I work with writers at all stages of artistic development, and in all phases of the work’s generation and revision, though I particularly love immersing myself in full drafts of memoirs-in-progress to refine the narrative drive and shape of book-length projects.
In editing shorter works, I read your piece three times, then provide margin notes and a minimum two-page (single-spaced) editorial letter. That letter becomes the foundation for an hour-long live conversation about your work, after you have several days to digest the initial feedback.
Generally, for book-length manuscripts, I read the work twice, then provide margin notes and a minimum eight-page editorial letter. We then have a series of three two-hour conversations about the feedback and your next steps over the course of three months. Our first conversation is dedicated to developing your revision plan. During the next two conversations, we check in on how your revision plan is working, and together refine and adjust it. To aid these conversations, I read up to 40 pages of revised material. Often I also recommend craft articles and model books tailored to the writer’s developing style and the book’s individual needs, and we discuss these readings to aid in acquiring the techniques needed to make your work the book you want it to be.
I understand that each writer’s needs and revision process are highly individual, and though these are my standard ways of working I am flexible about developing editing contracts that serve your needs best.
My general rate for editorial work is $8 per double-spaced, 12 point font page.
In all cases, I defer to the author’s authority as an artist and creator, while offering candid thoughts on structure and language, and engaging in deep conversation with the writer to help her find her most inspired solutions. If you are interested in editorial services, please contact me at rachel dot howard at gmail dot com. I am happy to provide samples of my editorial letters and margin comments to help you discern whether I am the right editor for your work.
As Editorial Director at Shebooks, I have been fortunate to be able to rely on Rachel Howard as a thorough, sensitive editor who is as skilled at developmental editing as she is at nitty-gritty line editing. All of our authors who have worked with Rachel have been delighted that she helped them make their work much better, and that she was such a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend her for both fiction and non-fiction editing, long projects as well as shorter essays. She’s a gem!
Laura Fraser, editorial director, Shebooks
Rachel Howard is a master at coaching the writer, whether you are a beginning or advanced writer. If it weren’t for Rachel Howard, I would not have a published book. She encouraged me to be my most honest self, which translated into better writing and my best storytelling, ever. Rachel knows when to give you tough love and compassion, while validating your experience and process. On many occasions from my readers, I was told that my book stands out with them because it’s so well tied together – the pace and tone are catchy, exactly enough detail to feel immersed but not too much detail to feel bored. I felt so comfortable with Rachel. She is down to earth and very pleasant. Her presence made my telling an intense story an enriching and great experience. She helped me feel whole as a person and as a writer.
Saeeda Hafiz – author of The Healing: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Yoga
A few examples of client and student achievements:
- Richard Gilbert’s Shepherd: A Memoir published by Michigan State University Press
- Dr. Vanessa Grubb’s Hundreds of Interlaced Fingers: A Kidney Doctor’s Search for the Perfect Match published by Amistad
- Saeeda Hafiz’s The Healing: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Yoga won an eLit Book Award
- Albert Flynn DeSilver’s memoir Beamish Boy reviewed in The Rumpus
- Mary Smather’s Fertile Soil: Stories of the California Dream self-published
- Robert Rubino’s essay “Spinning Shame into Nostalgia” named runner-up in Hippocampus Magazine’s Creative Nonfiction Contest
- Students accepted into MFA programs at Warren Wilson College, Bennington, Colorado State University, Arizona State University, California College of Arts