Starting from a spark of an idea and arriving here with a story is already an extraordinary accomplishment!
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 YOU
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 and writing groups.
I have 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.
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):
---> Two things to note <---
1. I don't provide 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. So when you request my services, it's strictly for copyediting.
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 contact me through Reedsy's email.)
All work is strictly confidential and respected. I mean it.
LISA, THE PERSON
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 Armchair Expert and This American Life, rearranging my living room, playing Legos, and whipping up something in the kitchen, although that's really more about eating. Hello, cake!
Let’s talk about your story and figure out how we can achieve your vision. I look forward to meeting you!
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.
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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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Skilled, empathetic editor with over a decade of experience with NY publishers. Finalist for 2022 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award (nonfiction).
Eisner Award nominated editor, proofreader and creative consultant specialising in comics, graphic novels and genre fiction.