C. S. Lakina novel life
C. S. Lakin headshot

"Our lives are shaped from the books we read; therefore, the most valuable job to both publisher and author is their editor. Editor Susanne Lakin is a gifted wordsmith, coach, and mentor. Our authors have grown and learned from Susanne's professional editorial direction without losing their voice. As a small book publisher, we are grateful to Susanne for always completing projects ahead of schedule and under budget."

~ Alice Nicholas, publisher of Pecan Row Press

"Without Susanne Lakin's expert editing, expertise on how a book should be put together, and her special literary insights, I would not have my newest novel, Love, Sometimes, with an agent and a film option. I ant can't wait to give her the rest of my books. Not only is she a great writer, but she's a rare combination, also knowing how to edit."

~ Barbara Rose Brooker, author of The Viagra Diaries

"Susanne is a terrific editor who treated me more like a friend than a client. She is talented, thorough and returns work on time. More than this, she is sympathetic to both writer and reader. For the sake of your readers she'll point out your mistakes and bad habits. For your sake she'll do it gently."

~ Daniel Schwabauer, author of Runt the Brave and The Curse of the Seer

"Susanne's insight and eye for detail have, on numerous occasions, taken my manuscripts from mediocre to good, from good to better, from better to my personal best. She offers both honesty and encouragement, and acts as a cheerleader for her clients - urging them on to excellence."

~ Renae Brumbaugh, author of Filling Up My Lap

"Susanne's editing helped me to see many of my repeated mistakes. Not only did she edit my first book but she helped to make my book proposal the best it could be. She is thorough and turns the work around in a timely fashion. She is friendly and courteous making me feel like I have gained a friend."

~ Deb Blough, author of How Sovereign is Your God?

"Susanne's editing gave me an objective, blimp-over-the-parade view of my book. With an encouraging touch, she caught my bad habits and flubs. As a bonus, Susanne uses her extra-extrovert personality to brag on the writers she edits to her publishing contacts."

~ Ann Lee Miller, author of Sailing the Shoals

“Susanne is always accessible and eager to help. With years of writing experience and several books already tucked into the completed file, she comes at the craft of writing with a toolbelt full of knowledge and creativity. She tackles editing with the heart of a mentor. One aspect I especially appreciate in the help I've received from Susanne is her dedication, which translates into always finishing the job. I would highly recommend her.”

~ Catherine Leggitt, author of Misery’s Company

"Susanne Lakin gives a balanced and thorough edit—encouraging yet identifying the flaws and weak areas of the manuscript. If you're looking to improve your manuscript and grow as a writer, I recommend Susanne's editing services."

~ Sarah S.

Editing Services

Click here to see a sampling of clients' books edited by C. S. Lakin

Editing Philosophy

I apologize to all who know this well-worn quote from Groucho Marx, but here it is anyway:

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."

The journey of writing a book can be just as dark as the inside of a dog, but then, I have never journeyed to the innards of such a creature. Maybe, upon arriving there I would find a bright light to guide my way. That would sure be nice, especially navigating those miles of intestines!

So it is with the writing journey. OK, I am a little more crass than Anne Lamott at describing the writer's journey (See Bird By Bird), but the struggles of mastering the craft of writing take not just time but assistance. At least in my opinion. Some writers do just fine without any feedback or critiquing at all. Or so I'm told. Haven't met one yet. So, the wonderful part of being an editor for another writer is in holding up that lamp along those slippery paths so the writer can get a better footing. And if you happen to chance on the "exit" sign that leads out of that dark, convoluted place and into some fresh air and sunlight, then woohoo! You both get to dance on the tickly grass with your bare feet.

If you need someone to polish your manuscript and fix all those pesky commas, hyphens, and clunky sentences, or if you want help examining how you are telling your story, concerned about elements such as pacing, character development, structuring chapters, scenes, building tension, epiphanies, and denouements (OK, I used to not know what those last two words meant too!) and want someone to delve deep into the heart of your story and come back out with encouraging, constructive feedback, then let me help you. I love great characters and feel they are what drives your story. If you are writing nonfiction, you'll need to still have a unique voice that stands out, that reflects the passion you feel for your subject without boring your audience to tears.

So, now I'll rewrite Groucho: "Outside of a book, a dog is man's best friend. Inside of a book . . . well, it looks a whole lot better than the inside of a dog."

Services Overview


My overall assessment of your manuscript will address plot and character development strengths and weaknesses. I will point out areas where improvement is needed and offer general suggestions. No changes are made to your manuscript. A full explanation and pricing of all critique services can be found at my website www.critiquemymanuscript.com


My preference when editing your manuscript is to do a twofold service: first a content edit (which is basically a copyedit), followed by a proofread (after final changes are made by the author).


  • Spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors
  • Incorrectly structured sentences
  • Letter, sentence, and paragraph spacing
  • Misspelled words
  • Manuscript formatting
  • Typographical errors


  • Passive voice or weak construction
  • Conflict/tension
  • Descriptions and narrative
  • Inconsistencies and repetition
  • Pacing
  • Clunky or unclear passages
  • Plot issues
  • Point-of-view problems
  • Poor word choice
  • Showing vs. telling
  • Awkward, stiff, or inappropriate dialogue
  • Redundancies
  • Sentence clarity/structure

Format and Payment


I accept electronic submissions only (any version of Word). Please ensure that all work is formatted in Times New Roman font and double-spaced. Electronic submissions are edited with the Microsoft Word® Track Changes feature. All changes or suggestions within the document are marked in color for easy recognition. Track Changes allows you to accept or reject any suggested changes. I am happy to help you with fomatting your manuscript correctly.


For editing, once services are contracted, an estimated 50 percent of payment is due at the start of the editing work. The balance will be due at completion of the project. Please contact me directly for rates and information on my editing or critique services.