Developmental Editing

Do I need to hire a developmental editor? Are you writing a book or a this-will-change-my-life-if-written-well essay or article? Do you need expert but loving feedback that will bring out your voice?

As a 1) book author and journalist, 2) an editorial director, and 3) a developmental editor, I understand 1) how to write (and sell) a compelling book or essay, 2) what editors are looking for, and 3) how to get you to write what editors are looking for. I’ve worked on a TedX talk, New York Times essay, as well as hundreds of websites, articles, admissions essays and, more recently, several books. Plus, I am quite literally writing a book about finding your voice. According to my testimonials (scroll down; it’s good readin’), my magical brain’s superpower is ridiculously insightful feedback. Since my job is to peer into your very soul to help you express what’s in there — even when you can’t see it yourself — I do this with mountains of humor, compassion and fun.


  • Travel, culture, adventure
  • Humor, memoir, first-person voice
  • Non-fiction: history, science, psychology, journalism, health
  • Philosophy, spirituality
  • Personal essays, statements of purpose, arts fellowship applications, medical residency essays (specializing in non-native English speakers)

I can edit almost any type of non-fiction, including fairly technical science and technology. I’ve never edited fiction, but am writing my first novel. Go ahead and try me.

Why Hire Alex I’ve got a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley, where I studied copyediting, long-form writing, travel writing and radio. I’ve taught Finding Your Voice workshops and classes since 2006 for Lonely Planet, World Nomads, at a women’s leadership conference and on my own in the United States, Australia, Germany, the UK, Morocco, and China (and on an adventure cruise ship to Alaska), and have worked with hundreds of students, private clients, interns and employees, helping them find their voice. I’m a member of the Northwest Editors Guild. I spent year studying comedy, improv and memoir at The Second City, where I found my voice performing standup.

Method I’ve developed a unique and unconventional method to help writers and non-writers not only find their unique voice, but develop the passion needed to express themselves or share their topic of interest through writing. I’m on the ten-year plan to turn this into a book and workbook.

Cost In line with the Freelance Editors Association rates.


After my agent sent my memoir manuscript out on submission, and we received lots of compliments but no offers, I had this nagging feeling that there was still something to be done with the book. Enter Alex and her magical brain (work with her for more than 10 minutes and you’ll know what I mean). Alex was able to articulate my nagging feeling with insightful feedback that instantly resonated, and gave me hilarious and constructive point-by-point direction on how to tackle a revision. I know that no stone has been left unturned, and it’s a measurably better book than when it first went out on submission.

Laura Zera

Author and contributor to DAME MagazineThe Washington PostCatapult and others

Read more testimonials from writers, clients and students.