historical fiction, crime fiction, realistic fiction, biographies, memoirs, historical nonfiction, creative or narrative nonfiction (i.e., nonfiction that reads like fiction), and true crime.

Although I identify more as an editor than a writer, I have had the opportunity to write a handful of books during my career, including U2: Changing the World Through Rock ’n’ Roll; Latino Legends of Baseball; Kids Ask Who?; Kids Ask Why?; and selected stories from For the Love of the Chicago Cubs.

Capstone Publishers

Jan, 2013 — Jun, 2018 (over 5 years)

* Oversaw all editorial aspects for 10–30 fiction and nonfiction products per year for the K–8 library and classroom markets on topics such as history, math, social studies, current events, and pop culture
* Researched topics and hired quality authors, content consultants, and other experts to publish accurate, attractive, age-appropriate materials
* Led creative teams to make sure projects stayed on track and within budget
* Collaborated with designers and photo researchers on the layout and design of books
* Developmentally edited manuscripts to enhance readability, flow, structure, and organization
* Copy edited text to polish the words on the page and improve word choice, spelling, grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, and style inconsistencies
* Proofread final page proofs for colleagues’ books
* Wrote captions, back cover copy, and sales, marketing, and metadata copy
* Created indexes and style sheets
* Fact-checked data as needed
* Americanized foreign text
* Drafted additional text and rewrites as necessary
* Mentored junior editors, supervised their work, performed approval reads/peer reviews
* Worked closely with colleagues in the UK to produce quality materials for the U.S. and UK markets
* Collaborated with the Smithsonian Institute on several books, as well as outside packagers/developers

McGraw-Hill

Oct, 2005 — Jan, 2007 (over 1 year)

* Edited and proofread English and math textbooks and supplementary materials, ensuring compliance with state curriculum standards

Publications International, Ltd.

Oct, 2005 — Jan, 2013 (over 7 years)

* Managed nonfiction texts from conception to completion while routinely meeting tight deadlines
* Developmentally edited and copy edited manuscripts
* Fact-checked content as needed
* Wrote captions, back cover copy, and catalog copy
* Rewrote manuscripts as needed
* Created indexes
* Performed final proofreads for books edited by colleagues

Quarasan

Oct, 2004 — Feb, 2005 (4 months)

* Edited and proofread K–12 textbooks and supplementary materials, ensuring accuracy and
grade-level appropriateness
* Correlated products to state curriculum standards

Heinemann-Raintree

Apr, 2002 — Apr, 2004 (about 2 years)

* Collaborated with authors and experts to publish educational materials for children (PreK–Grade 8)
* Developmentally edited, copy edited, and proofread material
* Wrote captions and back cover copy
* Rewrote manuscripts as needed

Portfolio

Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Made with Reedsy
The Viewfinder: Michael's Story

Bowen, Michael J

Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Developmental Editing Copy Editing
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Developmental Editing Copy Editing
Developmental Editing Copy Editing
Developmental Editing Copy Editing
Developmental Editing Copy Editing
Developmental Editing Copy Editing
Developmental Editing Copy Editing
Suicide Pass

Donnelly III, John L

Developmental Editing Copy Editing
Made with Reedsy
Ticket Stub Stories: A Memoir of Live Music

Zona, Charles

Developmental Editing Copy Editing
Developmental Editing Copy Editing
Made with Reedsy
Screams of Late Spring: A Rebel Joe Story

Sanders, Dan

Developmental Editing Copy Editing
Made with Reedsy
Squeeze Play (The McKinney Chronicles)

Donnelly, John

Developmental Editing Copy Editing
Made with Reedsy
Presidential Spirits

Coonan, Dan

Developmental Editing Copy Editing
Made with Reedsy
Adventures of Loki

Ms. Susan M. Kenny

This a true story about a shy puppy born in Walnut, Illinois and learns to overcome of his shyness with the help of his owner by going on adventures throughout the city of Chicago and suburbs.... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Made with Reedsy
Jackrabbit

Crawford Smith

What really happened to John Dillinger? It's 1934, and America is in the middle of a crime wave. John Dillinger, a.k.a. the Jackrabbit, has become America's first celebrity criminal. The publi... read more
Copy Editing
Made with Reedsy
Not Just Kids: A Self-Help Guide for Kids by a Kid

Methlinie Dasanayake

Not Just Kids is an essential guide to show every kid and teen how much they can achieve when they discover their full potential. The strategies outlined in this book will help readers uncover... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing
Made with Reedsy
My lover is a freedom fighter

Rana Shubair

When love, suffering and the will to overcome occupation intermingle, when the call to duty and the desire to live and love are in a constant tug of war, the decisions become only harder to ma... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Powwows: A Fester Tale

Smith, Crawford

Developmental Editing Copy Editing
The Game

Williams, Eric C

Developmental Editing Copy Editing
Coffee for Satan

Johnston, J. Louise

Developmental Editing Copy Editing
Historian Theodore White called it "the most dangerous, terrifying, barbarous aerial transport run in the world … the skyway to Hell." Life Magazine called it “the most dangerous non-combat fl... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing
Have you ever wondered what makes an airplane fly through the air? These third grade classes explain the history of flight and the science behind it. After reading this book, you’ll understand... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Aiden and Olivia have always found the house next door a bit scary. But when their ball goes into the neighbour's back yard, their mother forces them to face their fears and ring the bell. Fin... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
365 Things to Do Before You Go to Heaven

Editors of Publications International Ltd.

Original retail: $7.98» Inspirational suggestions of items to add to your list of things to do before you die» Will encourage and inspire you to seize the day, live life to the fullest, and wo... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Pocket Prayers for Women: Simple Prayers of Love

Editors of Publications International Ltd.

God loves us completely, but we humans often need help loving God and others as we should. Simple Prayers of Love is a companion that will help us on our journey to emulating God's love in the... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Baby Boomers Acid Rock to Acid Reflux
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Amazing Festivals presents more than 200 of North America s longest running, most popular, and quirkiest festivals. The 320-page hardcover book uses colorful photography and informative text t... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Brain Games: Improve Your Memory

Editors of Publications International Ltd.

Original retail $9.98» Working puzzles is a fun and exciting way to give your brain a mental workout. And Brain Games: Improve Your Memory has a variety of puzzles to choose from to keep your ... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Explore the history and development of the telephone and find out how a telephone works. Learn about the inventors who helped influence the invention of the telephone.
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Take a crash course in middle school social studies, and see how geography, history, and government can be powerful tools in today’s world. Go global with geography at the grocery store. See h... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
From games and graphics to networks and virtual reality, computers are all around us. Today's computers can draw pictures, play games, send emails, and even land space probes on Mars. But that... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Paranormal and ghostly encounters
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Cassia and her family live in a tiny apartment in ancient Rome. Her parents are too poor to send her to school. Instead, Cassia and her brother spend their days working at a stinky laundry cle... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Imagine leaving your home and moving across the country to a new life on the unknown frontier. That’s exactly what members of the Donner Party were trying to do in the mid-1800s when they trav... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Take a crash course in middle school math, and see how decimals, fractions, and ratios can be powerful tools in today’s world. Grasp geometry by figuring out what size pizza is the best deal. ... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
During the 1960s, humans were finally able to explore the universe beyond Earth. But at what cost? Many people lost their lives in a race to go where humans had never gone before. Find out wha... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
The inspiring story of the black soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War is important and unforgettable, yet it's unfamiliar to many people. These soldiers served heroically to win the fr... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Most of us go over bridges without giving them a second thought. But some bridges are engineering wonders and are extraordinary to behold. Put on your hard hat and go behind the scenes to find... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Step back in time and visit Massachusetts during the Colonial period. After the Pilgrims established Plymouth Colony in 1620, other settlers flocked to Massachusetts seeking religious freedom.... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
After a 10-year-old boy is stricken with polio, he must wear braces on his legs and walks with a limp. He becomes sad and depressed because he can no longer participate in the activities that ... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
It's 1942 - the middle of World War II - and Elephant Bill, his Elephant Company, and a group of refugees are in danger of being captured by the invading Japanese. They must flee their work ca... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Armchair Reader Goes Hollywood

Editors of West Side Publishing

Armchair Reader Goes Hollywood, from the popular Armchair Reader series, entertains and enlightens with hundreds of Hollywood s little-known anecdotes, untold stories, and fascinating facts. A... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
The Armchair Reader series entertains and enlightens with little-known anecdotes, untold stories, and fascinating facts that make even the mundane fun. The Armchair Reader's innovative approac... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Haunted America

Editors of Publications International Ltd.

This 272-page, 1-color book will answer your burning questions about ghosts...you know, the ones you've been dying to ask but were too afraid to.Haunted America carefully blends historical fac... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Throughout the 1850s, the issues of slavery and states' rights had divided the nation. With the election of 1860, these issues finally came to a head, setting the stage for the American Civil ... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
When supplies were running low, Knox led a group of men through treacherous conditions to retrieve weapons and ammunition for the Colonial Army. His brave actions brought about a much-needed v... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Follow the development of skyscrapers, as they have grown taller and taller, and more fantastical through engineering skill, design and ambition.
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
In today's uncertain world, many families are leaving their home countries and seeking a better life in the United States. Immigrants from Mexico and Central America explores the stories of tw... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Ivar is tired of sitting on the sidelines making sails while other men experience adventure on the high seas. He decides to take matters into his own hands and stows away on Leif Erikson's shi... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
As you will discover when you read "Green Bay Packers: Yesterday & Today", the history of this fabled franchise began on a hot August night in 1919. That s when sportswriter George Calhoun and... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Armchair Reader The Extraordinary Book of Lists

Editors of Publications International Ltd.

The Extraordinary Book of Lists, from the popular Armchair Reader series, is an entertaining, informative, and unusual collection of fascinating facts and intriguing information. The book cont... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Make the mythology of ancient Greece come to life through stories of adventure, magical powers, and family battles. Discover the Greek gods and goddesses and the powers they used to control an... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
In 1976 a ragtag group of teenagers came together to form a band. They couldn't sing or play well, but they believed in themselves. Hard work and a positive attitude transformed them into U2, one of the greatest bands of all time. Follow the group on their epi... read more
Granny and the Gay Guy

Charlene Potterbaum

He is a flight attendant for a major airline, and she is… well, just flighty. Share their joy, laughter, and even a few tears as they warm hearts in this “straightforward” account of true frie... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Like many slaves, Robert Smalls was forced to fight for the Confederate Navy during the American Civil War. One night, Robert and his crew of fellow slaves aboard the ship, the Planter, decide... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Written by Notre Dame alum Marty Strasen and complete with a foreword by legendary Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz, Notre Dame Football: Yesterday & Today is the definitive, up-to-date history of a... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Every battle has two sides, and the D-Day Invasion during World War II is no different. Experience the event from perspective of the Allies, and then read the perspective of the Germans. A dee... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading
Sure, Chicago Cubs history is filled with heartache - the team s nickname is, after all, the Lovable Losers, gained from a century-plus-long championship drought. But ask any Bleacher Bum or d... read more
Developmental Editing Copy Editing Proofreading

Jennifer has 15 reviews

Professionalism

Quality

Value

Responsiveness

Tom H.

Tom H.

Jul, 2023

I am so thankful for Jennifer's honest and expert advice with her development edits. I knew my manuscript needed lots of work and she was able to comb through it, get rid of all the knots and return a draft that allowed me to drive it toward finalization. I could see the story and each sentence more clearly after her work because I was confident in her edits and comments. This allowed me to eas...
Read more
Jennifer H.
Thanks, Tom. I appreciate your feedback. It was a pleasure working with you. All the best, Jen
Gary N.

Gary N.

Dec, 2022

Review of Jennifer S. As a fledgling writer, after completing my first book to a level with which I was satisfied, I made the decision to invest in myself by soliciting review by a professional editor. Although I had heard mixed reviews of Reedsy from published writers, I spent time studying their editing services and after comparing many within their extensive stable of editors, I felt com...
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Jennifer H.
Thanks so much for the wonderful review, Gary! I really appreciate it, and I enjoyed working with you on this project tremendously. I'm so impressed with all the research you've done on your family...
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Charles Z.

Charles Z.

Jan, 2022

It was a real pleasure working with Jennifer. She edited my first attempt at writing a book and far exceeded my expectations. Her deep knowledge as an editor and attention to detail was very professional. She also helped with fact checking and provided me with additional resources for next steps in the publishing process. I highly recommend Jennifer for any type of editing.
Jennifer H.
Thank you for the kind words, Charles. I appreciate the positive review and very much enjoyed working with you on Ticket Stub Stories. I look forward to seeing the finished product.
Rosalie T.

Rosalie T.

Jul, 2021

It was a joy to work with Jennifer. Her professionalism and knowledge of her craft was outstanding. Because of her careful and thorough editing, she has brought my manuscript to a better level. I now feel more confident sending it out. I could not have asked for a better experience. I am truly grateful for her guidance with this project. Jennifer did an amazing job!
Jennifer H.
Thank you for the kind words and amazing review, Rosalie! It was a pleasure working with you as well. You are an extraordinary writer, and I enjoyed your book tremendously. All the best, Jennifer
Michael B.

Michael B.

May, 2021

If you're in the market to hire a professional editor who has the skillset to methodically comb through your manuscript and provide constructive feedback that will raise the level of your writing voice, stop searching and hire, Jen. You will not regret hiring her to provide the comprehensive editing your manuscript deserves.
Jennifer H.
Thank you for the kind words and wonderful review, Michael! It was a pleasure working with you and I wish you all the best.

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