professional book editing services

Book Editing, Proofreading, Book Design,

Indexing, and Manuscript Submission Services

Book Editor and Author of Adult, Young Adult, and Middle Grade Novels

Specializing in contemporary and historical fiction for children, young adult, and adult readers. She has seen one of her novels made into film and has won numerous literary awards

Ana Howard specializes in fiction and offers a unique editorial perspective as the author of eight novels. Her books include contemporary and historical children’s, young adult, and adult literature. She has worked with both small independent publishers, such as Roberts Rinehart and Brown Barn Books, and large publishing houses, such as Penguin Putnam and American Girl. She has seen one of her novels made into film and has won numerous literary awards.

She believes that even in today’s tough publishing climate, it is still possible for new writers to enter the business and succeed. Second to writing her own novels, she loves to mentor others to help them achieve their goals. She knows firsthand how writers benefit from the help and support of others writers and/or editors. Her goal is to help you make your unique writing shine.

Books Published/Edited

The Whiskey SeaThe Whiskey Sea, (Lake Union Publishing, 2016)

 

While You Were MineWhile You Were Mine, a Kindle #1 bestseller, (Lake Union Publishing, 2016)

 

Nicki, contemporary middle grade fictionNicki, contemporary middle grade fiction (American Girl, 2007)

Thanks to Nicki, contemporary middle grade fiction (American Girl, 2008)

 

Call Me the CanyonCall Me the Canyon, young adult historical fiction (Brown Barn Books, 2006)

 

Under a Stand Still MoonUnder a Stand Still Moon, young adult historical fiction (Brown Barn Books, 2005)

 

The Magic of Ordinary DaysThe Magic of Ordinary Days, adult historical fiction (Viking Penguin, 2001)spanish translation

Translated into Spanish

 

 

Nowhere, Now HereNowhere, Now Here, middle grade contemporary fiction (American Girl, 2000)

 

A Ceiling of StarsA Ceiling of Stars, middle grade contemporary fiction (American Girl, 1999)

 

Water at the Blue EarthWater at the Blue Earth, young adult historical fiction (Roberts Rinehart, 1998)

 

 

Articles

Do Agents Still Expect Query Letters?

How Does a Developmental Editor Work with a Writer?

The All-Important Opening

Writing Historical Fiction that Sells

Feedback / Testimonials

"Ana is wonderful! I have worked with her before and she has a great eye for weak spots in the manuscript that, when revised, could make the story so much stronger. She is also very encouraging and realizes how personal writing is, so she always takes the time to highlight parts of the story that she feels are particularly strong." - Monica

"Ana Howard responded quickly to my query. She provided me with an excellent sample of her work and a clear set of comments about how she would proceed. She did a wonderful job of editing my manuscript. Her incisive comments helped me to see through the fog that I had built up around my own work; she was supportive while providing the most constructive criticism any writer could wish to receive. She pointed out the weaknesses and provided me with good suggestions on how to address them. She also took great care in going through the entire manuscript and providing me with editing pointers down to the last detail. Now, as I am working through all her suggestions, I am feeling much more confident that the finished product will be a solid one. Her professionalism and her experience were in evidence throughout. I might also point out that she worked quickly and efficiently, while all her work demonstrated infinite care and thoughtfulness throughout." - Malve von Hassell

"Ana was amazing. She returned my work to me with fantastic edits and commentary several days ahead of schedule. So pleased! She answered emails within an hour or two and always made herself available. She really listened to my concerns and looked at my work with a kind but critical eye, pointing out issues that I had missed and giving me advice on how to fix them. I cannot wait use her advice and resubmit the manuscript to literary agents. I had a few interested, but they wanted me to make some edits, and I’m so glad I went with Ana. I will be sending her a big thank you when I (finally!) get that long-awaited phone call that says, "Yes. I like this. Let’s go make it happen." That’s the dream, isn’t it? Ana helped so much with mine, and I cannot thank her enough!" - Monica Rodden

"Ana is a very intelligent and perceptive reader. Her first response and the sample edits within the first 24 hours convinced me that she was the right person for my manuscript. She delivered the project back on time and kept meupdated about the progress in between. She has a keen eye and a head full of insights. Most importantly, she knows how to provide the critique/ feedback in a constructive manner and without transgressing into the writer’s creative freedom. I used Ana mainly for a manuscript critique and would recommend her to anyone but especially to those who are already through a few drafts of their novels. Ana’s sharp insights can add that extra polish to your novel that just might make it stand out." (On file with network coordinator)

"Ana was prompt, professional, and encouraging. She pointed out a couple of critical things about the first half of my manuscript that needed fixed, offered suggestions on how to fix, and always responded promptly to emails. It feels like a working relationship with an editor that goes beyond just an exchange of fees for a service. I think she’ll make any book she works on better, and she’s easy to work with." - Kip McKnight

"Ana did a superb job editing my manuscript. She was thoughtful, precise and insightful. Her editorial summary was invaluable to me. Her comments and recommendations lifted the quality of my writing. I feel very fortunate that Ana edited my work." - Denise

"You know if the services of the editor met or exceeded your expectations when you use them for a second time. In this case, I teamed with Ana to review significant changes and improvements to my novel based on her first read through and recommendations. Ana’s work was again, exceptional, thoughtful and very thorough. She has a tremendous big picture view and helped me to better develop my character emotions, conflicts, descriptions and the overall narrative." - Jeff Will

"Ana applies rigor in her critiques (as one would expect) while also supporting and encouraging the writer, a critical balance. I have never worked with an editor prior to this experience and was apprehensive about the process. No longer. I now view this as a working partnership: two people committed to the same objective. I am more confident than ever that, with Ana's deft guidance, I will publish my first novel." - Katherine Brennan (Developmental editing)

"Ana was tremendous. She completed the edit in a timely manner and gave me just the right level of editing. She did not over-edit (turn my work into her work) and I agreed almost 100% with her comments and suggestions. I have no doubt that I will have a stronger manuscript after I incorporate her ideas into my work." - Kim Batchelor

"Ana did an amazing job! Very thorough. She explained, in detail, the why’s and how’s etc. of what worked and what didn’t. Ana explained what I was missing and gave ideas on how to enhance every aspect of the book: plot, character, arc, etc. The way she used the work correction tools such as strikethrough, comments, etc. was very professional and made them easy to follow, think about, and decide what I wanted to do." - David Poland

"If I’d thought to special order an editor for this project, I couldn’t have done better than Ana. Her feedback was clear, concise, and just what I needed to move this book forward.  She manages to be supportive and encouraging while offering detailed critiques.  She exceeded my expectations not only with regards to the time frame, delivering the edits early, but also with her availability for feedback on revisions and my query letter.  I don’t know when my money for personal and professional development has been better spent.  I can’t say enough good things about Ana." - Vicki Righettini

"Ana did an exceptional job of editing my novel by offering suggestions that helped me strengthen the main character and the theme of the story. Her goal was to assist me in making the novel more marketable and I think she has done that. Her communication was always excellent, answering my emails within 24 hours." - Charles Falk (Developmental editing)

"Ana has been tremendously helpful providing feedback on my project. She is encouraging but honest and truly wants to make the project as good as it can be. She has provided me with several great ideas to weave into the story to help expand the characters and make it more marketable. I am hoping this will be the first of many projects and I hope to have the opportunity to work with Ana again in the future." - Elizabeth Cook

"Ana exceeded my expectations. She has a natural gift of guiding the author through the pages without sacrificing his voice or changing the objectives. Her suggestions have made the characters in my novel stand out, while her style of editing assured a smooth transition between chapters. It was a pleasure working with Ana." - Hans Schlunegger

"I spent hours scouring the web, and comparing sites. I had several concerns. One: I didn’t want to become a victim of the countless scams that I heard and saw evidence of running rampant in this business. Two: I wanted to find an editor that I could research on real websites, not just their Facebook page. Three: I wanted an editor, that when they responded, I could tell that they took the time to read and 'get' what I was saying. And four, I wanted to feel like I could learn something and apply it to my work in my way and still not feel intimidated to ask for clarification or advice. The site answered a lot of my questions. And Ana has been just exactly what I needed. I expected honesty and I hoped for encouragement. She gave me that. I was totally impressed with the time and thought and effort Ana so willingly gave to my project." (Contact info on request)

"Ana's goal was to help me turn my manuscript into a polished final work that could be published. Her critique of my work was honest and professional. Her editing is very detailed and I found the extensive editorial summary she provided very useful during the rewrite. Most importantly, I always felt like Ana cared about the story that I had written and the work that I put into it. I am certain that her efforts have given me a much greater chance of getting my work published. I cannot thank her enough." - Scott Miller

"Ana was wonderful. She encouraged me, challenged me, and made me think about my manuscript and the choices I had made, versus the choices I could have made. She pointed out where characters and relationships needed development, and had no qualms about pointing out where my writing fell slack and what was needed. She also pointed out where the writing shined. Ana is a true professional, and made me feel like a professional as well. Her insights into the story and my writing style were deep and layered, including elements I would not have even thought about. I feel my manuscript is better for her attention." - Leslie Hedrick, Copywriter

"This was my first experience with your network and I found the experience to be quite productive. The process was effective and the consultant that I selected was great. While providing a high degree of professionalism, she gave me the right amount of encouragement thereby allowing me to proceed with confidence, and at the same time, enough of a dose of constructive criticism to let me to move forward in an informed and practical way." - Carolyne Swayze

"Ana far exceeded my expectations. While being the consummate professional, she is delightfully pleasant to work with. Ana’s creative and substantive suggestions did not in any way undermine either my voice or my plot, but rather fortified it, as well as suggesting additional building blocks to add more breadth and depth. My 'baby' is still breathing, but it needed some new bath water and Ana provided some wonderful 'bubble bath.'" (Contact info on request)

Prophets of the Ghost Ants, book editor"My novel had lingered in the offices of editors at the Big Six and had gotten neither accepted nor rejected for years. One editor, after re-reading, let me know his final thought was that it was ‘too long for a first time author.’ I contacted Book Editing Associates, submitted my sample, and was contacted immediately by several editing associates. One of them, Ana, had some incisive observations and said it needed some ‘brutal cuts.’ I paid attention as Ana is an award-winning novelist. Ana’s editing was timely and skillful and showed an understanding of my work. I used 95% of her suggestions and cut 200 pages from a 600 page manuscript. End result is a book with a clean, compelling narrative that has been called ‘a gripping read.’ Reader reviews of my book at Amazon and Goodreads have been very gratifying and allowed me to enter the top 100 for science-fiction/fantasy. Kirkus Reviews selected Prophets of the Ghost Ants as one of their Best of 2011. I would recommend Ana’s services to any author whose work needs an edit. Cost of the service was more than fair and the end result was priceless." - Carl T. Carlton

Kirkus Review of Prophets of the Ghost Ants: In this postapocalyptic science-fiction allegory, diminutive tribal humans share the world, and a deeply intertwined society, with hordes of insects.

Anand, the despised young lower-caste protagonist of Carlton’s innovative novel, knows perfectly well how his life will unfold. He slaves in the filthy middens of his human colony, marked by skin color, scent and even body posture as inferior to the higher classes of humans who run the colony and serve the queen. In this postapocalyptic version of human society, where humans have evolved to the size of insects in response to the planet’s diminshing resources, someone like Anand has no hope of rising above his station or changing his life. His only hope is to grow old working in peace rather than be killed by the myriad insectoid menaces that stalk his world. (The author expertly shifts his narrative pacing for violent scenes that crop up frequently in the novel and are intensely memorable.) But when word comes that his colony is splitting up, sending a queen and a host of workers to found a new colony, fate offers Anand a chance to become more than he’s ever dreamed. “The history of our land is always written in blood," one character tells him, but in addition to blood there’s doctrine here—Carlton has a surprising amount to say about organized religion and its heresies (the so-called Loose Doctrine of Dranveria plays a major role in the book), and approaches his commentary with drama and intelligence. Anand becomes something of a firebrand, insisting “No idol, book, word, place or relic should ever be held sacred…Only human life is sacred." The complications he faces in his rise to power make for a gripping read.

The wobbly science of its premise notwithstanding, this is a fascinating, enjoyable sci-fi yarn.

"Ana was everything I hoped for in an editor and then some. Her edit was spot on and the editorial summary was excellent. I was concerned about receiving an impersonal assessment of my work. Instead, Ana delivered an edit that was fresh, exciting and honest. There is no doubt that I will become a better writer for having worked with her and if my book is published someday it will be at least in part because of Ana. I truly feel as though she became a caring, thoughtful partner in my literary journey. Quite simply, Ana delivers." (On file with network coordinator)

"Ana was fantastic. Professional and phenomenal editing. I can’t say enough good things about her. She helped me to shape problem areas and developed it into a much stronger novel." (On file with network coordinator)

"Ana’s work is exceptional and all that I was hoping for from a developmental edit. I very much appreciate her honesty in the review of my manuscript. This is refreshing and inspires me to improve both the work and my general writing abilities. She identified many things I was concerned about as a first time author and she did this in a respectful and mentoring way." - Jeff Will

"Ana’s editing was very helpful. When she found a problem she showed me how to fix it. She believed in my book more strongly than I did and her encouragement meant a great deal. She answered my emails promptly. She gave me so much more than our contract called for. Her enthusiasm for my book prompted me to aim much higher than my original plans. I can’t say enough good things about her and would recommend her to anyone/everyone." - Pat Martin

“I found Ana to be accessible, professional, very systematic and extremely thorough in her work on my fiction manuscript. She came across as someone who not only knew her craft, but how to relay it clearly. She was also interested in hearing my thoughts on her ideas for changes and did not simply cut me off once her edit was done and she’d received payment. With Ana, I felt I got half-editor, half-writing coach. I am a novice in the writing/editing/publishing market and this maiden voyage with your network overall was seamless, so much so that I have already recommended you to a colleague who has had nightmare experiences with so-called editors." (Contact info on request)

"Ana’s editorial services were extraordinary, outstanding, and comprehensive.  She took the story dynamics and made them into a more elegant piece of literary work.  Ana’s talent as a writer and an editor melded with her ability to sensitively provide editing feedback and suggestions for revisions.  Trust and her supportive approach significantly contributed to a successful experience.  Ana is responsive and her turnaround time is efficient.  Would I recommend her?  Absolutely." (On file with network coordinator)

"Within a few hours of contacting the network three editors wrote back with their availability and it was only another day before their sample edits came through. All three had extensive experience and would have fulfilled my expectations. The consultant that I chose to partner with exceeded my expectations. I was expecting...some general feedback on structure, flow and character development. Instead I received comprehensive comments, in depth critique and suggestions that I could really work with in further developing the narrative." - Denis Dragovic

"Ana was able to return my work to me sooner than she had originally stated, which was wonderful for me. This is my first time attempting to write a book and she has provided some much needed guidance. I feel so lucky to have found Ana and anticipate working with her again." - Melinda Stuck

"I appreciate the prompt and timely manner at which the network connected me to a consultant. Ana was professional and friendly. I enjoyed having her work on my manuscript. She made the necessary changes, without me losing my own voice." (On file with network coordinator)

“Ana was very professional, timely, and helpful.  I learned very much from her edit and think she pointed out many ways I can improve my manuscript.  I highly recommend her to anyone seeking similar services.  Great job!" (Contact info on request.)

"Ana's work was exceptional. I presented her with a manuscript that was close to 150,000 words and she helped me to acheive my goal of cutting it by a third. She was accurate in finding all those passages that were holding back the narrative and correct about what to leave in so that the story was intact. Her edits were skillful, considered, and indicative of a very careful reading. Her comments and corrections along the way were also helpful. I feel like I got a tremendous bargain and the book that I want." - Clark Carlton

"Ana is amazing. She has been an extraordinary collaborator in helping me edit my novel to its final, polished form. Her positive attitude, deep understanding of the mechanics of editing, and commitment to keeping the author’s voice intact made the editorial ride smooth and enjoyable." - Olivera Bojanic

"Ana provided great input. I appreciate the time she took to thoroughly develop the editorial comments and critique.  Also appreciate her expressing concerns on not hurting my feelings.  She provided the type of feedback I was looking for providing the guidance I needed to take my project to the next level.  Her candid feedback was very much appreciated and I look forward to incorporating all of her great suggestions." (On file with network coordinator)

"I liked the bios displayed to help me understand the specialization of the editors. Ana was great. She read my novel first as a fan of the genre, and then went back through and suggested all sorts of improvements to greatly improve the manuscript. Her insight and abilities are rare, and her encouraging and positive feedback was invaluable." - Randy Hice

"Her insights have made my manuscript more valuable." - Norma Anderson

"Her edits proved to be very much on target with my own ideas about my characters and story line. In addition, she went above and beyond the strict call of duty and provided me with some insight and answers to questions about the publishing business and agents. This is my first attempt at writing a novel so her information has proved to be extremely helpful and informative.  I always appreciate someone who goes out of their way to do more than the mere basics for others." - Jim Cronin

"Ana was wonderful. She went above and beyond. She gave very constructive criticism and praise where both were due. She was worth every penny I paid. It was a very enjoyable experience. Would I recommend her to others? (No, just kidding. I'd rather prefer to keep her all to myself as my private freelance copy editor. I am sure she is in great demand. She taught me so much!)" - Tammy Thompson, utilization/review RN

"Ana is a masterful storyteller whose novels transport readers to other times and places they won't want to leave. She generously shares her expertise in character, setting and plot to help writers craft the best possible story." - Jessica Swaim, author of Nick by Night and The Hound from the Pound

"Making all the elements of a book work into a cohesive story that also reads amazing is one of Ana's strongest gifts as an editor. She also devised a query letter for me that resulted in many requests to read my manuscript. Her help made all the difference." - Renee Appleman, author of Would You Ever?

"Ana was wonderful. She helped me bring the story I wanted to tell to life. It was a pleasure dealing with her. I plan on using her for my sequels and recommend anyone who wants a creative angel helping with their vision to try and get Ana as your editor." - Diane Duarte (services: developmental edit, query, synopsis)

"Ana gave the support and encouragement I needed to keep me going, offered suggestions to tighten my text and keep the story on track, highlighted my too frequent typos, and I appreciated her honesty in terms of critique and suggested changes. I feel that Ana gave invaluable advice and enabled me to turn my novel into a true story, not just a random string of events. I have feared the editing process for decades, causing me to hide my work. I wish I had worked with Ana sooner, because she made it fun and inspiring to improve my manuscript. I will always remember the experience fondly and I have great hope for publication since incorporating her editing expertise into my book. " - Annette C. Masters

"I liked how Ana put things in terms of how my writing would be viewed by readers and editors.   Her feedback was honest without being harsh and all of it helpful.  She was very professional and had my story back to me promptly." (On file with network coordinator)

"I found Ana to be an excellent editor and consultant.  She had first-rate suggestions and ideas regarding improvement of my novel and as a result, I'm sure it will stand a much better chance of increased readership." (Contact info on request)