Developmental Editing for Nonfiction Popular Books



February 26 – March 29, 2024


This is a semi-synchronous, instructor-led online class

How much?

$279 USD

Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Designed for new and working editors who want training in the skills of developmental editing of nonfiction books in the areas of self-help, health and wellness, personal growth, teaching memoirs, etc. Experience is not required.

Starts: February 26, 2024

This 5-week class is semi-synchronous. Each week’s module will be uploaded at the beginning of the week. There are live office hours, held by Zoom, on March 7 and March 28 at 6:30pm Eastern.

Price: $279

The five lessons in this class, along with the office hours in weeks 2 and 5, cover what you need to know to succeed as a developmental editor of books in this genre. 

Instructor-Led Content

Class consists of recorded lectures with instructor voiceover, handouts and links, weekly assignments, and two office hours with your instructor. 24/7 class forum where you get to know fellow students and ask questions of your instructor.

Is This Class for You?

  • Do you stop reading a book because it’s so poorly organized, you feel like your head is spinning?
  • Do you read a line and say to yourself: I could have said that so much better! 
  • Do you love the process of creative writing and want to use your ability to improve books for authors who will pay you well to do so?

If so, you could be putting your natural aptitude to work for you as a freelance developmental editor. Find out in this class!

(Not sure which of the 7 different kinds of editor you are? Take our free Book Editor Profile Quiz.)

Class Information

This class is a skills training in the art and business of developmental editing for nonfiction popular books (not technical, medical, or academic books) in the field of self-help, health/wellness, spirituality, teaching memoirs, and prescriptive nonfiction. If freelance book editing is something you’re interested in or are already doing, this class is for you!

Weekly (ungraded) assignments will help you sharpen your skills in bringing clarity, conciseness, and creative expression to a book’s content. Class will wrap up with how to start and build your business in freelance book editing, a growing field with increasing opportunities.

Week 1: Introduction & Overview of the Territory

Week 2: How to Do a Developmental Edit

Week 3: Adding Value and Income: The Line Edit & Book Proposal

Week 4: Working with Authors: The Professional & Personal Relationship

Week 5: Running Your Developmental Editing Business

Your Instructor: Nancy Marriott

As a freelance book editor, co-author, collaborator, ghostwriter, and book coach with over 25 years of experience in the writing and publishing industry, Nancy has helped hundreds of authors reach their goals. More recently, she has offered training and support for freelance book editors through Editorial Arts Academy, which she cofounded with Susannah Noel in 2018.

Nancy began her editing career with Viking Press after earning a BA in English from the University of Massachusetts in 1969. After earning her master’s degree in English from Columbia University, she became a medical editor at the University of California at San Francisco. In 1996, she signed on with Dr. Candace Pert to produce all-time bestselling Molecules of Emotion, published by Scribner’s in 1997, kicking off her career as a freelance book editor. In a parallel career, she was an instructor in English Second Language at Santa Barbara City College for over 20 years.

Nancy currently lives in Montpelier, Vermont, where she and her husband, Richard, relocated in 2016. They enjoy being part of an extended family that includes six-year-old twin grandchildren, as well as members of a community that supports a thriving book culture, health and wellness, and nature.


Who should take this course?

The class is designed for new and working editors who seek training in the art and skill of developmental editing of nonfiction popular books  in self-help, health and wellness, personal growth, teaching memoirs, and prescriptive nonfiction.

What is the course content like?

The five modules of content are delivered through recorded lectures (with instructor voiceover) with slides. The course includes handouts (such as templates and samples for editorial letters and book proposals) and links to further reading and resources. Nancy will hold two live office hours by Zoom toward the end of weeks 2 and 5. There is also a class forum where students can interact with one another and ask questions of Nancy.

The curriculum is as follows:

  • Week 1 – Introduction & Overview of the Territory
  • Week 2 – How to Do a Developmental Edit
  • Week 3 – Adding Value and Income: The Line Edit & Book Proposal
  • Week 4 – Working with Authors: The Professional & Personal Relationship
  • Week 5 – Running Your Developmental Editing Business

How is the course delivered?

This is a virtual, semi-synchronous course on Editorial Arts Academy’s online platform (EAA’s Learning Community). On the first day of class, you’ll get a link, by email, to enter the class forum, and Module 1 (a recording of a slide lecture and a transcript) will be uploaded to the class page. We’ll also upload your handouts and resources for that week. Each week for five weeks, we’ll upload the next module, along with the supporting materials.

Toward the end of weeks 2 and 5, Nancy will hold live office hours via Zoom. The link for the office hours will be on the class page.

What equipment and software will I need to participate?

You’ll need a computer, tablet, or smartphone. To participate in office hours, you’ll also need a reliable Internet connection, speakers, webcam, and a microphone.

Will the office hours be recorded for viewing at a different time?

Yes, we’ll upload the videos from the office hours onto the class page.

Are transcripts of the slide lectures available?

Yes, the transcripts will be on the class page for downloading.

Who is the teacher?

Nancy Marriott, MA, will be your instructor. Nancy is a working professional freelance book editor who’s been at it for close to 25 years and can claim contributions to numerous bestselling nonfiction books. You can read more about her here.

Will there be a chance to interact with students and teachers?

Yes, you can get to know Nancy and your fellow students in the online class forum and during live office hours in weeks 2 and 5.

Will there be homework/exercises?

Yes, you will have a chance to use the skills taught in optional (ungraded) homework assignments that come with each module. 

Do I need to buy any textbooks or manuals?

The text for the course is Developmental Editing: A Handbook for Freelancers, Authors, and Publishers (University of Chicago Press, 2009) by Scott Norton. Buying this book is highly recommended, but not mandatory.

Can I expect to get jobs editing books as a result of this class?

Yes, getting editing jobs requires the technical training that is offered in this class, as well as the practical advice for getting clients that we explore in Module 5.

If I have experience as an editor, is this the right course for me?

Yes. Both experienced and new editors will learn valuable skills and receive support by taking this class. Experienced editors will particularly benefit if they have worked in other types of editing and are relatively new to developmental editing of nonfiction.

What is the cost of the class?

Registration is $279 and includes the lecture content and supporting materials and resources. We occasionally offer discounted prices for early registration and special occasions. 

How long will I have access to the class page and forum? 

You will have access for about two months, until the next session begins. You can download the handouts and transcripts to your own computer.

Is there a money-back guarantee?

Yes. If for any reason you find the content and delivery of Developmental Editing for Nonfiction Popular Books less than satisfactory, we will refund your class fee.

How many students will be in each class?

There are twenty-five seats per class.

How can I sign up?

Easy! Just click the button below.

The Countdown Begins!