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!

Overview

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.

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

Work experience

Self-employed

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.

Self-employed

Mar, 2015 — Present

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

Melissa has 87 reviews

Professionalism

Quality

Value

Responsiveness

Stephanie N.

Stephanie N.

Jun, 2024

Melissa did an amazing job proofreading my children's book. Her recommendations to clean up the text in order to improve the rhyming scheme were invaluable and helped drive the story forward. Her notes were thorough and easy to understand. Melissa was extremely easy to work with, and I highly recommend her for others working on rhyming children's books!
David P.

David P.

Jun, 2024

Melissa did an excellent job of proofreading and cleaning up the multitude of punctuation issues that I couldn't catch. She also made great suggestions about the text that improved the story overall. Now I can shop my book around with boosted confidence. Thank you very much, Melissa!
Natalie Z.

Natalie Z.

May, 2024

Great communication, timely response and very helpful feedback!
Tiffinie S.

Tiffinie S.

May, 2024

Melissa not only was patient and understanding on my part with some technical issues, but she also worked extremely fast. With clear and helpful feedback. I definitely feel ready to query now that she’s helped me polish my letter up.
Matt C.

Matt C.

May, 2024

Having used Melissa multiple times now, I can say there’s a reason we keep using her! She’s great at what she does and does it in a timely fashion. Will always recommend!

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.

Frances Moloney

Frances M.

Editor, writer & literary consultant with over ten years of experience, specialising in commercial and literary children’s fiction.

London, UK

100% reply rate

View profile
Becky Walsh

Becky W.

Editor and proofreader specialising in children's fiction and picture books.

London, UK

97% reply rate

View profile
Kate Sederstrom

Kate S.

I'm a freelance editor of children's and young adult fiction with 7+ years of industry experience.

New York, NY, USA

96% reply rate

View profile