Jonathan Starke

Jonathan Starke - Editor

Portland, ME, USA

I've spent 15 years editing debuts and bestsellers across genres, traditional and self-published. Agent/publisher queries. Caring, diligent.

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I'm an award-winning author with fifteen years of editing and publishing experience. I've evaluated hundreds of manuscripts of all genres from writers at different stages of their careers and helped authors develop successful submission packages for agents and publishers.

I love reading a new manuscript and knowing my edits will bring the writer closer to their publishing goals while also illustrating ways they can develop their craft.

My clients have signed with top-tier agents and publishers, like HarperCollins and Penguin, and become bestsellers, such as the award-winning novel The Boat Runner, or earned multiple number-one spots on the Amazon charts, like the memoir Nocturnal Admissions: Behind the Scenes at Legendary Nightclubs.

What to expect working with me:
• An initial phone call or message exchange to build rapport and discuss your project and goals
• Feel free to ask questions throughout the entire process; I'm quick to respond
• I clean, tighten, and proofread your manuscript offering feedback in the margins
• Or edit and bolster your query and synopsis for agents and publishers
• All edits are completed using Chicago Manual of Style and Merriam-Webster's
• Once completed, I deliver two copies of the work, one with the edits showing, the other clean
• And off you go with your polished manuscript or submissions materials!

• "Hiring Jonathan was the best writing-related decision I ever made. He reads all my work before I send it out, helped me sell my first novel, place dozens of stories in top-tier journals, and guided my writing to new depths." -- Dr. Devin Murphy, bestselling author of The Boat Runner
• "Jonathan exceeded all my expectations: his edits were crisp, insightful, and exact." -- Erin Popelka, founder of Must Read Fiction
• "He helped raise my novel to a prizewinner with his skilled line and copyediting abilities." -- D. E. Lee, author of the prizewinning The Sky After Rain

​A little more about me:
I'm a former bodybuilder and boxer who loves making handcrafted soap, traveling, thrifting, and recycling
My writing has appeared in dozens of top literary journals
My novel, You've Got Something Coming, won the Black Heron Press Award for Social Fiction
English (US)
Biographies & Memoirs
Historical Fiction
Literary Fiction
Mystery & Crime
Thriller & Suspense

Work experience


January, 2007 – Present (over 15 years)

For fifteen years I've offered professional editorial services including critiques, copy edits, line edits, and helped authors query agents and publishers. I happily work in a range of genres, though I specialize in literary, thriller, mystery, memoir, and translations; for manuscripts: novels, nonfiction books, and essay and story collections. I've also enjoyed coaching writers to reach the full breadth of their talents through encouraging emails, phone calls, notes, and comments.

Founding Editor

Palooka Magazine and Palooka Press
January, 2010 – Present (over 12 years)

I founded this literary magazine and press twelve years ago to create a space for writers and artists to have a truly fair shot at publication and the chance to be seen, read, and recognized—no connections, no solicitations, only blind reading. Where the quality of work is all that matters. Through Palooka and Palooka Press I've evaluated over 10,000 manuscripts, from fiction to nonfiction to poetry to drama to graphic narratives.

Portfolio (20 selected works)

Still Waters (Sandhamn Murders Book 1)

Sten, Viveca, Delargy, Marlaine

That One Cigarette

Krieger, Stu

The Northern Cross (A Baltic Sea Crime Novel Book 2)

Falkenberg, Hendrik, Brown, Patrick F.

Time Heals No Wounds (A Baltic Sea Crime Novel Book 1)

Falkenberg, Hendrik, Brown, Patrick F.

The Revealed (Lakewood Book 2)

Kleck, Sarah, Osmann, Michael, Deyman, Audrey

The Lion of Justice (The Bodyguard Trilogy Book 2)

Lehtolainen, Leena, Salmi, Jenni

Mother of Invention

Wolfson Widger, Caeli

The Reaper of Zons (Zons Crime)

Shepherd, Catherine, Julia A. Knobloch

The Concealed (Lakewood Book 1)

Kleck, Sarah, Osmann, Michael, Deyman, Audrey

The Penny Thief

Paul, Christophe, Adcock, Jennifer

Jonathan has 4 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Barbara Goodwin
Jonathon Starke was a joy to work with and I look forward to working with him again! He kept me constantly informed where he was in the manuscript, his edits are excellent, yet he leaves the story and voice the same. He's everything I want in an editor for my books.

Barbara Goodwin, August 2022

Jonathan Starke
Thanks so much, Barb! It was a pleasure reading and editing your novel, and I look forward to helping you with your future projects!

Reply from Jonathan Starke

Moe Claire
What a pleasure it is to work with Jonathan! He's more than just a great copy editor. He provided helpful comments, pointed to better words, sentence structure, etc. And did it all in less time that we estimated. I hope he's still available for my next mystery as I will be looking to work with him again.

Moe Claire, August 2022

Jonathan Starke
Thank you so much, Moe! I enjoyed your lovely novel and would be happy to work with you on your next mystery.

Reply from Jonathan Starke

Dan Rowe
We must've been fully attuned on this one. Jonathan not only handled the commission with great professionalism. He also met my highest expectations and went well beyond the initial criterion. He was able to assure me where others had left me doubting, and he moved the project to an early finish with greater than anticipated results. I was beyond thrilled to have had the chance to work with this...
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Dan Rowe, August 2022

Jonathan Starke
Thanks so much, Dan! I enjoyed working with you and look forward to connecting again and helping with your future novels.

Reply from Jonathan Starke

Lauri Gross
Jonathan's feedback was very specific and actionable. Much appreciated.

Lauri Gross, July 2022

Jonathan Starke
Thanks, Lauri! It was a pleasure working with you.

Reply from Jonathan Starke

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