Melissa Richeson

Melissa Richeson - Editor

Cocoa Beach, FL, USA

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

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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.

Languages
English (UK)
English (US)
Non-Fiction
Children’s Non-Fiction
Fiction
Picture Books

Certifications

  • Bachelor of Arts, Marketing

Awards

  • Highlights Foundation Scholarship
  • Loyd Boldman Writing Scholarship

Work experience

Freelance Editor

Self-employed
June, 2021 – Present (over 1 year)

Editorial work, including query letter and manuscript feedback.

Associate Literary Agent

Storm Literary
January, 2020 – August, 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.

Associate Literary Agent

Apokedak Literary
February, 2019 – July, 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.

Freelance Writer

Self-employed
March, 2015 – Present (almost 8 years)

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

Portfolio (5 selected works)

The Book of Rules: A Picture Book

Gehrlein, Brian, Knight, Tom

God Made You Too

Tornetto, Chelsea, Barnes, Kimberley

Gardens Are for Growing

Tornetto, Chelsea, Pang, Hsulynn

A Penny's Worth

Wilson, Kimberly, Hoffmann, Mark

Melissa has 43 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Jake Lockett
Melissa is a standout editor! Both professional and imaginative, she helped my manuscript shine bright! And because of her, I became a better writer, too. I would be honored to work with her again.

Jake Lockett, November 2022


Candace Nelson
Melissa offered wonderful suggestions for my book. In her thoughtful note, she detailed what was working and what we would suggest tweaking and why. She also gave practical suggestions for next steps. I'd definitely work with Melissa again.

Candace Nelson, November 2022


michelle bowen
Melissa has an amazing editor and she always provides feedback and ideas. I trust her wholeheartedly. She has edited work for me in the past.

michelle bowen, October 2022


Margot Potter
Melissa gave me invaluable feedback regarding fleshing out certain parts of my story and cutting others. Having her editorial comments in addition to in-depth notes was particularly helpful. She was always prompt and professional in responding to my questions and helped me to create a more cohesive story.

Margot Potter, October 2022


Maryam Rouhfar
Melissa did a very comprehensive edit for my children’s story. Her attention to the details showed her effort and care for the manuscript. Great constructive criticism and really helpful advice without pressure. Her work was seamless and her level of commitment and communication was top notch! Thank you!

Maryam Rouhfar, August 2022

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