For more than 25 years I have worked in publishing, helping writers hone their manuscripts and ready them for publication. I started my career with Condé Nast and Random House, and I am currently a freelance copy editor and proofreader for Sourcebooks, Apollo, and Clavis Publishing. I have worked on a variety of contemporary fiction and nonfiction, from novels and memoirs to mysteries and fantasy. I also edit children's board and picture books. When I'm not hanging out with my "six-pack" (four grown, very cool kids and dashing English-teacher husband), my most fulfilling moments are those spent on a couch with a cup of dark coffee and an editing pen (or mouse!) in hand helping writers perfect their work.
As my daughter would say, copyediting is “my jam.” It’s not only my profession but also my passion. I have a remarkably keen eye for typos and am a bloodhound when it comes to making sure the blue mitten on page 36 does not become a black one on page 272, that the young girl with a southern backwoods accent at the start of the novel doesn't begin to sound incongruously eloquent as the story progresses. I also have extensive experience revising awkward or unclear phrasing to make the language clear and accessible to readers from a variety of backgrounds. An equally important part of my role as a copy editor is fact-checking; I am assiduous in verifying terms and place-names with legitimate, vetted sources so that manuscripts are free of factual inaccuracies, whether it’s something as simple as the spelling of Dunkin’ Donuts or as obscure as the year the artichoke was first brought to the U.S. While some people get a brain thrill from playing the newest Fortnite or creating TikToks, I have fun looking up spellings in Merriam-Webster and Encyclopaedia Britannica and reading esoteric grammar points in The Chicago Manual of Style.
Part of my expertise comes from the fact that I have always been drawn to words and to books. A well-written book can challenge our beliefs or affirm them. A great novel or memoir or fantasy can take us outside of ourselves and offer new perspectives, send us on trips to new places, help us meet new people. (I walked around the house feeling as though my best friend had moved away when I finished Sena Jeter Naslund's superbly written novel Ahab's Wife [William Morrow, 2005]. What was Una up to?) And if, like me, you simply love to read, there's nothing quite as satisfying as a superbly crafted sentence. Ever considered Fitzgerald's description of "the sparkling odor of jonquils" in The Great Gatsby? Yowza. Or what about Fredrik Backman's apt description of our collective 21-century angst in his opening few paragraphs of Anxious People (Atria, 2020). Honest, if pretty darned sad—and also terrifically amusing. And if you haven't already, check out Lo Patrick's clever dialogue and vibrant metaphors from sassy-britches Kay in The Floating Girls (Sourcebooks, 2022). It's wickedly funny.
If you have found Reedsy, you are no doubt proud of the hard work YOU have done so far and want your book to find success once it leaves your hands. That's where I come in. If your manuscript is in need of a meticulous copy editor and proofreader, I will go through it with the proverbial fine-toothed comb, reading it thoroughly and thoughtfully to root out and correct basic spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. Readers should be able to enjoy your story seamlessly, without getting tripped up on a typo or mired in misspellings. Do you need more substantive comments about how to fix awkward phrasing or sticky syntax? l will offer suggestions for rewording, with detailed explanations about your narrative content, including plot and pacing as well as character development. Of course, every author has his/her/their own unique voice, and maintaining the author's creative intent—ensuring that the copy is free of errors and that it flows well from start to finish without being rigid or dogmatic about grammar and style—is central to any good copy editor's philosophy and success.
Regardless of the genre of writing or the target age group of your book, my job as your copy editor and proofreader is to help YOU offer a satisfying, successful, error-free reading experience to your audience.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Here is just a sampling of reviews I've received on my work:"I’ve hired Sara Walker many times as a copyeditor and proofreader for our books, and have found her to be a joy to work with. She is extraordinarily skilled and detail-oriented, a consummate professional, and always meets her deadlines. Any book she works on has been improved by her sharp eye." —Julia Abramoff, Publisher and Director of Editorial at Apollo Publishers
Copyedit and proofread fiction and nonfiction, including novels, memoirs, mysteries, historical fiction, and boxed calendars. Create title-specific style sheets and maintain house style, Chicago Manual, and MLA style. Fact-check, query, and revise unclear or inconsistent text. Ensure accuracy and consistency of typecoding.
Titles I copyedited and/or proofread in 2020–2022:
—Last but Not Leashed: A Veterinarian Cozy Mystery (Eileen Brady)
—The Night and Its Moon (Piper CJ)
—The Invincible Miss Cust (Penny Haw)
—Woman, Captain, Rebel: The Extraordinary True Story of a Daring Icelandic Sea Captain (Margaret Willson)
—The Last Housewife (Ashley Winstead)
—The Floating Girls (Lo Patrick)
—Widowland (C. J. Carey)
—And There He Kept Her (Joshua Moehling)
—The Next Ship Home: A Novel of Ellis Island (Heather Webb)
—The Woman Who Broke the Iron Curtain: How an American Journalist Brought the Truth about Communism to
the West (Katharine Gregorio)
—The Day He Left (Frederick Weisel)
—True Crime Story: What Happens to All the Girls Who Go Missing? (Joseph Knox)
—The Secret Next Door (Rebecca Taylor
—In Pursuit of Thomas Jefferson: Traveling Through Europe with the Most Perplexing Founding Father
—Dark Things I Adore (Katie Lattari)
—In Every Mirror She's Black (Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström)
—The Ones We Keep (Bobbie Jean Huff)
—In My Dreams I Hold a Knife (Ashley Winstead)
—Nantucket Penny (Steven Axelrod)
—History Channel Boxed Military Calendar
—To Die in Tuscany: A Rick Montoya Italian Mystery (David P. Wagner)
—It Cannoli Be Murder: A Culinary Cozy Mystery (Catherine Bruns)
—Three Single Wives (Gina Lamanna)
—The Bones Remember: An Alexa Glock Forensics Mystery (Sara E. Johnson)
—Saddled with Murder: A Veterinarian Cozy Mystery (Eileen Brady)
—Not My Boy (Kelly Simmons)
Copyedit and proofread fiction and nonfiction, including novels, memoirs, biographies, photo essays, cookbooks, and children’s books. Create title-specific style sheets and maintain house style, Chicago Manual, and MLA style. Fact-check, query, and revise unclear or inconsistent text. Ensure accuracy and consistency of typecoding.
Titles I copyedited or proofread in 2020–2022:
—That Time We Ate Our Feelings: 150 Recipes for Comfort Food from the Heart, from the Creators of the
Corona Kitchen (Lisa Lucas and Debrianna Mansini)
—Mapping America: The Incredible Story and Stunning Hand-Colored Maps and Engravings That Created
America (Jean-Pierre Isbouts and Neal Asbury)
—The Vet at Noah’s Ark: Stories of Survival from an Inner-City Animal Hospital (Dr. Doug Mader and Dr. Kevin T.
—Some Kids Left Behind: A Survivor’s Fight for Health Care in the Wake of 9/11 (Lila Nordstrom)
—It’s Not My Fault: A Pangolin Manifesto (Rachel Shaw)
—The Bonds We Share: Images of Humanity (Glenn Losack and Dr. Robi Ludwig)
—Salvador Dalí: How an Eccentric Genius Changed the Art World (Dr. Christopher Heath Brown)
—Finding Rhythm: An International Dance Journey (Aliénor Salmon)
—Words to Win By: The Slogans, Logos, and Designs of America’s Elections (Apollo)
Copyedit, fact-check, and proofread fiction and nonfiction, including cookbooks, novels, memoirs, biographies, literary anthologies, and graphic novels. Create title-specific style sheets and maintain house, Chicago Manual, and MLA style. Ensure accuracy and consistency of typecoding and indexing.
Titles I copyedited and/or proofread in 2009–2019:
—Lessons in Red (Maria Hummel)
—Looking for Miss America (Margot Mifflin)
—Infamy: How One Woman Brought an International Sex Trafficking Ring to Justice (Lydia Cacho)
—Dooby Lane: Also Known as Guru Road, A Testament Inscribed in Stone Tablets by DeWayne Williams (Gary
Snyder and Peter Goin)
—Democracy Betrayed: The Rise of the Surveillance Security State (William K. Keller)
—The Grass Flute Zen Master: Sodo Yokoyama (Arthur Braverman)
—Fading Hearts on the River: A Life in High-Stakes Poker (Brooks Haxton)
—Prague Summer (Jeffrey Condran)
—No Man’s War: Irreverent Confessions of an Infantry Wife (Angela Ricketts)
—River of Ink: Literature, History, Art (Thomas Christensen)
—On Highway 61: Music, Race, and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom (Dennis McNally)
—The Carry Home: Lessons from the American Wilderness (Gary Ferguson)
—The Chapel (Michael Downing)
—Our Town (Kevin Jack McEnroe)
—Red Lightning (Laura Pritchett)
—Surprise Attack: From Pearl Harbor to 9/11 to Benghazi (Larry Hancock)
—Mighty, Mighty (Wally Rudolph)
—The Baker’s Tale: Ruby Spriggs and the Legacy of Charles Dickens (Thomas Hauser)
—Penny Poet of Portsmouth: A Memoir of Place, Solitude, and Friendship (Katherine Towler)
—Modern Women Poets: An Anthology (Robert Hass and Paul Ebenkamp)
—Precious Cargo: How Foods From the Americas Changed The World (David DeWitt)
—Rake (Scott Phillips)
—The Last Pilgrimage: My Mother's Life and Our Journey to Saying Goodbye (Linda Daly)
—Dealing with the Devil: Inside America's Multi-Billion-Dollar Informant Industry (Dennis Fitzgerald)
—Bury This (Andrea Portes)
—The Hidden Assassination of JFK: The Definitive Account of the Most Controversial Crime of the Twentieth
Century (Lamar Waldrop)
—An Absorbing Errand: How Artists and Craftsmen Make Their Way to Mastery (Janna Malamud Smith)
—No Footprints: A Darcy Lott Mystery (Susan Dunlpa)
—The Ice Bridge (D. R. MacDonald)
—East Hill Farm: Seasons with Allen Ginsberg (Gordon Ball)
—Gilgamesh: A Graphic Novel (Andrew Winegarner)
—I Just Hitched in from the Coast: The Ed McClanahan Reader
—I, Judas (James Reich)
—Irrepressible: The Life and Times of Jessica Mitford (Leslie Brodie)
—Last of the Live Nude Girls: A Memoir (Sheila McLear)
—The Snow Tourist: A Search for the World's Purest, Deepest Snowfall (Charles English)
—Invisible Girls: :The Truth About Sexual Abuse: A Book for Teen Girls, Young Women, and Everyone Who Cares
About Them (Patti Feuereisen)
—She-Smoke: A Backyard Barbecue Book (Julie Reinhardt)
—Marrying George Clooney: Confessions from a Midlife Crisis (Amy Ferris)
—Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk (Tony Dushane)
—John Milton: A Hero of Our Time (David Hawkes)
Copyedited and proofread internationally recognized travel guides. Created title-specific style sheets and maintained house and Chicago Manual style. Line-edited and fact-checked, querying or revising unclear writing and faulty organization. Ensured consistency of typecoding.
Titles I copyedited and/or proofread include the following:
—Australia and New Zealand
—Baseball Parks of America
—Boston on the Weekend
—Guatemala, and Belize
—Disney and Southern California
—Great American Vacations
—Oregon Away from It All
—Pocket Martha’s Vineyard
—Road Guide North Carolina
—South’s Best B&Bs
—Where To Take the Kids – New England
Copyedited and proofread all features, monthly columns, and recipes from manuscript to blue lines. Assisted writers with line edits and rewrites. Wrote articles, captions, and subtitles for the contents page.
Spec’d, copyedited, and proofread articles while routing copy to beauty, health, fashion, and editorial departments.
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Kind, meticulous proofreader of trade nonfiction and literary fiction. I've worked on books from Algonquin Books, HarperCollins, and more.
A versatile book doctor whose years of experience as a writer and academic enhance his approach to editorial work and practical mentoring.