This is a full evaluation of your manuscript, as an editor at a publishing house would do for you. I make notes throughout in track changes and create an editorial letter to show my overall impressions. We then schedule a phone call to go over my notes, and you have the ability to follow up afterward–up to an hour of my time–so you’re not totally alone with it.
Query letter review
Query letters are difficult to write on your own–you’re so close to the work! I can edit your letter or help you create one and give you pointers on what will capture an agent’s interest.
Finding an agent
For authors whose work I have edited and I feel the manuscript is ready for an agent’s eyes, I will help match make with my many contacts in the agent world. Representation is never guaranteed, though I have helped many of my clients find an agent.
Building your platform/social media
I can help walk you through the process so that you understand what a publisher will be looking for in an author’s online presence. I can also recommend independent publicity and marketing experts who can help supplement your efforts.
How I work
For a developmental edit, I read your finished manuscript three times: once to get a sense of the story, next to make overall notes and cuts, last to make smaller tweaks and poke holes where necessary. All the while, I make notes on a separate document, which will become my editorial letter.
Once I’ve finished my read (generally 3-4 weeks), I’ll contact you to set up a phone call so we can go over everything before I send you your edited manuscript and editorial letter (I edit in track changes unless you prefer hard copy). I’m then available via email or phone should you need me to clarify my notes or if you want to brainstorm ideas with me.
My goal is to give you the editorial tools you need to create the best book possible. I know being alone with the work can feel tiring and frustrating, so I’m here to help you through the process.
"I loved working with Heather on my novels. Her keen eye helped me cut where I needed to, elaborate what I hadn’t covered, and tell the stories I was meant to tell. Working with her was a true partnership and I always felt I was in very capable hands through the editorial process to publication and beyond!"− Michelle Moran, national bestselling author of Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, Cleopatra’s Daughter, Madame Tussaud, The Second Empress, and Rebel Queen
"I felt so lucky to have Heather Lazare as my editor. She had an incredible ability to hone in on places in my manuscript that I wanted to believe were done, but really needed more attention. I benefited from her insightful comments on everything from story, plot, character, and psychology to the minutest details of language. Heather is a joy to work with—always quick to respond, thorough, good-humored, honest without being cruel, respectful of my vision, and passionate about helping me bring the manuscript to its fullest potential."− Stephanie Lehman, author of Astor Place Vintage
"Heather’s knowledge of the industry and her contacts with literary agents are an asset to any author who works with her. Her editorial acumen will add value to the projects she engages. Over the years, I have thoroughly enjoyed partnering with Heather. Her advocacy on behalf of authors, her excellent taste, and her boundless enthusiasm make our ventures a pleasure."− Meg Ruley, Literary Agent, Jane Rotrosen Agency
"Heather Lazare is amazing to work with—sharp and demanding, always respectful, and able to cut to the heart of a story. Heather edited three of my novels and pushed me to do my best writing and tell the fullest, most beautiful stories I could. From line edits to overall structure and theme to back cover copy to publicity, she worked passionately to bring each book to life. I very much hope to work with Heather again, and can't imagine a better person to work with on your own project."− Carolyn Turgeon, author of Godmother, Mermaid, and The Fairest of Them All
"Heather Lazare's (no relation!) enthusiasm for working with writers is matched only by her perspective on the market at large. She always sees the big picture of where a book fits on the shelf, while never forgetting the small details: namely, the book itself. She's supportive of her authors, and confident in pushing them to improve each and every page of a manuscript."− Dan Lazar, Literary Agent, Writers House
"Heather is the dream editor—she is an insightful line editor AND knowledgeable about history. She knows what a historical novel needs to accomplish based on her experience acquiring and editing books at two major publishers and her passion for fiction. Heather ALWAYS communicates with thoughtfulness and sensitivity. I looked forward to talking to her and working on my books with her. She acquired and edited my second novel The Chalice and it went on to garner positive reviews and the award for Best Historical Novel of 2013 from the Romantic Times Reviewers. Heather is a big reason I won that award!"− Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown and The Chalice
"Working with Heather Lazare was always a pleasure. From her intimate knowledge of the publication process to her savvy skills with an excel grid, she balanced both the business and editorial sides of publishing seamlessly. Beyond that, Heather’s interaction with her colleagues and her industry connections made her an indispensable member of our team."− Tina Pohlman, Publisher, Open Road Integrated Media
I began my publishing career as an assistant at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency in Del Mar, California. After living and teaching in Aix-en-Provence, France, and managing a clothing store in Carmel, California I moved to New York to work as an editorial assistant for the Crown Publishing Group (Random House). I worked for Random House for five years and was then offered the job of Senior Editor at Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone imprint. In 2013, my husband and I made the decision to move back to California to be closer to our families as we started our own family; we now have two small children, both book lovers.
Today, I edit adult fiction, with particular emphasis on historical fiction, women’s fiction, literary fiction, contemporary romance, mysteries, and thrillers. LGBTQ+ and BIPOC writers and themes are of particular interest.
I am the co-founder of Northern California Writers’ Retreat, five days of writing and workshops in Carmel Valley every March. We’ll be back in person again for 2023! Learn more at: norcalwritersretreat.com.