Lisa Kaitz

Lisa Kaitz - Editor

Portland, OR, USA

I’m a copyeditor with more than 11 years’ experience who loves making a story stronger and inspiring authors to go further!

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Overview

Starting from a spark of an idea and arriving here with a story is already an extraordinary accomplishment!

MY BACKGROUND: I've been a copyeditor for more than 11 years, with nearly 70 books in my portfolio, including international bestsellers Simon Gervais and Manel Loureiro, New York Times bestselling author Tanya Anne Crosby, and former Random House and Hearst powerhouse Howard Kaminsky. I specialize these days in thrillers and mysteries, but I’m open to just about everything. I’m a naturally curious person, so I enjoy the eclectic possibilities of editing all kinds of fiction.

MY PHILOSOPHY: On my business card, I included a saying from Arthur Plotnik that thrilled me when I read it because it perfectly encapsulates my approach: “You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.”

HOW I CAN HELP: There are algorithms that can spot misspellings or suggest a word and they’re helpful, but only a human can read for context—distinguishing between homophones or noticing any flawed logic, for example. That’s where I come in, identifying and quietly disarming any land mines in a manuscript.

Experience is important, because what you do is special. There are creative standards in fiction that don’t apply elsewhere. (For instance, ample leeway is allowed for fragmented sentences.) And it’s only through years of hands-on copyediting that I can carefully handle such subtleties, knowing when to leave something alone and when to modify it.

But rest assured, I’m not a failed writer looking to make my mark on your hard work. I’m an enthusiastic professional who has found an outlet for language skills beyond pointing to typos in ads or on storefront windows. I love what I do, and I’m constantly improving by attending classes, reading not only within my field but for pleasure, and participating in social media editing groups.

MY SERVICES: Copyediting is about making thoughtful adjustments—kicking aside what doesn’t quite work, tightening everything up, and eliminating errors and inconsistencies so a reader isn’t distracted, allowing them to absorb and enjoy what you’ve worked so hard to convey. I understand it can be difficult to think about grammar and mechanics when you’re just trying to get a character from one place to the next. You were rightly concentrating on the creative process.

Now it’s time to relax and let me deal with the nitty-gritty. Here’s a breakdown of the sentence-level particulars I focus on (in U.S. English):


-Correcting punctuation, spelling, grammar, syntax, capitalization, and word usage while preserving the meaning and voice of your original text

-Eliminating repetition, redundancy, wordiness, and incompleteness

-Substituting weak words or phrases with stronger alternatives

-Addressing basic point-of-view issues

-Fixing or indicating flawed logic (a character suddenly has red hair or walked through a locked door)

-Reading for overall clarity and sense with regard to the target audience

-Adhering to or imposing a consistent style, and creating a custom style sheet to maintain your preferences

-Performing light fact-checking (looking up the spelling of "Kathmandu" but not checking on how a character would get from there to San Francisco—authors are wholly responsible for facts)

-Rearranging the order of words or sentences within paragraphs to better convey a point

-Deleting or querying nonessential elements for better flow

-Making sure dialogue tags are verbal (from “Are you kidding me?” she laughed — to "Are you kidding me?" she said with a laugh)

-Adjusting dialogue on occasion to sound more like natural speech, unless it would undermine a character (using more contractions, for example)

-Ensuring any sequencing is accurate (where body parts go during a fight scene)

-Identifying language differences: localizing words not familiar to a U.S. audience (changing "petrol" to "gas")

-Flagging for possible biased or outdated language, as well as cliches

---> Two things to note <---

1. I don't provide substantive/developmental editing, meaning "big picture" stuff: identifying and solving problems in the text regarding plot, story arc, timelines, characters, etc.; reorganizing or rewriting whole paragraphs, sections, or chapters; suggesting further topics…yada-yada-yada. All this should be addressed during an early editing stage, before it gets to me.

2. I don't work on horror or material that contains very graphic descriptions of violence; however, mentioning in the manuscript that such things have occurred is fine. (If you're unsure, feel free to ask me in an email.)


All work is strictly confidential and respected. I mean it.


ABOUT ME: After spending a huge chunk of my misspent youth in New York City, I moved with my husband and young son to Portland, Oregon, where it rains only half as much as I thought it would. Go figure. We also have two cats because…of course. I relish cracking open a good book (big surprise), listening to podcasts, rearranging my living room, watching movies, going for a mellow hike, and whipping up something in the kitchen, although it’s really more about eating. Am I right?

FEES: The industry’s minimum for fiction copyediting starts at $0.02 per word and ranges to about $0.04. There are a number of factors I consider when figuring out a quote. How complex is your project? If it’s a smooth read from the outset—hopefully I can tell by your excerpt—I’ll quote on the lower end. If I anticipate lots of corrections or fact-checking, I’ll quote higher because it’s more time-consuming. If your story involves world-building or an intricate storyline, for example, this will factor in too. I also account for administrative work. Editors may quote lower to attain work, but my fees represent my experience. This isn't a side gig for me; I copyedit for a living.


WHAT I'D LIKE TO KNOW: The more you say about your story, the more helpful it is for me to assess the job at hand. Some things to consider…

1. Word count

2. Point of view (first person, etc.) and tense

3. What genre(s) you think it fits into

4. Basic plot and setting
5. Descriptions of major characters

6. Target audience

7. What stages of editing it’s been through (beta readers, developmental editing, etc.)

8. What your strengths and weaknesses are

9. If there’s anything you’d like me to pay particular attention to


Let’s talk about your story and figure out how we can achieve your vision. I look forward to meeting you!

Services
Languages
English (US)
Fiction
Action & Adventure
Humor & Comedy
Literary Fiction
Mystery & Crime
Romance
Science Fiction
Thriller & Suspense
Women's Fiction

Certifications

  • Certificate in Copy Editing

Work experience

Staff Copyeditor

Core K12
October, 2010 – September, 2012 (almost 2 years)

Copyedited student assessment tests for grades K–12 in all subjects, on hard copy
and in MS Word, using The Chicago Manual of Style and multiple style sheets customized for various school districts throughout the United States. Wrote original text or found and edited appropriate public domain material, replacing words and altering sentence length for complexity according to specific Lexile measures using Core’s CMS. Worked closely with content editors and art/production department to ensure precise requirements were achieved and delivered on schedule.

Core K12 acquired the K-12 division of The Princeton Review in early 2009.

Copyeditor

Self-employed
January, 2010 – Present (almost 12 years)

Portfolio (15 selected works)

The Thin Black Line: A Mike Walton Thriller

Simon Gervais

Mike Walton had experienced terrorism from every angle. As a covert field operations officer, he thought he'd seen it all. But that was before terrorism struck him directly at home. Suffering devastating physical injury and unthinkable personal loss, Mike had one of two choices: give up or fight back. And giving up wasn't in his constitution.Mike and his wife Lisa – a medical doctor and fellow... read more

Mike Walton had experienced terrorism from every angle. As a covert field operations officer, he thought he'd seen it all. But that was before terrorism struck him directly at home. Suffering devastating physical injury and unthinkable personal loss, Mike had one of two choices: give up or fight back. And giving up wasn't in his constitution.Mike and his wife Lisa – a medical doctor and fellow... read more

Pressed Pennies: Life's Journey, Volume 4: A Road to Second Chances

Steven Manchester

“Steven Manchester writes about people, life, love and second chances in a warm and realistic way that goes beyond fabulous writing and straight into sigh-worthy, romance that is both relatable and magical. He breathes life into his characters and fills them with real emotion, real fears, insecurities and love. This is the kind of story that makes the reader want to curl up and lose themself i... read more

“Steven Manchester writes about people, life, love and second chances in a warm and realistic way that goes beyond fabulous writing and straight into sigh-worthy, romance that is both relatable and magical. He breathes life into his characters and fills them with real emotion, real fears, insecurities and love. This is the kind of story that makes the reader want to curl up and lose themself i... read more

The Cutting Room (C.J. Townsend Thriller)

Jilliane Hoffman

Detective Manny Alvarez knows the body of a murdered Florida student is only the beginning—his investigation soon reveals a terrifying trend in nightclub abductions.Hotshot Assistant State Attorney Daria DeBianchi works the case too, hoping it will be the one that makes her career. It will—but for all the wrong reasons.Their only lead, notorious serial killer William Bantling, claims they are ... read more

Detective Manny Alvarez knows the body of a murdered Florida student is only the beginning—his investigation soon reveals a terrifying trend in nightclub abductions.Hotshot Assistant State Attorney Daria DeBianchi works the case too, hoping it will be the one that makes her career. It will—but for all the wrong reasons.Their only lead, notorious serial killer William Bantling, claims they are ... read more

Angel Wings

Howard Kaminsky

As a veteran member of the Providence police department's elite homicide squad, Detective Danny Martell has seen his fair share of dead bodies. But he’s never seen anything quite like this. Women around the city are being brutally murdered, their dead faces elaborately made up and fabric angel wings attached to their lifeless bodies. The attacks are immediately dubbed "the Angel Murders"—yet i... read more

As a veteran member of the Providence police department's elite homicide squad, Detective Danny Martell has seen his fair share of dead bodies. But he’s never seen anything quite like this. Women around the city are being brutally murdered, their dead faces elaborately made up and fabric angel wings attached to their lifeless bodies. The attacks are immediately dubbed "the Angel Murders"—yet i... read more

Dark Days (Apocalypse Z)

Manel Loureiro

The electrifying sequel to international best seller Apocalypse Z The Russian-spawned virus that kills swiftly then ghoulishly resurrects its victims as ravenous cannibals has breached international borders. The infernal progression… From outbreak to epidemic and pandemic to sheer panic, the virus has shredded global civilization. Promised safe havens become deathtraps, lawlessness crumbles an... read more

The electrifying sequel to international best seller Apocalypse Z The Russian-spawned virus that kills swiftly then ghoulishly resurrects its victims as ravenous cannibals has breached international borders. The infernal progression… From outbreak to epidemic and pandemic to sheer panic, the virus has shredded global civilization. Promised safe havens become deathtraps, lawlessness crumbles an... read more

Everybody Goes to Jimmy's: A Suspense Novel (The Jimmy Quinn Mysteries Book 2)

Michael Mayo

An explosion outside his speakeasy draws Jimmy into a life-or-death chase Young Jimmy Quinn is delivering a bribe for the infamous racketeer Arnold Rothstein when a bomb goes off on Wall Street, killing thirty people and scaring every banker in the city right down to his spats. Twelve years later, Rothstein is dead, and Jimmy is doing his best to stay out of trouble, running a quiet little Man... read more

An explosion outside his speakeasy draws Jimmy into a life-or-death chase Young Jimmy Quinn is delivering a bribe for the infamous racketeer Arnold Rothstein when a bomb goes off on Wall Street, killing thirty people and scaring every banker in the city right down to his spats. Twelve years later, Rothstein is dead, and Jimmy is doing his best to stay out of trouble, running a quiet little Man... read more

Perfectly Broken

Robert Burke Warren

A novel of sex, dads, and rock & roll. His rock star days may be behind him, but stay-at-home dad Grant Kelly's life is getting more interesting by the day. It's the beginning of the post 9/11 era, and he and his wife and four-year-old son have traded a New York City apartment for a Catskills farmhouse, where ghosts from the past, worries for the future, and temptations in the present converge... read more

A novel of sex, dads, and rock & roll. His rock star days may be behind him, but stay-at-home dad Grant Kelly's life is getting more interesting by the day. It's the beginning of the post 9/11 era, and he and his wife and four-year-old son have traded a New York City apartment for a Catskills farmhouse, where ghosts from the past, worries for the future, and temptations in the present converge... read more

Gooseberry Island: Life's Journey, Volume 3: A Road to Love

Steven Manchester

“Stunning.”– Crystal Book Reviews“It is amazing that Steven Manchester can take the same alphabet most of us use, create the same words most of us use, and arrange them so skillfully that they reach in and stir profound emotions in a reader. His ability to connect the reader with the characters’ deepest feelings, fears, hopes, dreams, and love is incredible.”– Long and Short Reviews“Once again... read more

“Stunning.”– Crystal Book Reviews“It is amazing that Steven Manchester can take the same alphabet most of us use, create the same words most of us use, and arrange them so skillfully that they reach in and stir profound emotions in a reader. His ability to connect the reader with the characters’ deepest feelings, fears, hopes, dreams, and love is incredible.”– Long and Short Reviews“Once again... read more

Redemption Song

Tanya Anne Crosby

Raised as an only child, Caia Paine once believed she had everything she would ever need to live a rich and contented life. The last thing she ever expected was that she would wake up one morning, despairing, and so full of loathing that even the sky is darkened by the potency of her anger. After her only son, Jack, is taken from her in a tragic accident, Caia finds herself obsessed with the m... read more

Raised as an only child, Caia Paine once believed she had everything she would ever need to live a rich and contented life. The last thing she ever expected was that she would wake up one morning, despairing, and so full of loathing that even the sky is darkened by the potency of her anger. After her only son, Jack, is taken from her in a tragic accident, Caia finds herself obsessed with the m... read more

The Patriot Cipher

McCutchen, Sean

Blood Tattoo: An American P.I. Novel (A Nicholas Colt Thriller)

Jude Hardin

Nicholas Colt…World-class guitarist with a crushed hand, private investigator with a revoked license. Currently settling into a nice quiet life of teaching music and spending time with his family. Or so he thinks.Diana Dawkins…Operative with the ultra-clandestine federal agency called The Circle. Smart, beautiful, deadly. She needs Colt’s help, and she’s willing to pay him well for it.The bad ... read more

Nicholas Colt…World-class guitarist with a crushed hand, private investigator with a revoked license. Currently settling into a nice quiet life of teaching music and spending time with his family. Or so he thinks.Diana Dawkins…Operative with the ultra-clandestine federal agency called The Circle. Smart, beautiful, deadly. She needs Colt’s help, and she’s willing to pay him well for it.The bad ... read more

The Xanth Novels Books 38–40: Board Stiff, Five Portraits, and Isis Orb

Piers Anthony

Three installments of the New York Times–bestselling series set in a land of enchantment filled with magic, surprises, adventure, and—best of all—puns! The world of Xanth is a wacky one full of offbeat heroes and surprising journeys. In these three volumes of this hilarious series, characters bumble their way through many misadventures to find their happy ending on the other side, aided and hi... read more

Three installments of the New York Times–bestselling series set in a land of enchantment filled with magic, surprises, adventure, and—best of all—puns! The world of Xanth is a wacky one full of offbeat heroes and surprising journeys. In these three volumes of this hilarious series, characters bumble their way through many misadventures to find their happy ending on the other side, aided and hi... read more

The Super Ladies

Petrone, Susan

The Flagler Hunt

Burns, Jeremy

Lisa has 8 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Todd Luchik
This is my third time working with Lisa and she not only does quality work but she always teaches me something that helps improve my writing. Would definitely work with her again.

Todd Luchik, October 2021


Jeff Vorzimmer
Lisa's editing was great. She is considerably adept at cutting the fat to concise, lean prose. Although I'm confident in my non-fiction writing, not so much with my fiction. She was just the kind of editor I needed.

Jeff Vorzimmer, May 2021


Todd Luchik
Lisa was a pleasure to work with. She was prompt, thorough, and offered several great ideas for improving my manuscript. I would gladly work with Lisa again.

Todd Luchik, April 2021


Dave Callan
Lisa was is fast and pleasant in her communication with me. She always kept me updated. She did a superior job of providing me with a sample very quickly. She even finished early, providing me with much more than I was anticipating. To put it in simple terms... WOW!

Dave Callan, April 2021


Renice Stewart
Lisa comments were exactly what I was looking for in an editor She was spot-on with trouble areas and offered great suggestions. She also gave me some complements that were so greatly needed whenever I doubted my ability to sound different from everyone else.

Renice Stewart, February 2020

Read more reviews

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