Melissa Richeson

Melissa Richeson – Editor

Experienced freelance editor and assistant literary agent. I'll assess your work with an agent's eye and get your book positioned to sell!


Like most people in publishing, I grew up surrounded by stacks of library books and buried in notebooks full of stories and doodles. After doing stints in the marketing, non-profit, and education sectors, I finally settled back into what I've always loved--books!--and became a literary agent representing children's books. That experience led me to my current role as a freelance editor.

As an agent, I've helped my clients polish their manuscripts and establish deals with Big Five publishers and high-quality independent publishers alike (Hachette, Macmillan, PageStreet, etc.). I love working on both fiction and non-fiction manuscripts, and I use my unique background in marketing and literature to help authors find their niche in the business of children's books.

I usually take a hybrid approach to editing, where I correct line items while also reading for big picture elements of plot, characterization, voice, and theme. Specifically, I like to focus authors on the elements that are most likely to increase salability, including:

* Concept and hook (Grab your readers' attention!)
* First pages (Those make-it-or-break-it first 50)
* Voice (Nail the author + character + audience equation)
* Pacing (Don't get stuck in a TBR pile!)
* Ending (Not necessarily a HEA, but always a satisfied reader)
* Market placement (Comps and positioning)

Overall, my goal in editing is to help bring a bit of objectivity into a very subjective business.

When not reading or working, you can probably find me swimming, paddle boarding, jogging, or biking. My two favorite spots on earth are my backyard (we have dolphin and manatee visitors!) and Walt Disney World (magic never gets old!). I live in Florida with my husband and four school-aged sons (who are also growing up surrounded by stacks of library books and notebooks).

Disclaimer: Though I currently represent select projects as an assistant literary agent, my work as an agent is separate from my work as a freelance editor. I do not charge my agency clients for editing services. As an assistant agent, I'm accepting new queries by referral only at this time.

Children’s Non-Fiction
Picture Books
English (UK) English (US)
  • Highlights Foundation Scholarship
  • Loyd Boldman Writing Scholarship
  • Bachelor of Arts, Marketing

Work experience


Jun, 2021 — Present

Editorial work, including query letter and manuscript feedback.

Storm Literary

Jan, 2020 — Aug, 2021 (over 1 year)

Evaluate 300-500 queries per month. Edit client manuscripts--picture books through young adult--for ultimate salability. Submit manuscripts to publishers; maintain shared submission spreadsheet for transparency. Negotiate contracts; explain contract language to clients. Advocate for client rights post-contract.

Apokedak Literary

Feb, 2019 — Jul, 2020 (over 1 year)

Evaluate 350-500 queries per month. Edit client manuscripts for ultimate salability. Submit manuscripts to publishers; maintain shared submission spreadsheet for transparency. Negotiate contracts; explain contract language to clients. Advocate for client rights post-contract.


Mar, 2015 — Present

Long form and short form magazine and web content. Articles, listicles, research pieces, profiles, ebooks, etc.

Melissa has 66 reviews





Julie L.

Julie L.

Sep, 2023

I found Melissa's developmental assessment of my manuscript to be wonderfully direct and helpful. She gave me positive feedback on what was and wasn't working with my storyline and offered clear and productive suggestions for how I could turn things around. Melissa is wonderfully pleasant and professional and I intend to turn to her again for advice.
Amanda C.

Amanda C.

Sep, 2023

Melissa was great to work with and got the project done ahead of schedule. Would work with her again!
Lorna D.

Lorna D.

Sep, 2023

Melissa did an excellent job revising my query letter promptly and for a reasonable price! Her professional suggestions included essential details of a query letter while pitching a strong hook toward the manuscript, elements I was definitely looking for! She also offered advice to bring more clarity and meaning to the story before submitting it to a literary agent. I would strongly recommend w...
Read more
Alyssa B.

Alyssa B.

Sep, 2023

I hired Melissa to do a developmental edit on a rhyming picture book. While I was pretty confident in the draft and had spent significant time getting it ready, Melissa did a fantastic job of finding every area where there was a questionable word choice or missed beat. I couldn't get anything past her!! Additionally, she provided extremely helpful feedback reading the story arc and pacing, wh...
Read more
Bruce V.

Bruce V.

Sep, 2023

Melissa has that magical eye for what needs to be improved, or changed, or jettisoned. I hope to work with her again.

Sign up to read more reviews

Create a free Reedsy account to connect with Melissa and thousands of other publishing professionals on Reedsy.

Professionals similar to Melissa

Get a range of offers by requesting quotes from multiple professionals.

Miriam King

Miriam K.

I have a passion for effective communication in science, health, and nonfiction. Editor in the Life Sciences (BELS), RN, published writer.

Houston, TX, USA

100% reply rate

View profile
Sally Apokedak

Sally A.

Literary agent specializing in children's lit. I edit and sell General Market (big NY houses) and Christian Market (Tyndale, etc.) books.

Atlanta, GA, USA

100% reply rate

View profile
Aaron Burkholder

Aaron B.

Development editor, copy editor, proofreader, writer. Ten years' experience with major publishers of education and ELT content.

Ridgefield, WA, USA

100% reply rate

View profile