The world needs your story in order to be complete —Anne Jackson

Tara provides freelance developmental editing for fiction and narrative non-fiction book manuscripts. Developmental editing focuses on the big picture—plot, pacing, character development, and more—while also addressing the mechanics of the writing. The focus is always on how to strengthen the work while remaining true to the author’s vision and intent.

With over fifteen years experience in the field, working at both a publishing company and a literary agency, Tara brings an industry perspective to the projects she takes on. She is able to provide an insider perspective on the agent/publisher/author dynamic and can help authors navigate the often confusing publishing process. For more information, availability, and project rates, please email Tara here.

Read an interview with Tara about the role of a developmental editor.

Editorial Endorsements

In my work as a publishing consultant I have referred a number of writers to Tara for her editorial services—both fiction and nonfiction. They have all been uniformly pleased with her professionalism, diligence, and skill. Even the pickiest of them called me afterwards to rave about her. 

 —Kevin Smokler

Your comments were so well thought out, thorough, incredibly useful, and beautifully put. The things you wrote were just so interesting and important. Some of the points are things I was already aware were weaknesses, but hearing it in the way you put it made me think about them in a new way and see new solutions. 

In all ways, you opened doors for me and I appreciate your skill. I see that you truly are a development editor and I appreciate your gift as an editor. The work you did is very clear and I would like to continue to work with you. You are my editor for life!

 —Marianne Manilov

I am so happy that I hired you. You exceeded expectations. You took a rough manuscript and, without beating me up, helped turn it into a novel worth reading. I would recommend you to any writer that is serious about turning out a professionally written book. —John Hoda

Tara is a fantastic content editor. She has the ability to take your writing and suggest changes that will make it sound better than you ever imagined, all the while maintaining your original idea and intent. Not only that, she’s a lot of fun to work with. I highly recommend her.

 —Violeta Richards

Working with Tara has been a wonderful experience for me. Keen-eyed and compassionate, Tara was able to not only identify places to strengthen my work, but did so in a way that was critical without being criticizing. For writers who are looking to work with someone who knows her business as well as “the” business, Tara is a great resource.

 —Angie Powers

Not only did working with Tara help me see my book in a new light, she was also very supportive, talking and walking me through a complete rewrite. My manuscript had been read by friends, family and fellow writers, but no one had the knowledge of the publishing world that Tara brought to the table. She gave me a clear idea of my options, and advice that was key to helping me connect with my first choice publisher. I can’t recommend her enough. 

 —Steve Turney

As a fiction writer I felt a bit anxious about working with Tara, due to her strong nonfiction background. As soon as I began to work with her, however, my apprehension vanished. Tara’s valid and clear edits were always delivered in a nurturing and teaching manner. With her sharp editor’s eye and understanding of multicultural and generational issues, she helped me shape my novel into a marketable commodity. But more importantly, she helped me arrive at a place where I am happy with it.

 —Lian Gouw

Tara is my literary fairy godmother! She was able to zero in on issues within my manuscript that two years spent working with a good writing group had not found. Not only that, she suggested various ways to solve them that respected the integrity of my story. She also helped me through submitting to agents, holding my hand and giving me advice that proved invaluable. I wouldn’t be where I am today—with an agent I love, about to submit to publishers—without her help and insight.

 —Renee Hollander

Tara Austen Weaver is a rock star developmental editor, and her  clear  comments and frank advice guided me through the overhaul of  my book-length narrative. I’ve never used an editor before, so naturally I was uncertain about shelling out money for a stranger’s help, but man was it worth it. Her ten-page, single-spaced feedback cut to the core of my project, and the one hour follow up call was hugely helpful and motivating. Finally, I feel  like my  manuscript’s ready for the big leagues. —Mike Pugh