Melissa Kirk

Melissa Kirk - Editor Tick

Richmond, CA, USA

I'm a developmental editor and book coach specializing in psychology, wellness, self-improvement, communications, and relationship writing.

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Overview

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I have been a developmental editor of nonfiction books for 18 years, including 13 years at New Harbinger Publications, 3 years at Jossey-Bass/Wiley, and 2 years running my own business. I specialize in psychology, wellness, health, self-discovery, communication, and relationships.

I work with authors on framing their concept clearly, organizing the writing so it flows intuitively for the reader, crafting the writing so it's accurate, accessible, and actionable, and developing a publishing strategy to reach the appropriate audience. My clients include individual writers as well as publishing companies and other organizations that want to give more attention to their writers and writing projects than their in-house team is able to.

I enjoy collaborating with content creators to develop well-written, organized, effective, compelling, and helpful writing pieces that will meet the financial, social, career, and personal goals of each writer and create positive change in the lives of their readers.

One career highlight was acquiring and editing Rick Hanson's "Buddha's Brain", which became an instant bestseller and helped launch his career as a speaker and expert on Buddhist psychology. I've also worked with such star writers as Sue Patton Thoele, Beverly Engel, and Steven Stosny and eminent psychology professionals such as Matthew McKay and John Preston.

I've been lucky enough to have spent my career developing hundreds of books that have helped readers heal, explore, and gain self-knowledge while building happier, more stable lives.
Languages
English (US)
Non-Fiction
Health & wellbeing
Psychology
Publishing
Self-help & Self-improvement
Sex & Relationships
Social & Behavioral Sciences

Work experience

Founder

Self-employed
January, 2016 – Present (about 3 years)

I help nonfiction authors with every step of the process, from idea conceptualization to publishing and marketing strategy.

Acquisitions and Developmental editor

New Harbinger Publications
March, 2003 – January, 2016 (almost 13 years)

Acquiring and editing psychology, health, and wellness books.

Portfolio (23 selected works)

Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom

Rick Hanson

If you change your brain, you can change your life.Great teachers like the Buddha, Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, and Gandhi were all born with brains built essentially like anyone else’s—and then they changed their brains in ways that changed the world. Science is now revealing how the flow of thoughts actually sculpts the brain, and more and more, we are learning that it's possible to strengthen po... read more

If you change your brain, you can change your life.Great teachers like the Buddha, Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, and Gandhi were all born with brains built essentially like anyone else’s—and then they changed their brains in ways that changed the world. Science is now revealing how the flow of thoughts actually sculpts the brain, and more and more, we are learning that it's possible to strengthen po... read more

Depression 101: A Practical Guide to Treatments, Self-Help Strategies, and Preventing Relapse

John D. Preston, Melissa Kirk

When you have depression, it can feel like there's no way out. To begin changing the way you feel, you'll need an arsenal of proven techniques for lifting your mood and preventing relapse. The pocket-sized Depression 101 distills the most effective cognitive behavioral therapy skills available for treating depression into seven manageable chapters. Soon, you'll find the way out of depression a... read more

When you have depression, it can feel like there's no way out. To begin changing the way you feel, you'll need an arsenal of proven techniques for lifting your mood and preventing relapse. The pocket-sized Depression 101 distills the most effective cognitive behavioral therapy skills available for treating depression into seven manageable chapters. Soon, you'll find the way out of depression a... read more

Yoga and the Pursuit of Happiness: A Guide to Finding Joy in Unexpected Places

Sam Chase

Enlightenment isn’t a strange, mystical, or faraway place. It’s a fundamental human experience available to us all in different ways and in different moments. Learn how the ancient philosophy of yoga, modern neuroscience, and positive psychology can help you discover your life’s meaning and purpose, rewire your brain, and uncover lasting happiness and joy. Everyone is looking for happiness, bu... read more

Enlightenment isn’t a strange, mystical, or faraway place. It’s a fundamental human experience available to us all in different ways and in different moments. Learn how the ancient philosophy of yoga, modern neuroscience, and positive psychology can help you discover your life’s meaning and purpose, rewire your brain, and uncover lasting happiness and joy. Everyone is looking for happiness, bu... read more

How to Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use

Randy J. Paterson PhD

In How to Be Miserable, psychologist Randy Paterson outlines 40 specific behaviors and habits, which—if followed—are sure to lead to a lifetime of unhappiness. On the other hand, if you do the opposite, you may yet join the ranks of happy people everywhere!There are stacks upon stacks of self-help books that will promise you love, happiness, and a fabulous life. But how can you pinpoint the ex... read more

In How to Be Miserable, psychologist Randy Paterson outlines 40 specific behaviors and habits, which—if followed—are sure to lead to a lifetime of unhappiness. On the other hand, if you do the opposite, you may yet join the ranks of happy people everywhere!There are stacks upon stacks of self-help books that will promise you love, happiness, and a fabulous life. But how can you pinpoint the ex... read more

Living and Loving after Betrayal: How to Heal from Emotional Abuse, Deceit, Infidelity, and Chronic Resentment

Steven Stosny

Betrayal has many faces, including anger, abuse, deceit, and infidelity. These feel like betrayal because they violate the implicit promise of emotional bonds, that your loved one will care about your wellbeing and never intentionally hurt you. If you've recently left a relationship where you felt betrayed by your partner—or if you want to repair one—it can seem impossible to view the world wi... read more

Betrayal has many faces, including anger, abuse, deceit, and infidelity. These feel like betrayal because they violate the implicit promise of emotional bonds, that your loved one will care about your wellbeing and never intentionally hurt you. If you've recently left a relationship where you felt betrayed by your partner—or if you want to repair one—it can seem impossible to view the world wi... read more

The Mindful Woman: Gentle Practices for Restoring Calm, Finding Balance, and Opening Your Heart

Sue Patton Thoele

Imagine a day in which you can be in the midst of chaos but maintain a clear head and sense of balance and focus and have your feet firmly planted on the ground. Even the busiest of women among us has the ability to embrace mindfulness and will reap the benefits of doing so! In this book, Sue Patton Thoele shows you how to incorporate mindfulness into your busy and dynamic life. The book's gen... read more

Imagine a day in which you can be in the midst of chaos but maintain a clear head and sense of balance and focus and have your feet firmly planted on the ground. Even the busiest of women among us has the ability to embrace mindfulness and will reap the benefits of doing so! In this book, Sue Patton Thoele shows you how to incorporate mindfulness into your busy and dynamic life. The book's gen... read more

Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time

Rick Hanson Ph.D.

Audie Award Nominee, Personal Development, 2013 You've heard the expression, "It's the little things that count." Research has shown that little daily practices can change the way your brain works, too. This book offers simple brain-training practices you can do every day to protect against stress, lift your mood, and find greater emotional resilience. Just One Thing is a treasure chest of ove... read more

Audie Award Nominee, Personal Development, 2013 You've heard the expression, "It's the little things that count." Research has shown that little daily practices can change the way your brain works, too. This book offers simple brain-training practices you can do every day to protect against stress, lift your mood, and find greater emotional resilience. Just One Thing is a treasure chest of ove... read more

The Worry Trick: How Your Brain Tricks You into Expecting the Worst and What You Can Do About It

David A Carbonell

Are you truly in danger or has your brain simply "tricked" you into thinking you are? In The Worry Trick, psychologist and anxiety expert David Carbonell shows how anxiety hijacks the brain and offers effective techniques to help you break the cycle of worry, once and for all.Anxiety is a powerful force. It makes us question ourselves and our decisions, causes us to worry about the future, and... read more

Are you truly in danger or has your brain simply "tricked" you into thinking you are? In The Worry Trick, psychologist and anxiety expert David Carbonell shows how anxiety hijacks the brain and offers effective techniques to help you break the cycle of worry, once and for all.Anxiety is a powerful force. It makes us question ourselves and our decisions, causes us to worry about the future, and... read more

Emotional Fitness for Couples: 10 Minutes a Day to a Better Relationship

Barton Goldsmith

The 10-Minute Relationship WorkoutPeak athletic performance requires regular exercise, and a great relationship depends on regular emotional practice to stay in top form. Don't wait for a crisis to make you scramble to save your relationship. Start building emotional fitness today! Emotional Fitness for Couples is a collection of simple tips that will energize you and hone your relationship sk... read more

The 10-Minute Relationship WorkoutPeak athletic performance requires regular exercise, and a great relationship depends on regular emotional practice to stay in top form. Don't wait for a crisis to make you scramble to save your relationship. Start building emotional fitness today! Emotional Fitness for Couples is a collection of simple tips that will energize you and hone your relationship sk... read more

Addict in the House: A No-Nonsense Family Guide Through Addiction and Recovery

Robin Barnett EdD LCSW

"This is a straightforward, rich resource for anyone who lives with, and loves, an addict." —Publishers Weekly Everyone suffers when there’s an addict in the family. Written by an expert in alcohol and drug addiction and recovery, this no-nonsense guide will help you understand the causes of addiction, end enabling behaviors, support your loved one’s recovery, and learn how to cope with relaps... read more

"This is a straightforward, rich resource for anyone who lives with, and loves, an addict." —Publishers Weekly Everyone suffers when there’s an addict in the family. Written by an expert in alcohol and drug addiction and recovery, this no-nonsense guide will help you understand the causes of addiction, end enabling behaviors, support your loved one’s recovery, and learn how to cope with relaps... read more

The Binge Eating and Compulsive Overeating Workbook: An Integrated Approach to Overcoming Disordered Eating (The New Harbinger Whole-Body Healing Series)

Carolyn Ross

Some people use food to calm themselves when they feel overwhelmed. Others find it difficult to discern between eating out of hunger and eating out of habit. There are nearly as many reasons why people overeat as there are reasons to stop. While overeating can often bring comfort in the short term, it can lead to feelings of guilt later on. If you feel like you're caught in a cycle of unhealth... read more

Some people use food to calm themselves when they feel overwhelmed. Others find it difficult to discern between eating out of hunger and eating out of habit. There are nearly as many reasons why people overeat as there are reasons to stop. While overeating can often bring comfort in the short term, it can lead to feelings of guilt later on. If you feel like you're caught in a cycle of unhealth... read more

Contemplating Divorce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Go

Susan Gadoua

Just as there are right and wrong reasons to marry, there are good and bad reasons to divorce. Some couples are quick to split because they are unwilling to devote the necessary effort to fixing their relationships or to understanding their partners, while others miss out on personal fulfillment by staying too long in unhealthy marriages.This insightful and practical guide, written by a therap... read more

Just as there are right and wrong reasons to marry, there are good and bad reasons to divorce. Some couples are quick to split because they are unwilling to devote the necessary effort to fixing their relationships or to understanding their partners, while others miss out on personal fulfillment by staying too long in unhealthy marriages.This insightful and practical guide, written by a therap... read more

The High-Conflict Custody Battle: Protect Yourself and Your Kids from a Toxic Divorce, False Accusations, and Parental Alienation

Amy J. L. Baker PhD, J. Michael Bone PhD, Brian Ludmer BComm LLB

Is your ex-spouse trying to gain custody of your kids? Has he or she launched a campaign to make you look like a bad parent, both in the eyes of your children and the law? You aren’t alone. Unfortunately, high-conflict custody battles are all-too-common in today’s world. So how can you arm yourself with the mental and legal resources needed to survive this difficult time and keep your kids saf... read more

Is your ex-spouse trying to gain custody of your kids? Has he or she launched a campaign to make you look like a bad parent, both in the eyes of your children and the law? You aren’t alone. Unfortunately, high-conflict custody battles are all-too-common in today’s world. So how can you arm yourself with the mental and legal resources needed to survive this difficult time and keep your kids saf... read more

End Emotional Eating: Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to Cope with Difficult Emotions and Develop a Healthy Relationship to Food

Jennifer Taitz PsyD

If you eat to help manage your emotions, you may have discovered that it doesn’t work. Once you’re done eating, you might even feel worse. Eating can all too easily become a strategy for coping with depression, anxiety, boredom, stress, and anger, and a reliable reward when it’s time to celebrate. If you are ready to experience emotions without consuming them or being consumed by them, the min... read more

If you eat to help manage your emotions, you may have discovered that it doesn’t work. Once you’re done eating, you might even feel worse. Eating can all too easily become a strategy for coping with depression, anxiety, boredom, stress, and anger, and a reliable reward when it’s time to celebrate. If you are ready to experience emotions without consuming them or being consumed by them, the min... read more

Handbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for Therapists

John O'Neal, John Preston, Mary C. Talaga

The Handbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for Therapists has long been the definitive reference book for mental health clinicians and anyone else looking for clear, reliable information about the medical treatment of mental health issues. Thousands of therapists keep this invaluable book on their shelves to quickly reference drug facts for their clients. Now in its sixth edition, this fully ... read more

The Handbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for Therapists has long been the definitive reference book for mental health clinicians and anyone else looking for clear, reliable information about the medical treatment of mental health issues. Thousands of therapists keep this invaluable book on their shelves to quickly reference drug facts for their clients. Now in its sixth edition, this fully ... read more

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Menopause: A Step-by-Step Program for Overcoming Hot Flashes, Mood Swings, Insomnia, Anxiety, Depression, and Other Symptoms (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)

Sheryl M Green PhD, Randi E. McCabe PhD, Claudio N Soares MD PhD

No woman experiences menopause in exactly the same way. Some may endure hot flashes, irritability, or mood swings, while others experience insomnia, anxiety, or even depression. And while you have probably heard about the benefits and drawbacks of hormone-replacement therapy (HRT), you should also know that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been proven effective not only in treating the e... read more

No woman experiences menopause in exactly the same way. Some may endure hot flashes, irritability, or mood swings, while others experience insomnia, anxiety, or even depression. And while you have probably heard about the benefits and drawbacks of hormone-replacement therapy (HRT), you should also know that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been proven effective not only in treating the e... read more

Anxiety and Avoidance: A Universal Treatment for Anxiety, Panic, and Fear

Michael A. Tompkins

Do you suffer from panic, anxiety, and fear in your day-to-day life? Do you often avoid social situations, activities like driving, or even going to the store because of a fear of being overwhelmed or triggering a panic attack? You might be interested to know that anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in the United States. In Anxiety and Avoidance, psychologist and anxi... read more

Do you suffer from panic, anxiety, and fear in your day-to-day life? Do you often avoid social situations, activities like driving, or even going to the store because of a fear of being overwhelmed or triggering a panic attack? You might be interested to know that anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in the United States. In Anxiety and Avoidance, psychologist and anxi... read more

Insecure in Love: How Anxious Attachment Can Make You Feel Jealous, Needy, and Worried and What You Can Do About It

Leslie Becker-Phelps

Has your romantic partner called you clingy, insecure, desperate, or jealous? No one wants to admit that they possess these qualities; but if you find yourself constantly on the alert, anxious, or worried when it comes to your significant other, you may suffer from anxious attachment, a fear of abandonment that is often rooted in early childhood experiences.In Insecure in Love, you'll learn ho... read more

Has your romantic partner called you clingy, insecure, desperate, or jealous? No one wants to admit that they possess these qualities; but if you find yourself constantly on the alert, anxious, or worried when it comes to your significant other, you may suffer from anxious attachment, a fear of abandonment that is often rooted in early childhood experiences.In Insecure in Love, you'll learn ho... read more

Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner (The New Harbinger Loving Someone Series)

Julie A. Fast, John D. Preston PsyD ABPP

Maintaining a relationship is hard enough without the added challenges of your partner’s bipolar disorder symptoms. Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder offers information and step-by-step advice for helping your partner manage mood swings and impulsive actions, allowing you to finally focus on enjoying your relationship while also taking time for yourself. This book explains the symptoms of y... read more

Maintaining a relationship is hard enough without the added challenges of your partner’s bipolar disorder symptoms. Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder offers information and step-by-step advice for helping your partner manage mood swings and impulsive actions, allowing you to finally focus on enjoying your relationship while also taking time for yourself. This book explains the symptoms of y... read more

10 Simple Solutions to Adult ADD: How to Overcome Chronic Distraction and Accomplish Your Goals (The New Harbinger Ten Simple Solutions Series)

Stephanie Moulton Sarkis PhD

Managing attention-deficit disorder (ADD) as an adult is a constant challenge. You may notice that your mind sometimes wanders during conversations. Maybe you keep misplacing your keys. Or your ADD may be causing bigger problems in your life, making it difficult to keep in touch with friends and family and leading you to procrastinate on important projects.10 Simple Solutions to Adult ADD offe... read more

Managing attention-deficit disorder (ADD) as an adult is a constant challenge. You may notice that your mind sometimes wanders during conversations. Maybe you keep misplacing your keys. Or your ADD may be causing bigger problems in your life, making it difficult to keep in touch with friends and family and leading you to procrastinate on important projects.10 Simple Solutions to Adult ADD offe... read more

Reveal: Embody the True Self Beyond Trauma and Conditioning

Harmony Kwiker

“All of this pain has a purpose,” 6-year-old Harmony heard from deep within as she practiced transcendental meditation for the first time. Feeling relieved by these words of hope, she knew instantly that she wanted to learn how to bring this message to life. With progressive healers as parents, Harmony was nurtured to be a healer herself. However, the painful secrets hidden beneath the façade ... read more

“All of this pain has a purpose,” 6-year-old Harmony heard from deep within as she practiced transcendental meditation for the first time. Feeling relieved by these words of hope, she knew instantly that she wanted to learn how to bring this message to life. With progressive healers as parents, Harmony was nurtured to be a healer herself. However, the painful secrets hidden beneath the façade ... read more

Three New People: Make the Most of Your Daily Interactions and Stop Missing Amazing Opportunities

Brian Miller

“Practical, powerful, and a delight to read. A book like Brian’s can change everything for someone who cares.”-Seth Godin, Author, This is MarketingConnect with anyone. Strengthen your relationships. Build a sustainable career.Three New People is a manifesto on the beauty and power of human connection in a world where loneliness has reached epidemic levels. We’re rushed, frazzled, distracted, ... read more

“Practical, powerful, and a delight to read. A book like Brian’s can change everything for someone who cares.”-Seth Godin, Author, This is MarketingConnect with anyone. Strengthen your relationships. Build a sustainable career.Three New People is a manifesto on the beauty and power of human connection in a world where loneliness has reached epidemic levels. We’re rushed, frazzled, distracted, ... read more

Somebody Hold Me: The Single Person's Guide to Nurturing Human Touch

Epiphany Miriam Jordan

Nearly 50% of Americans checked the "single" box in the 2010 census. Because we equate touch with sex, many of us suffer alone when we crave physical comfort and tenderness. Somebody Hold Me: The Single Person's Guide to Nurturing Human Touch takes a simple, radical approach to health and relationships by teaching you how to get more platonic touch. Somebody Hold Me walks you through the incre... read more

Nearly 50% of Americans checked the "single" box in the 2010 census. Because we equate touch with sex, many of us suffer alone when we crave physical comfort and tenderness. Somebody Hold Me: The Single Person's Guide to Nurturing Human Touch takes a simple, radical approach to health and relationships by teaching you how to get more platonic touch. Somebody Hold Me walks you through the incre... read more

Melissa has 6 reviews

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David Joel Miller

I was very pleased with the work Melissa Kirk did. Her suggestions were helpful and I learned a lot from our collaboration.

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David Joel Miller, September 2018


Ann Hince

Melissa’s experience was a huge benefit to me as a first time author. She realized by book was further along than I thought it was so helped me on the next step, preparing to approach agents. Melissa has an excellent ebook that helped tremendously with this process, and actually made it fun to do.

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Ann Hince, September 2018


Bruce Williamson

Melissa provided great insight for my manuscript. Just the right balance of encouragement and constructive criticism to elevate my writing and get my message across to the reader. Friendly, professional and prompt. I would absolutely use her again.

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Bruce Williamson, August 2018


Brian Miller

Melissa did a fabulous job on the first edit of my book. I will be hiring her again shortly for round two. She helped me organize the big picture and find clarity in the details.

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Brian Miller, May 2018


Cian Whalley

Melissa was wonderful to work with. In fact, she was a little too quick for me! It all worked out, and I got a lot of value from her very grounded insight into the angle and audience my book was looking for. I've got a great template to move forward and morph the book into a great seller!

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Cian Whalley, May 2018

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