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 76 reviews

Professionalism

Quality

Value

Responsiveness

Cheryl W.

Cheryl W.

Feb, 2024

Melissa's editing skills and writing experience proved very valuable. Revisions and edits were made that improved the manuscript. I appreciated Melissa's communication and collaboration skills. My Reedsy experience and story editing results were satisfying.
Diane S.

Diane S.

Feb, 2024

Melissa is excellent at providing timely edits and valuable suggestions where appropriate. She is very detailed and clear in her feedback and knows the children's book world well. This is my second time working with Melissa and I am a fan!
Jeff and Ashley W.

Jeff and Ashley W.

Jan, 2024

Melissa is absolutely wonderful to work with! She is knowledgeable, professional, and experienced in editing. She gives honest feedback and great suggestions. This was our second time to work with Melissa and we will definitely work with her again in the future. Highly recommend!
Julie L.

Julie L.

Dec, 2023

I enjoy working with Melissa. She expertly zeroes in on the troublesome spots in my manuscripts and offers clear suggestions on how I can improve the quality and messages in my writing. She also offers insights into what publishers might be looking for and how I can align my work with those needs, yet still be true to my intent. I value her input greatly and look forward to many more collaborat...
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Diane P.

Diane P.

Dec, 2023

I appreciated hearing her thoughts. I did not always agree with the feedback regarding the content, but I did see where it would be valid from her perspective.

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