Do you need a book coach to help you complete your book? Do you have a polished manuscript that you want edited before you submit it to agents or publishers? Do you plan to self-publish? Whether you’re on the first draft or final draft of your project, I can help. I offer:
- Manuscript Evaluation
- Developmental Editing
- Line Editing (Copyediting)
I am a former newspaper editor who specializes in book consultation and editing. With fourteen years’ editing experience, I have worked with dozens of authors of fiction and nonfiction manuscripts, including novels, memoirs, nonfiction books, and PhD dissertations. I hold a BA in English from UCLA and an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College in Oakland. For a list of my publishing credits, visit my Writing page.
Do you have a concept, a book proposal, or a rough draft that you would like evaluated before moving forward? I will provide a one- to two-page typed evaluation that includes whether I think the project is viable, general suggestions for improving the manuscript, and advice on how to proceed.
During this process, I give the author detailed feedback on plot, character development, point of view, structure, pacing, concept, tone, continuity, language, and more. My edits and comments are provided in Tracking Changes, so the author can accept or reject them as desired.
With an eagle eye for detail, I correct grammatical, typographical, spelling, and punctuation errors while suggesting improvements to the writing to avoid repetition, improve word choice, and enhance clarity. This service can be coupled with a developmental edit or contracted as a standalone service.
All fees are calculated on an hourly basis. An estimate will be provided in advance.
“Meghan Ward is my essential last step before I deliver my work to an editor. Even professional writers need a careful eye to spot errors and glitches, and Meghan is that eye for me. She finds the missing words, the awkward phrasing, the excessive commas. She sometimes even suggests turns of phrase that make my work even better. I whole-heartedly recommend her services.”
-Julia Scheeres, author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Jesus Land
“I had already sold my India-Hong Kong memoir to St. Martin’s Press when I asked Meghan to work with me. Having read her work, I knew she was a terrific writer with a great sense of humor who understood how to develop character and story. Meghan reviewed my manuscript swiftly and carefully. With great skill, respect for literature and insight into the publishing marketplace, Meghan gave me much needed support for everything that worked well in my book. But she also told me what didn’t work, what I didn’t want to hear but certainly needed to hear about my narrative, and she offered me excellent suggestions about my narrative arc, tone, characters and global themes. Even my St. Martin’s editor said that Meghan was not only a great friend but also a great editor. I will definitely work with Meghan on my next book.”
-Alison Singh Gee, author of Where the Peacocks Sing: A Palace, A Prince, and the Search for Home
“I sent my novel manuscript to Meghan Ward on a relatively tight schedule, with very specific expectations. Meghan agreed to accept the work, utterly unflustered. In fact, she was always super professional in all our back and forth once she was working in the document. She was sharp-minded, detail oriented, but also kind of cool the way she would offer genuine affection for characters and scenes outside the focus of her edits. You want someone handling your work to get what you are trying to accomplish, to appreciate the art of your ambition, especially when you surrender your text for them to slice and dice, to dissect its meaning and intention, make you and your story smarter. Meghan is precisely that sort of savvy editor — a real soulful pro, whom I intend to work with from here on out.”
-Joe Loya, author of the critically acclaimed memoir, The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell
“A gifted writer herself, Meghan also has a natural talent for shaping and polishing other s work. Editors tend to excel on either the micro or macro level but Meghan is the rare person who can do both. She will pinpoint awkward sentences and minor inconsistencies, but she is also excellent at offering advice on larger issues such as pacing, tone, and narrative arc. By seeing exactly what needed fixing in my novel, she saved me months of work, and helped me transform it from a rough draft into something I can be proud of.”
-Helena Echlin, author of Gone
“Meghan took a look at my manuscript, which was having structural issues. She helped me get a handle on the larger plot movements, and was brutally honest about elements that were predictable or ineffective. After months and years of looking at the pages myself, her keen editorial eye was exactly what I needed!”
– Shanthi Sekaran, author of The Prayer Room
“What Meghan brought to the process of bringing my novel to fruition was invaluable. The line between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ with a publisher is what makes all the difference obviously. What Meghan did was make that ‘yes’ much easier for nervous publishers. She asked the big questions about plot, character, and arcs while always remaining conscious of my novel’s experimentation with convention. For a book like mine, which asks the reader to come along for a ride where she’ll do half the work, it was essential to have each sentence as clear as possible. This is where Meghan made the biggest difference. She pressed for clarity within the book’s sometimes ambiguous world. That is a big reason why I handed over a manuscript that was clean, ready, and able to get that elusive ‘yes.'”
-Ryan Elliot Wilson, author of Spiral Bound Brother
“I’ve been through 5 editors who didn’t workout before I found Meghan. She’s brilliant! I make my living as a novelist and Megan works on all of my releases. The best part about her, aside from her skill level, is that she is NOT a diva. So many editors want to put their “voice” into the work, to get their finger prints on the manuscript. Meghan does superior quality work without ego. She just wants my books to be polished. I have used her on six books.”
-Brian Meeks, author of Underwood, Scotch and Cry
“Thank you so much for your great work on this project. You are one of the few people (other than us) who will have read through the many pages of this tome! It was a pleasure working with you. You improved our book literally one page at a time.”
-Jerilyn Castillo and Peter McAnniff, authors of The Practitioner’s Guide to Investment Banking: Mergers & Acquisitions
“Meghan’s editing skills are impeccable. She has an eagle eye for detail, and an expert’s knowledge of grammar, punctuation, and style. But more impressive than her copyediting skills is Meghan’s gift for language. Her suggestions greatly improved the flow and readability of my manuscript, and converted a pretty good book into a bestseller candidate. She did a magnificent job, and I would highly recommend her to anyone looking to get published. She is a pleasure to work with, and worth every penny.”
-Didier Perennez, author of Lunchtime Millionaire
“Meghan is a knowledgeable editor who gives thorough, insightful feedback. She gave me great suggestions for improving Rising Shadow and taught me a lot about fiction-writing conventions along the way, including story arc, character development, and voice, as well as other tips and tricks for ensuring that my book was as polished and professional as it could be. You need only look at her blog to see the depth and breadth of her experience and her commitment to the art of writing. I highly recommend her services.”
-Jacquelyn Wheeler, author of Rising Shadow and Merger