Joy McCullough

Joy McCullough - Editor

Seattle, WA, United States

I find great joy in journeying with you, the writer, as you hone your craft and bring your story to its fullest potential. Let's dig in!

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As a freelance editor, I've been mentoring writers for more than fifteen years as they bring their stories to life and connect with their ideal audience. My training as a playwright has given me a strong sense of character, dialogue, and setting, and my fiction-focused work over the last five years has brought in a finely-honed sense of plot development and voice. I love getting to the heart of the story YOU want to tell and helping you figure out the best way to do that. Writers I've worked with have gone on to ink deals with Random House, MacMillan, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, and more.

"Joy's critiques are always intelligent, super helpful, tactful, and thorough. Her feedback makes me think about both the technical and emotional aspects of creating an authentic story. Without Joy as a critique partner, I would not be a published author. There is no doubt in my mind that Joy's guidance-based feedback and spot-on critiques throughout my writing journey have pushed me to become a better writer. Joy has an impeccable eye for identifying what works and what doesn't, how to eliminate manuscript baggage, and how make your pages shine."
Jessica Lawson (The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher, Nooks & Crannies, Simon & Schuster)

"Don’t choose Joy for her query Jedi powers, although she certainly has those. And don’t choose Joy for her knowledge of the MG market or for her supportiveness, although you will be endlessly grateful for these. Choose Joy because she will take your story seriously. She will see through to why you had to write the story you wrote and she will find opportunities to make your story even more of what you dreamed. "
Ki-Wing Merlin (Weaving a Net Is Better Than Praying For Fish, Balzer + Bray, 2016)
English (US)
Biographies & Memoirs
Education & Reference
Parenting & Families
Christian Fiction
Middle Grade
Plays & Screenplays
Women's Fiction
Young Adult


  • Northwestern University School of Speech, Bachelor's degree in Theater, concentration in Playwriting


  • Times of London/Chicken House Books International Prize for Children's Fiction, Finalist, 2013 & 2014

Work experience

Author Assistant

Undisclosed author
August, 2013 – Present (over 7 years)

This must be cloaked in mystery, due to non-disclosure agreements, but my work as an assistant to a NYT-bestselling author has given me a ton of insider industry knowledge. And while I can't share the author's name, I happily share my hard-earned industry knowledge with my clients.

Pitchwars Mentor

Pitchwars Contest
January, 2013 – November, 2015 (almost 3 years)

My Pitchwars Contest mentees from 2013 & 2014 have signed with agents and gotten deals with Random House & Macmillan. In the 2015 Pitchwars, my mentee "won" the contest with 25 agent requests. He has signed with an agent and I'm excited to see his book on shelves soon, too!

Freelance Editor

January, 2000 – Present (about 21 years)

As one of the top-ranked freelance editors on, I've worked on everything from contracts and dissertations to young adult novels. Fiction (in every genre) for kids and teens is my favorite to work on, but mostly I love to work with authors who are eager to improve their craft, are open to feedback, and are hungry to connect their stories with an audience, no matter how much work is required.

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