DAVID has enjoyed a distinguished career as an editor, writer, ghostwriter, and filmmaker. His flair for the written word, creative acumen, and meticulous attention to detail,and publishing experience have earned him a loyal following of editing and ghostwriting clients, from novice writers to bestselling authors.
He began his editorial career with an academic press before working as an editor with Hachette Book Group, one of the Big Four publishers. His 15+ years of editing experience has given him exposure to a wide range of authors, writing styles, and genres, including novels, non-fiction works, self-help books, memoir, Christian and other spiritual writing, and business books. He has worked on 100+ books that earned publishing deals, has won awards for his screenplays, and has earned extensive praise from countless satisfied clients.
David is one of the few members of Book Editing Associates who is also an experienced ghostwriter, having ghostwritten over 20 books for entrepreneurs, CEOs, consultants, artists, therapists, coaches, and professionals of all stripes, as well as ordinary people who want their life and legacy captured in a memoir.
With professional experience in both fiction and documentary film, as a producer, writer, and director, David is well versed in the art of cinematic storytelling and can also edit or critique your screenplay.
Currently based in Maryland, David spent over ten years living overseas in various locations in Europe and South America, an experience that has further honed his editorial skills and ability to work with people of varying backgrounds.
How long have you been an editor? How long have you been with Book Editing Associates?
Editor: 15 years. With BEA: 7 years. Ghostwriter: 10 years.
Why did you decide to be an editor?
A love of language in all its forms, an appreciation of the value (intellectual, emotional, and financial/professional) of a book, and the creative challenge of helping authors realize their vision. I like that the collaborative nature of the editor-writer partnership and that editing is not just improving or revising a text; it’s teaching authors how to be better writers and communicators.
On a more prosaic level, reading, writing, and analyzing texts has always been my foremost talent – why not try to make money from it? :)
There reasons are also why I became a ghostwriter. Also, as a ghostwriter, it is satisfying to save clients the frustration and arduousness of writing a book. They get to do the fun stuff and I do the grunt work! Book writing really is much harder than it seems and if you want it done right, it may be best to hire a professional and take the burden off of you. A ghostwritten book is still your book – it’s a product of your ideas, voice, and vision.
Are you also a writer? Please tell us about a couple of things you wrote.
Yes, I have ghostwritten 20+ books and am an accomplished screenwriter. I’ve also published a few freelance journalism pieces.
As a ghostwriter, I’ve penned business books for CEOs, entrepreneurs, artists, visionaries, and all-around interesting people, and I’ve written a number of memoirs. As a screenwriter I am interested in all genres but especially thriller, horror, and comedy. Of course, my experience as a writer has sharpened my skills as an editor, especially the art of telling a good story.
What one thing can make most books you write or edit better?
Less is more: authors need to learn how to express themselves more concisely, cut out redundant or unnecessary parts, and streamline their manuscripts. Also, in fiction, memoir, and often, nonfiction, dialogue should play a more prominent role. I am always encouraging authors to incorporate more dialogue in their work – it is a powerful storytelling device that most writers neglect.
What’s your fave/least fave…Most challenging/easiest …aspect of editing?
Favorite: getting to the emotional heart of a book (whether fiction, non-fiction, memoir, etc.) and helping authors flesh that out. Assisting authors with creating a book they can be genuinely proud of; a real work of art! Seeing a book develop from a rough early draft into a finished product that fulfills the author’s creative vision – and seeing the author’s own skills grow over several drafts (or, better, several books).
Least favorite: the tedium of arcane punctuation rules. Or when Microsoft Word does not cooperate and does wonky things – though to be fair, the software has been greatly improved in the last 15-20 years.
How do you balance the author’s style and vision, and the taste of commercial publishers or readers?
A well-written book will sell itself, and the market, while competitive, is still ample enough for any work of quality to attract interest. My goal in working with writers is to help them create the best work possible, regardless of how or whether it’s published.
That said, if something is really not working in a manuscript, it is my job as the editor to point that out. Ultimately, I respect the decision of the author – you’re the boss! – but I’d be derelict in my duties if I did not provide frank advice. Clients do appreciate candor, especially if their goal is to share their writing with the world.
What are some things that make a book appealing to a publisher today?
A strong, original voice, and the ability to say something meaningful about the state of the world or life in general through a personal, individual lens.
If it’s fiction or memoir, you should move people emotionally – if you can make them feel something, whether joy, revulsion, sadness, exhilaration, poignancy, or anything in between, you’re a strong candidate for a book deal. If it’s nonfiction or self-help, you should also impact them emotionally while giving them the thrill of understanding a familiar topic in a fresh, edifying, and perhaps life-changing way.
Authors should understand that it is tough to get published. So if that is really your goal, be prepared to put the work in! That means writing multiple drafts and perhaps multiple books before you score that victory. Savor the challenge of the journey, as it can be a long and rocky one.
What are your top goals as you approach an edit?
- Avoid the typical mistakes that almost all writers make
- Streamline the text (excising wordy, unnecessary, redundant, or awkward passages)
- In fiction and memoir, placing character on equal footing with plot
- Help the author express themselves and realize their unique vision and voice
- Eliminate awkward phrasing (you really need an editor to point this out to you as authors tend to be oblivious to the flaws in their own writing)
- Create a work that they can be proud of and confidently share with the world, regardless of their experience or skill level
What fills your time when not editing?
Reading, travel, playing piano, screenwriting.