Few readers know this, but I am a full-time accountant. I had always loved writing and journaling a lot when I was younger, and that habit of expressing my thoughts on paper has stuck with me and developed over the years into writing novels. Writing gets me out of my spreadsheet world and allows me to dive into my creativity. 

I knew I wanted to write a contemporary romance novel, so one evening, I asked my husband to take over dinner so that I could spend time and focus on writing down a few things I had been rolling around in my head. That night, alone in my bedroom, I wrote a minimal outline of how I wanted the story to develop. This became my first book, Coming In From the Outfield. 

Once the manuscript was finished, I knew I needed help looking at my writing differently, someone who could see the errors I couldn’t as a first-time writer. I had captured the characters and story I wanted to share but needed help with the tempo and scene setting. As much as I appreciated feedback from family, I wanted an experienced eye, someone who had a deep knowledge of contemporary romance. I had nothing to hide and everything to gain by obtaining an editor and truly investing in my project. 

I loved that Reedsy offered the opportunity to search for experienced editors and read reviews from authors who had previously worked with them. I ultimately chose Rachel Stout — mainly based on her initial feedback and willingness to work with a new writer. 

Rachel Stout's past projects
Some of Rachel Stout's past projects


When I first approached her, Rachel took the time to explain the different types of editing services she could provide and shared her professional opinion on what I needed to tackle first. Namely, she suggested an editorial assessment combined with a thorough developmental edit. As time would tell, this was exactly what I needed, and I knew from Rachel’s communication style that she would be the perfect fit.

An editor who understood my book

I was initially very nervous to work with an editor. I had terrible thoughts of my manuscript being returned to me with almost every word thrown out or covered in tons of red marks. But I also knew an editor could help with many of my worries. To grow this story to its full potential, I was ready to put all my effort into our collaboration — no matter how many pen caps I anxiously chewed up. 

My fears were quickly allayed. Rachel was very responsive to my concerns, and I constantly felt like she had the best intentions for my novel. At the end of the collaboration, she returned the manuscript with her heavy edits and an eight-page editorial review. She was straight to the point with her improvements, which I sincerely appreciated. 

With her experience in the romance genre, Rachel helped support my slow-burn writing style, making sure that readers would still be hooked for the entire book. She knew exactly where to trim off the excess so the story would come alive on the page. Good editors have a way of pulling out the hidden gems buried deep in the manuscript. It’s sort of like peeling the onion; the story shines brighter.

New book, new editor?

Coming In From the Outfield turned out to be a success. As a first-time author, I had modest expectations but I was stunned by the immediate sales and the number of positive reviews I received. I got a lot of engagement from readers, and I still occasionally get fan mail about that book! 

Reviews for Coming in From the Outfield

About six months later, I finished writing my second book, Kate’s Whisper. It was quite different from my first book — it’s a thriller following Kate Jacobson, an FBI agent with an almost supernatural intuition. 

When I finished, I once again started searching for editors. The more profiles I looked at though, the more I couldn’t stop thinking about the great chemistry Rachel and I had during the editing of Coming in From the Outfield. It wasn’t a guarantee I would find that with another editor. I was nervous to engage in a different genre, and it helped that I knew what to expect from Rachel. 

With that first book, she became invested in my characters and plot and knew how to give all of it good direction. She worked with my writing style, finding the best ways to make my characters come to life and keep the slow burn pace I favor. In the end, I decided to see if that magic would work again on my next novel and took the plunge to hire Rachel again. 

I’m really happy I did. She helped build more intrigue and suspense into the narrative, while keeping my authentic style and voice. Throughout the process, she was extremely supportive, and it was nice to hear that she noticed the elevation in my writing style in the second book. She helped me develop as a writer and kept true to what I wanted the reader to enjoy.

While thriller isn’t her normal genre, above all Rachel understands the importance of story, pace, and tension — things that are important whether you’re writing romance or thriller. But above all, she knows the importance of voice — something that was apparent from her feedback on my romance novel.

With Rachel’s help, I learned that — with a little hard work — I could turn my hand to write in a different genre. I have the writing skills to pull off both the intrigue and mystery of a thriller and the meet-cute of a romance. She understood me and encouraged me to keep going and see how my writing style developed. 

It just goes to show that if you have confidence and a good editor in your corner, you can conquer any genre.

This book was made with help from Rachel Stout

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