Editing Service

Jana Riess has edited award-winning books in both fiction and non-fiction. Below are some testimonials from authors she has worked with through Westminster John Knox Press and Riess Editorial Consulting, the freelance business she has run since 2008.

Riess Editorial Consulting charges $90 an hour for developmental and line editing for new clients. Although books vary widely in length and complexity, most projects fall between $2500 and $4000 for a full line edit. Repeat clients receive a discounted rate. For more information, contact Jana Riess here.

Author Testimonials:

“Jana’s work was not only fast and thorough; she edits with the eye of an academic and an editor, which blesses her with a keen eye for argument and for narrative alike.”

Matthew Bowman, author of Christian: The Politics of a Word in America, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the year (Harvard University Press, 2018)

“I trust Jana Riess because she hears the music in language. She not only knows how to make a manuscript conform to the rules of grammar, she knows how to make it sing.”

Ian Morgan Cron, co-author of The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery

(InterVarsity Press, 2016)

“Jana Riess is the Sacagawea of memoir. My editor, coach, hand-holder, and friend, Jana guided me through the rocky, terrifying terrain of telling my story.”

Reba Riley, author of Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome: A Memoir of Humor and Healing

(Simon & Schuster, 2015)

“Working with Jana Riess is a joy. She’s smart, insightful, honest, detail-oriented, and consistently full of good cheer. She is well aware of the dynamics of the 21st-century publishing world, but is also able to glide effortlessly across the centuries in terms of biblical, historical and theological concepts. She lets you know when something is done particularly well…and if there’s a problem, she suggests a fix—or works with the writer until it is resolved. I hope to work with her again, and recommend her without reservation.”

Lindsay Hardin Freeman, author of Bible Women: All Their Words and Why They Matter (Forward Movement, 2014)

“I was privileged to work with a wonderful editor, Jana Riess, whose skill enabled reducing a manuscript of 130,000 words down to 90,000 without losing the family stories it needed to get its message across . . . . I am very grateful to her.”

Vern Bengtson, author of Families and Faith: How Religion is Passed Down Across Generations (Oxford, 2013)

“A fine scholar of American religion in her own right, Jana’s patience, encouragement, and keen eye for detail made this a much better book.  I hope we get to work together again.”

John Fea, author of Was America Founded As a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction (WJK; finalist for the 2012 George Washington Book Prize)

“Jana is an author’s dream as an editor. She is an articulate, careful reader who understands a manuscript’s limitations and potential. She brings considerable expertise, both in publishing and in content, to bear on her editing work. I highly recommend her services.”

Samuel M. Brown, author of In Heaven As It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death (Oxford; Winner of the Mormon History Association Award for Best First Book, 2012)

“Jana Riess … shepherded me through the exciting and unfamiliar process of book-birthing with grace, good humor, excellent editing and shaping of this manuscript, and timely availability for my questions. It has been a serendipitous gift to have the opportunity to learn from her.”

Elise Erikson Barrett, author of What Was Lost: A Christian Journey through Miscarriage (WJK; winner, Christianity Today Best Book of 2011, Christian Living category)

“Jana Riess was exactly what I needed as a first-time author, because she saw clearly what was needed, and was willing to say what others couldn’t. She was both encouraging in a coach role and truthful as a skilled macro-editor, and used both those attributes to help me better communicate the message in my heart.

I would highly recommend Jana to any author wanting to raise their game, and get honest, experienced input. She will say what has to be said, to get the results where God will be blessed.”

John Bishop, author of Dangerous Church (Zondervan)

“I was always envious (and a little skeptical) of authors who claimed that, after years of knocking at the doors of publishing powers-that-be, they finally connected with an agent or editor who was a perfect match. I was certain that such happy endings must be incredibly rare in a profession so rife with unfulfilled expectations. But now I am one of those writers gushing about how I found just the right partner for my publishing journey. Jana possesses a keen editorial eye, loads of common sense, and an approach to faith that manages to be at once smart and funny, earnest and irreverent, serious and amiable. She has been not just a fabulous editor, but also a mentor and kindred spirit. Jana worked with me for a year to refine my book proposal, patiently waiting as I learned to let go of things that I saw as necessary but she knew were not.”

Ellen Painter Dollar, author of No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Parenthood, and Faith in an Age of Advanced Reproduction (WJK)

“Jana’s wise and informed guidance has me a better writer and, on more than one occasion, she has rescued my work from the mire of mediocrity. She is a wonderful editor. I recommend her with enthusiasm and without reservation.”

Ben Daniel, author of Neighbor: Christian Encounters with “Illegal” Immigration (WJK; Winner of 2011 Book of the Year by ForeWord Reviews)