Nancy Doherty, Editor and Writer

Offering help and resources for writers, agents, and publishers

Every aspiring writer needs a good editor.

Every accomplished writer deserves a good editor.

I’m an enthusiastic, meticulous editor and writer with many years of experience in developmental and substantive editing, rewriting, and copyediting for magazines, trade publishers, and academic presses. I work with writers from the proposal stage through first drafts, crises of confidence, and rewrites, up until the last period or footnote is in place.  I also offer expert critiquing of works in progress. Fiction, poetry, nonfiction ranging from literary criticism to cooking to true crime: I’m comfortable with just about any subject, as long as it doesn’t involve equations.

Please email me at to discuss your needs and my rates. I’m happy to provide references.

What some of my clients have to say:

“Nancy is a skilled editor, with a gift for drawing out deeper meaning and homing in on the bigger picture from early drafts. She is a meticulous copyeditor, and her feedback is honest and insightful. She also reliably meets deadlines. Nancy can thoughtfully discuss content as well as form, which I believe will help my book, Surviving Collapse (Oxford University Press, 2021), reach a broader audience. I would turn to no one else for future editing needs.” –Prof. Christina Ergas, University of Tennessee, Sociology

“Nancy Doherty has a brilliant eye for both form and content in writing. Though she is an impeccable proofreader, she goes much further, asking critical questions about what you really want to say as an author and why. She holds the whole of your project in mind as she considers each part, which is difficult for an author to do while in the throes of completing a book manuscript. Given her professional expertise, wide-ranging intellectual interests, and broad literary engagement, she asks penetrating questions that force you as a writer to rethink and hone to precision both your prose and argument. Her consistency in meeting deadlines makes it easy to develop a pace of work and plan with confidence. For all of these reasons, working with Nancy as I completed my book, Dust Bowls of Empire (Yale University Press, 2018), was one of the most stimulating and pleasurable experiences I’ve had as an author. I hope I have the good fortune of working with her again.” —Hannah Holleman, Amherst College, Sociology and Environmental Studies


“Nancy was recommended to me by a best-selling author. She was a joy to work with. The clarity she brought to the manuscript was more than I could have imagined. She encouraged me, and challenged me when I needed it, but most of all she was a guiding force that allowed me to articulate my message more clearly to the reader. I can’t wait to collaborate with her again!” –Kevin Murphy, The Three Rooms, River Grove Books, 2018.


“In my experience, Nancy Doherty is the most competent, compassionate and dedicated editor in her field. She has the unique ability to provide both vision and precision with the written word, while challenging her authors to become the best they can be!” –Susan M. Hoskins, Molly’s Rocker, Outskirts Press, 2017 and The Way of the One, 2019.

“Nancy is a true wordsmith. Her deft and sensitive editorial touch would be an invaluable asset to any manuscript.”–Prof. Miguel Basanez, A World of Three Cultures, Oxford University Press, 2015.

“I’m a writer who has needed a lot of help from editors. Nancy was my final editor for my novel, The Bookie’s Son. She was extremely helpful in her overall edit and meticulous in her line by line edits, continually improving each sentence.” — Andrew Goldstein, The Bookie’s Son, SixOneSeven Books, 2012.

“Nancy was a delight to work with as editor of Hippie, Inc. She had an intuitive sense of where my book needed to go, made changes that I would have missed, and provided a copy that was dead-on target for my audience. She was awfully nice to work with, too!”  –Prof. Michael Klassen, Hippie, Inc, SixOneSeven Books, 2015.

“Nancy transformed my manuscript. Before her I had an interesting though inconsistent story. After her I had a flowing, stylish story which, because of her Midas touch, quickly sold in an auction between major publishers. Nancy is a forthright, judicious, tenacious, funny and brilliant editor. Brilliant.”  –Brooke Newman, Jenniemae and James, Crown Harmony, 2010.

“Nancy came recommended to us by a renowned publishing executive.  She exceeded all of our expectations.  Not only was she meticulous, thoughtful and creative in her edits, she was also reliable, flexible, fully engaged and a pleasure to work with.  We want to write another book just to get the chance to work with her again!  “–Drs. Amir Levine and  Rachel Frankel,  Attached, Tarcher/Penguin, 2010.

“The best and most helpful editor of my career.”  –Julius Gyula Fábos, much-honored professor emeritus of landscape architecture and author of the memoir Son of a Kulák, iUniverse Rising Star, 2010.

“Nancy Doherty is an invaluable asset for any writer, whether aspiring or established. Her editing and analytical skills are superb.” —Mark Seal, nonfiction author.

“Nancy Doherty’s editing, in my experience, has been superb.”   Sterling Lord, literary agent for Jack Kerouac, Jimmy Breslin, Erica Jong, Gloria Naylor and countless other accomplished authors.

“Nancy Doherty, editor extraordinaire.”  Joe McGinniss Jr., The Delivery Man, Grove/Atlantic, 2008.

“Editor Nancy Doherty breathed insight and precision into my book.  Her abilities, care, and interest greatly improved the manuscript.”  Bill Israel, A Nation Seized: How Karl Rove and the political right stole reality, beginning with the newsMarquette Books, 2011.

“During the past 25 years,  I have worked with a number of editors on the eight books that I have produced.   While they were all talented and reliable, Nancy Doherty stands out. Aside from her superb command of English, she has a broad, inquiring mind that both captures  the writer’s intent and assures fidelity to  the writer’s words.  She also possesses the good judgment and tact necessary to deal successfully with writers from varied cultural and professional backgrounds.”  –Lawrence Harrison, founder of the Cultural Change Institute at Tufts University and author of The Central Liberal TruthCulture Matters, and other books on world culture.

“I want to thank Nancy Doherty, my sophisticated and sensitive editorial consultant.” — Peggy O’Brien, poet and author of Writing Lough Derg, Syracuse University Press, 2006.

“The best editor I’ve ever worked with.” —Joe McGinniss, author of The Rogue (Crown, 2012)Fatal VisionThe Selling of the Presidentand many other bestselling nonfiction books. (Admittedly, Joe was my husband. But I was unsparing with him and he did take 99 percent of my suggestions.)

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