Leah Spann

Leah Spann – Editor

Experienced developmental editor and proofreader, specializing in science fiction and fantasy publishing


I am a freelance editor specializing in science fiction and fantasy novels. I started my career and worked for over six years at DAW Books, publisher of science fiction and fantasy since 1971 and imprint of Astra Publishing House since 2022. I have worked on published and forthcoming novels from E. J. Beaton, Joshua Phillip Johnson, L. R. Lam, Benjamin Liar, Elizabeth May, Lena Nguyen, and Adam Oyebanji. Books I have edited have been nominees and finalists for prominent SFF awards including the Compton Crook award, the Canopus Award for Excellence in Interstellar Writing, and the British Science Fiction Association awards. Prior to my time at DAW, I was a member of the inaugural class of the Columbia Publishing Course at Oxford University in 2016. I am also an alumna of Vanderbilt University, where I worked as an undergraduate writing consultant at the Vanderbilt Writing Studio.

A brief overview of the services I can offer:


I will review and provide feedback on your manuscript in the form of both scene- and chapter-level margin notes and a comprehensive editorial letter that addresses relevant issues of structure, character, pacing, plot, worldbuilding, and more.


I will review and provide feedback on your manuscript in the form of an editorial letter that addresses relevant issues of structure, character, pacing, plot, worldbuilding, and more. The editorial assessment does not include margin notes.


I will review and provide feedback on your manuscript in the form of line edits to address issues of sentence structure, grammar, word choice, spelling, formatting, and other grammatical or typographical errors.

My background is in science fiction and fantasy for the adult and young adult-crossover audience--for editorial jobs, I will be best suited to work on those genres and markets. For proofreading jobs, I can consider works in other genres.

I love helping authors refine their projects and find those moments of epiphany where everything just clicks, and I hope to be able to provide that for your work. Please reach out if you feel I might be a good fit to provide feedback on your novel!
Epic Fantasy Space Opera
English (US)

Work experience

DAW Books

Dec, 2016 — Mar, 2023 (about 6 years)

I began my career at DAW Books as an editorial assistant, gaining knowledge and experience within the industry over six years as I worked towards my final position as an acquiring editor. While at DAW, I worked extensively with a variety of authors on both science fiction and fantasy novels, providing editorial feedback for first drafts and revised manuscripts, pitching the books to our sales force, and positioning the books within the SFF market.

Vanderbilt University Writing Studio

Aug, 2013 — May, 2016 (over 2 years)

At the Writing Studio, I advised undergraduate and graduate students on writing, proofreading, and editing techniques for projects ranging from academic papers and theses to personal statements and creative works.

Leah has 2 reviews





Yishay A.

Yishay A.

Sep, 2023

A thoughtful and effective review!
Benjamin A.

Benjamin A.

Jul, 2023

After querying my latest novel for several months, I had been having trouble attracting agent attention. I hired Leah for an editorial assessment. Her feedback not only showed why my book was dying in the trenches, but highlighted some fundamental flaws within the story. Her feedback helped me reevaluate my book and devise a revision strategy that will improve my WIP. I highly recommend working...
Read more

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