Thoughtful, Supportive Professional Editing & Coaching for Authors


“You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you, and we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.” Arthur Plotnik

Stephanie Marshall Ward

I’m an independent editor and writing coach. I’ve been coaching and editing for over 12 years, and I’ve edited more than 70 books for publication. I work primarily with indie authors, and I’ve worked as a book publicist. I can help you navigate the self-publishing and marketing process.

Editing books and working with authors is my passion, and I’m honored to have writers entrust their projects to me.

I primarily work with fiction, specializing in:

  • contemporary romance
  • science fiction & fantasy
  • paranormal fiction & horror

I also have experience with nonfiction, including memoirs, psychology/self-help, and academic editing.

I edit both American and British English. I offer a flexible array of services—including coaching, manuscript evaluation, developmental editing, line editing, and copyediting—to help you publish a book readers will love.



  • Supportive Coaching and Editing: Although we all need professional feedback to make our writing the best it can be and to grow as writers, we feel vulnerable when someone is deconstructing our work. I’ve been a writing coach for over 12 years, so I’m experienced in supporting and encouraging both seasoned and novice writers. I’ll help you celebrate your strengths while honing in on areas that need improvement.
  • Looking at Your Writing Through the Eyes of a Reader: In addition to being an experienced editor and avid reader, I was a book reviewer for over 6 years. I can help you understand the conventions of your genre, what readers love, and what doesn’t work for readers.
  • Quick Turnaround on Most Projects: Are you facing a looming deadline? Is your newly self-published book receiving negative reviews because it’s riddled with errors? Are you a managing editor drowning in manuscripts? I’m rigorous about meeting deadlines, I offer quick turnaround on most line editing and copyediting projects, and I stay within our agreed-upon budget.
  • Help Navigating the Self-Publishing Process: I can help you develop a plan to self-publish your book relatively inexpensively, avoiding the unnecessary costs of working with a self-publishing company, hybrid publisher, or vanity press. I can also help you develop a marketing plan.

I’m a member of:

and I participate in events sponsored by the Northwest Independent Editors Guild.

Please see the testimonials below or visit my full testimonial page. Also feel free to peruse some of the published books I’ve edited.

Stephanie is an amazing editor. She is gentle, but professional. She gets invested in the story and the characters. All her comments, edits, and suggestions were spot on, and she kept my characters’ voices and personalities. Stephanie was able to capture my vision and take it to the next level. She made me love my story again.

My book hit the top 100 paid ebooks in the Kindle store within 8 hours of publishing, and I never could have done that without Stephanie. She is truly a hidden gem in the indie editor world.

Carian Cole, contemporary romance author

I’ve been working with Stephanie on a rather complex project; the manuscript is half-baked and yet I wanted to release my work piecemeal to a restricted circle of sophisticated readers across multiple countries.

Stephanie made my project happen, literally (pun intended). She’s been patient, yet fast beyond expectations; respectful of my style, yet firm in her developmental recommendations. I’m grateful beyond words.

Alexei Sorokin, memoirist