Kirsten Bakis

Kirsten Bakis - Editor

New York, NY, USA

I'll help bring your novel to life. Award-winning novelist with 25 years experience as a writing coach, developmental editor, and teacher.

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Whether you have a complete manuscript ready for a final edit, or are in the draft stage, or even the idea stage, I'll help you bring your novel or story collection to the next level. I especially love working with writers of literary, popular, and genre-bending fiction. I am primarily a developmental editor and love to talk plot, character, suspense, and voice. I am also a line editor and close reader who will provide copy editing and fact checking when needed.

Please note that my rate is on the higher end because when you hire me, you’re hiring an Iowa-Writers’-Workshop trained, award-winning author with 25 years’ professional experience, who is currently a resident faculty member at the Yale Writers’ Workshop. I love this work, and give each manuscript close, personal attention

I work in sections of about 20,000 words each, with payment due for each section after I send it back. 

My rate for developmental edits on manuscripts over 25,000 words, of $8.50/250 words. For those under 25,000 words, the rate is $10/250 words. I am happy to begin with a smaller job, such as one chapter, if you would like to get a sense of how we can work together before making a decision about the entire manuscript.

The price includes extensive margin notes, separate written comments, and any discussion you’d like to have throughout the process, and for a week after final comments, via Reedsy email.

English (US)
Contemporary Fiction
Historical Fiction
Short Story
Women's Fiction


  • Iowa Writers' Workshop Teaching/Writing Fellowship; Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award, Bram Stoker Award, Whiting Award

Work experience

Fiction Instructor

Hudson Valley Writers' Center
January, 2016 – Present (about 5 years)

Resident Faculty - Fiction

Yale Writers' Workshop
June, 2012 – Present (almost 9 years)

Freelance Fiction Editor and Writing Coach

Kirsten Bakis
January, 2003 – Present (about 18 years)

Portfolio (5 selected works)

Lives of the Monster Dogs: A Novel (FSG Classics)

Bakis, Kirsten, VanderMeer, Jeff

Brookland: A Novel

Barton, Emily

Desire: A Haunting

Gaudry, Molly

The Queen of the Night

Chee, Alexander

The Runaways: A Novel

Terjanian, Sonya

Kirsten has 5 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Tristen Hannah
Thanks Kirsten! I’ve already significantly expanded the scope of the story with your feedback and help.

Tristen Hannah, January 2021

Chris B.
Thank you Kirsten! Your professional critique was very very helpful. I look forward to working with you again on my much longer novel (75,000 words anyone?) Also, thank you very much for keeping in touch throughout the process. Sincerely, Chris.

Chris B., October 2020

Duncan Johnson
Kirsten is an excellent editor and collaborator, and I highly recommend her work. She provides not only detailed, clear edits, but also the type of feedback, ideas, and encouragement one might expect from a top university teacher and mentor.

Duncan Johnson, September 2020

Duncan Johnson
Kirsten was highly responsive, professional, courteous, and thorough, throughout our first engagement together. She challenges authors with candid, careful feedback and encourages the best possible rewrites. This was a small, fast engagement, but I am encouraged to continue working with Kirsten and would recommend her work to other writers!

Duncan Johnson, August 2020

Jared Merritt
Kirsten is excellent and has provided great feedback for my debut novel.

Jared Merritt, August 2020

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