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Fiction Editing | Non-Fiction Editing | Writing

Fiction Editing

Freelance Projects

"I want to thank Deborah for the spectacular job she did line editing my fantasy novel and would strongly recommend her services to any writer who is seriously considering publishing their work. Not only did she pick up gaps in logic, world building and exposition, she suggested practical solutions to bring out the best of my story and improve the readability of my writing. She is a pleasure to work with and I feel fortunate to have found such a passionate and supportive editor to guide me." Stephen Chamberlain, author of Graelfire


"As a first-time novelist, I knew it was imperative to submit my best work to publishers. Deborah Meghnagi Bailey has helped me do just that. She is insightful, with a gift for cutting through the unnecessary. Her edits and suggestions are spot-on as she addresses not only grammar and sentence structure but also larger, developmental plot issues. There came a point when I could no longer "see" my own work. Deborah helped me look at it from different angles to tell the story as it was meant to be told. I will definitely use her again for future work!" Talya T. Boerner, author of The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee, forthcoming from Southern Yellow Pine Publishing


"I turned to Deborah Meghnagi Bailey when I could no longer look at my manuscript, knowing it had many problems, but unable to deal with them. Not only did Deborah find all the problems - inconsistencies, contradictions, poor word choice, half-baked ideas, screwy timeline - but she also offered valuable suggestions how to solve the problems. She read the manuscript first as if under a magnifying glass and later, as if through a telescope. This enabled her to find not only the problems within each sentence, paragraph and chapter, but also the structural problems within each section and among the sections. Her suggestions greatly improved my book, without sacrificing my personal writing style. I will gladly return to Deborah for my future editing needs and I highly recommend her to other writers. She is serious, smart, experienced, knowledgeable, open, and efficient. Deborah made what could be an agonizing process pleasurable and exciting." Judy Labensohn, writing coach and author of An End to Mourning


"Deborah does a lot to keep me honest. She doesn't just scatter marks over the pages telling me to rephrase this or that - though she puts more work into that than any editor I've worked with - she also keeps track of every plot twist in the book and lets me know the moment one gets out of line. Even when it involves a setup from two chapters ago. If you've got a complicated or multi-layered book to keep track of, Deborah's the one to keep it in line." Ken Hughes


"After years of not touching my novel, I'm getting underway with it again having received your extraordinarily helpful critique and feedback. I hope that during this summer, I'll start to make some serious progress. As I do so, I just want you to know how helpful your critical feedback was. Your ability to cut straight to the chase of what worked about the novel, but more importantly, what didn't, has proven central to my rethinking the project. You've helped me ask important questions about what I'm trying to say, rethink who the characters need to be and how the story has to be structured. Now, of course, the hard work is up to me, but I wouldn't have had any idea how to tackle it without your input and keen editing abilities. Can't thank you enough." Daniel Gordis, vice-president of the Shalem Foundation and author of If A Place Can Make You Cry


"Not knowing what to expect as the writer of a first novel, I found Deborah's insight amazingly thoughtful, straightforward and, when needed by me as a first timer, gentle enough to handle. But don't think she held anything back. From her critique and line editing that questioned the selection of individual words for precise meaning to pointing out inconsistencies and weaknesses in my writing; she has challenged me not only to be better...she's challenged me to become my best! If you're looking for something less, go elsewhere; otherwise, you've found the right editor." John Blakely


"Deborah Meghnagi Bailey is very good at line editing. She'll catch small awkward moments and deftly smooth them out. She's wonderful at catching inconsistencies. You may not remember what you wrote back on page 14, but she does - and she'll hold it against you if you contradict yourself. But where she really excels is in inspiring a writer to do better. Behind all of her very specific exhortations ('Some inner dialogue needed here.' 'But why didn't he?') lies a strongly held principle: 'Good enough isn't good enough.' So it didn't really matter to Deborah that -even according to her - my novel was well written. Was it as good as it could be? If not, then it had to be improved. My book is much better because I hired Deborah as an editor. Did I sometimes grumble when I read her comments? Sure. But now I've got a far better book on my hands. It's clearer, more vivid, more engaging. I look at some of the sections inspired by Deborah's comments and I say, 'Did I really write that? That's so much better than what I'd written before.' So if you want someone to pat you on the back and tweak a few sentences for you, hire someone else as your editor. If you want to excel, hire Deborah Meghnagi Bailey." Ira T Berkowitz, author of A Wolf in the Soul


"Deborah Meghnagi Bailey was my talented editor and she was everything a writer could ask for. With amazing patience, thoughtful critique and insight, she guided me through many difficult moments. Her suggestions for improvements transformed my work into a readable book. At all times supportive but honest, she gave me her unending encouragement. The dialogue with Deborah was inspiring and professional. She remained continuously involved in the process of editing my writing, which she did with skill and tenacity. It was her intelligent and sensitive advice that kept the book on track and gave it form. English is my second language; my mother tongue is Dutch and Deborah's keen professional eye picked up immediately on all my grammatical inconsistencies. She returned her suggestions for improvement, always within the agreed-upon period which, for a working relationship, is very important. We had some wonderful exchanges. I can only thank her for her commitment and expertise. It was a perfect creative experience. Any writer to get Deborah as the editor of their literary endeavours can consider themselves fortunate. " - Siska Topaz-Melkman, author of Where Once My Cradle Stood, a memoir of the author's experiences in the Netherlands during the Holocaust.


"How can I put this? Deborah's editorial skills are way beyond what any writer deserves. Whether she was addressing syntax, vocabulary or story logic, she provided extremely constructive (but direct!) feedback that had me slapping my forehead, wondering what I had been thinking. I had worked with Deborah professionally in the past, and she's a relative, so I thought I knew what to expect. Instead, she exceeded expectations and had me extremely grateful that I had chosen to hire her. Whether for a quick review or a deep edit/analysis, you can't go wrong; this final investment in your work is a no-brainer." Jay Bailey


"Deborah is an incredibly thorough, thoughtful editor, very attuned to continuity and detail. It can be frustrating having your work analyzed in such granularity, but it forces you to think carefully about every decision you're making and it ultimately pushes you closer to your best work. Working with her has been very valuable." Merritt Graves


"A literary agent whom I trust recommended that I considerably shorten my novel. She warned that readers wouldn't have patience with the amount of time the main character had to himself. When I presented the manuscript to Deborah for critique, she pointed out that, while tightening would be helpful, an expansion was also needed, one in which I more fully rendered other characters in the narrative. When I did this, the narrative became richer and balanced, and the main character's experience became more compelling. Then came the line editing. I enjoyed the edits so much! I came to think of Deborah as both an eagle, and a spider. She focused on both wide and narrow perspectives, seeing how the strands of the larger story worked together, and how the sentences and paragraphs needed to be re-worked to become a beautiful web of words. Deborah's keen insight and precision enhanced my own vision of the work while maintaining my own voice. I feel as though I received quality attention from a senior editor of a large press. Now my manuscript is ready to publish." Andrew Tertes, author of Jacob's Return


"Deborah was extremely helpful in pointing out flaws in my story as well as some possible solutions. She also helped me with clarity of action and motivation in the characters. Moreover, she did this in a way that let me know that she understood my genre [science-fiction], and what I was trying to accomplish. It was, in my opinion, just what was needed to bring out the best in my story. Oh, and she fixed my grammar and spelling too." Jeff Butler


"I'm happy to provide this testimonial on behalf of Deborah Meghnagi Bailey. I was approaching the last stage of my book which needed a final, thorough proofreading, and it needed to be done in a hurry because the deadline was fast approaching. A colleague recommended Deborah and I contacted her. To my immense relief, she made herself available immediately and went to work, working quickly, efficiently, and thoroughly. Even though this was a proofreading assignment, Deborah also raised questions where relevant about style and content and offered suggestions and food for thought. She also made herself available to review her comments and suggestions with me whenever necessary. Throughout the process, I felt secure that I was working with a professional who took my work seriously and was doing her utmost to help me make it the best it could be. It was a pleasure working with her and I would recommend her highly and without reservation." Dr. Diane Wyshogrod, author of Hiding Places


"Working together with Deborah Meghnagi Bailey on my manuscript was a gratifying experience. Deborah professionally evaluated my composition and made helpful suggestions. Besides grammar and punctuation she also edited for consistency and story-line. I know my work is greatly improved through her dedication to perfection." Karen Goldman, author of Jordan and the Dreadful Golem


"Working with Deborah is great. I have known her for years and she takes editing seriously. This is her profession, not something she picked up along the way, and this shows in her work. I connected her with one of my more skeptical clients recently for a thorough edit of his book. Deborah improved the book in concrete ways, in full cooperation with the author. He was thrilled with her work and by the overall experience of working with her. I will always be happy to recommend Deborah to my clients - she is an excellent professional, exactly the type of editor you want to work with." Stuart Schnee, book publicist and book shepherd


"I've never had the pleasure of working formally with Deborah Meghnagi Bailey as an editor, although on an informal basis she's been one of my own 'first readers' for a decade and her acuity and perception have aided me immeasurably. More formally, I've reaped the (considerable) benefit of her (considerable) talents, since she's the founder, designer, and ongoing website owner for brightweavings.com, the authorized site based on my work. The level of literary sensitivity, web-smarts and people skills required in shaping and guiding an award-winning website for over a decade now is extraordinary, and Deborah has handled it with aplomb, tact, and creativity. I have no hesitation whatsoever in suggesting that any author or publishing house shrewd enough to retain her will be rewarded greatly, and on many levels." - Guy Gavriel Kay, bestselling, award-winning author of Tigana, Under Heaven and more.


While at The Toby Press

"Many editors impose their voice onto a book. Deborah Meghnagi Bailey has the rare ability to help authors find the best of their own voices." - Jay Nussbaum, author of A Monk Jumped over a Wall


"Deborah was everything I could have asked for in an editor. She immediately understood my vision for A Cabinet of Wonders, and with a keen eye and a deft hand, went through the novel and made it better than before, while still allowing it to feel entirely my own--and she did it all while being warm, funny, and a pleasure to work with." - Renee Dodd


"I had the very, very good fortune to have The King of Colored Town edited by Ms Deborah Meghnagi, then a stalwart at The Toby Press. Deborah's remarks were text-centered, clear, and incisive. I never had the feeling that I was being 'pushed', nor did I feel any need to push back in dialogue with my editor. The King of Colored Town went on to win 'The Willie Morris Award for Fiction', and one of the first persons I notified was Deborah. Deborah is a great editor. Any author lucky enough to have her help will find his work strengthened and his 'voice' clear and consistent. I hope I can have Ms Meghnagi reading my next literary work." Darryl Wimberley


"I count myself very fortunate to have had Deborah Meghnagi Bailey as my editor for my work with the Toby Press. Deborah's creative insight and keen editorial eye was never overbearing and always right on the money, and her suggestions for improvement were always delivered with the greatest of tact and sensitivity. She was not only able to skillfully and creatively address issues within the larger themes of the novel, but also provided line-by-line copy editing with laser-like precision. Without her intelligent and passionate input, my novel, The Sound of Building Coffins, would not have come across nearly as well, and I am forever indebted to her for that. The Sound of Building Coffins went into its 3rd printing in its second month, received an SIBA Award nomination, garnered rave reviews in many newspapers and periodicals, and was given heartfelt praise by such literary luminaries as New York Times bestselling author Peter Straub and famed New Orleans author Poppy Z. Brite. For a novel from a virtually unknown author published by a small literary press, these accomplishments are significant, and I am absolutely convinced that none of it would have been possible without the editorial contributions of Deborah." Louis Maistros


"Deborah Meghnagi picked my first novel out of the slush pile and it went on to win several awards. She was a pleasure to work with as editor and her eye for detail and enthusiasm for the work made this a fruitful and positive experience." Tamar Yellin, author of The Genizah at the House of Shepher, winner of the Rohr award 2007


"Deborah Meghnagi edited my novel, The Misremembered Man. Deborah was everything a writer could hope for: a thorough professional, truly dedicated to her craft, and with a keen and insightful eye. As well as her policy of respecting a writer's creativity - by highlighting what needed fixing without trying to fix it - I found her to be a very lovely person with great generosity of spirit." Christina McKenna


"I'm writing to strongly recommend Deborah Meghnagi Bailey's editorial work. I worked with Deborah during her time at the Toby Press; having already published one historical novel at Toby, I submitted a companion volume, which Deborah returned with a detailed, thoughtful, and on-point critique. Her comments and direction were crucial during my subsequent rewrite, and resulted in a tighter, more-focused, and in my view much stronger novel. I later had the pleasure of working with Deborah during the editorial process, when, page by page and line by line, she continued to help hone and focus the book (afterwards published as The Sin Eaters). From her first critique to the final edit, Deborah was a painstaking, supportive, critical, and flexible voice, and I feel fortunate to have had the experience of working with her." Andrew Beahrs


"Before my debut novel, The Year the Music Changed, was brought out in 2005, I was privileged to have Deborah Meghnagi Bailey, then at The Toby Press, edit the manuscript. Being edited is an experience most writers dread, and I was not much different. However, I quickly learned that not only did she like my book, she had helped persuade Toby Press founder and president Matthew Miller to publish it. Toby is an international publishing company and for this reason I anticipated some issues during the editing process: The story in my novel, set in the southern U.S. in 1955, is told as a year-long correspondence between a fourteen-year-old girl and an exceedingly colloquial and ungrammatical country singer on the way up, whose name is Elvis Presley. Deborah, in contrast, is British and highly educated. To my delight and amazement, however, she "got" everything I was doing, including all the nuances of life in a part of the U.S. that at that time still practiced racial segregation. She recommended few changes, but each one improved the book. When I finally met her, three months after my novel was published, it was like meeting a cherished friend. Based on the experience I had working with her, I recommend her without reservation to anyone seeking a knowledgeable, caring and versatile editor." Diane Thomas

Non-Fiction Editing

Freelance

"I had the pleasure of working with Deborah Meghnagi Bailey on the English edition of the Steinsaltz Tanakh. I found her to be one of our most insightful and pro-active editors. She has a sharp eye for bad writing and was always able to provide helpful suggestions for improvements." Josh Amaru, Executive Editor, Steinsaltz Center


"Deborah did a superlative job of editing my 400 page manuscript, but she is so much more than an editor. She checked some of my research, questioned me on sensitive issues, sharpened my thinking and restructured the book. Even more important than her considerable technical skills, Deborah has excellent judgment. Throughout the process, I felt like I had a highly skilled, trusted, and supportive ally by my side." Daniel Chertoff


"Thank you, Deborah, for taking on the project of editor of ScaVentures Jerusalem: The Experiential Guidebook. You did a great job, displaying the highest level of editorial expertise and professionalism to create a marvelous finished product. In addition to that, it was incredibly pleasant to work with you - communication was always timely and clear, and nearer the end of the project, when there was a lot of back and forth with other team members, you showed flexibility and commitment to getting the project finished. I highly recommend your editorial services and would be very happy to work with you again in the future. On a personal note, we all know that it is very risky to work with someone you already know socially; however, I am so happy that I took the risk! My love and admiration for you has only grown following this experience. Thank you!" Tali Tarlow


"Deborah Meghnagi Bailey has worked with us on a freelance basis for the past two years, providing editing and proof-reading services for the English edition of Segula magazine. Her work has been of a consistently superb quality throughout, despite the fact that on occasion our printing deadlines required her to adapt herself to late hours and swift response times. I would not hesitate to recommend her as an editor, and would always be delighted to work with her again." Sara Jo Ben-Tzvi, Editor of Segula magazine of Jewish History


"Deborah Meghnagi Bailey is a master of English and a sensitive editor who gives richness to the text. It is a pleasure working with her." Nathan Lopes Cardozo, The Cardozo Academy


"First of all, look at Deborah Meghnagi Bailey's website and all those she has worked for. That speaks volumes and when she worked for me, a beginner writer, I wasn't let down. Deborah rose to the challenge. She cared to transform my bitty, incomplete draft into a professional, quality text. She has the skill and heart to lift your text to be one of great quality." David Geffen, Common Denominator


"I can only reiterate what others have said about Deborah's fine work. She is simply brilliant at what she does. I gave her my manuscript and she fine combed through every word, thought and sentence structure. I wrote a Torah-based book, and Deborah went on a fact checking spree to make sure the Torah ideas I was presenting were accurate. She is relentless and works diligently to produce the best book for you. Deborah's editing skills smoothed out disjointed thought structures and made them cohesive. If you are writing a book, you need Deborah. She does not hold back in her very constructive critique, but it's done in the best interest of the book and all worth it." Dahlia Abraham-Klein, author of Spiritual Kneading through the Jewish Months: Building the Sacred through Challah


While at The Toby Press

"Deborah Meghnagi Bailey is by far the most gifted and creative editor I have ever worked with. She is superb not only in transforming pedestrian language into polished prose and fashioning paragraphs into a flowing sequence, but also in enhancing textual clarity by occasionally proposing phraseology of her own and thereby adding understanding to the author's intent." - Ambassador Yehuda Avner, author of The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Portrait of Israeli Leadership


"It was a pleasure to work with Deborah Meghnagi Bailey on Covenant & Conversation. Her questions and observations on the text were always perceptive and pertinent and her line editing was impeccable. She proved adept at taking essays written over many years and creating a cohesive whole. I do not hesitate to recommend her and her work warmly." Lord Jonathan Sacks, Former Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth


"I have gotten to know Deborah Meghnagi Bailey as editor of the English edition of my book, Flags Over the Warsaw Ghetto, and found her to be an excellent editor - scrupulous and exacting. She did a fine job. I recommend her highly." Professor Moshe Arens, former Minister of Defense for Israel


"Deborah Meghnagi has asked me to write a letter of recommendation for her. As is well known, in most such cases we have little choice but to search for a few good things to say and do so out of a sense of obligation. In the case of Ms Meghnagi, I have to do no searching whatsoever, and writing such a letter is an unadulterated pleasure. For six years (2005-2010 inclusive), Ms. Meghnagi served as the editor of three of my books (Rogov's Guide to Israeli Wines, Rogov's Guide to Kosher Wines and Rogues, Writers and Whores: Dining with the Rich and Infamous, the first two of which are annual publications). As I have often said, a bad editor comes straight from hell and a good editor, rare and far between, is a gift from the heavens. Deborah was a gift, her work rapid, accurate and intelligent. Indeed we did not always agree on every point of editing but with calm and intelligent discussion each disagreement worked its way to a positive conclusion. No less important, neither Deborah nor I ever lost our sense of humor through those discussions. In short, Ms. Meghnagi earns my highest recommendation, not only as an editor but as a person competent and talented enough to work with and coordinate a staff of editors." Daniel Rogov

Writing

"Kol Menachem Publishers interviewed more than thirty distinguished, accomplished men and women - doctors, rabbis, politicians, generals, actors - who had had relationships of some depth with the Lubavitcher Rebbe. We asked them not only about their relationship with the Rebbe, but about their own lives. We were looking for a talented writer to take the material we had collected and use it to write an engaging, exciting book. We interviewed sixteen unsuccessful candidates before we approached Deborah Meghnagi Bailey. The writing sample she gave us was everything we had been looking for, and after we hired her for the job, she gave us more of the same. She understood intuitively how to portray many different personalities convincingly, and how to build a compelling story from basic facts. Where necessary, she did her own research to make a fuller portrait, and where necessary, asked further questions of the interviewees to hone her understanding of their lives, both the facts and their beliefs and motivation. Her writing proved to be fluid and eloquent, her understanding of the material extremely sympathetic. Her work ethic was impressive; she was totally committed to doing the best job possible and always delivered what she said she would. We were delighted with her work, as were the interviewees themselves, and are planning on publishing the final result in the near future." Menachem Kirschenbaum, Kol Menachem Publishers



"I wish to express my admiration for Deborah for the writing of an abbreviated biography about me that was completed in December 2014. Deborah became very knowledgeable about members of my family as well as myself and thus was able to write a cohesive story that has been well received by those who have read it. Since it was necessary that we consult closely, Deborah's pleasant and level-headed approach made the task easier and with minimal stress. In many areas about which she was writing, Deborah did research to both verify what I had told her and to gain insight independently of me. With my permission, she had access to my children and grandchildren and that worked out well. I would recommend her to anyone for writing projects that require similar talents to those she displayed in working with me." Robert M. Beren



"My editor, Deborah Meghnagi Bailey, has been invaluable in recording my parents' lives with eloquence, veracity, and passion. It was clear to me that from the moment she read the first draft of my parents' Holocaust experiences, she connected with them emotionally, and was committed to transforming their words into truly exceptional stories, beautifully written, with great impact and meaning. She wrote fabulous narratives of their experiences, consulting with me every step of the way to ensure that my parents' voices remained authentic. With her extensive skills, she greatly impacted every aspect of this project by strengthening my parents' voices, the Torah connections to their lives, and the ultimate meaning of their stories. This book would not have come to be without my tireless and passionate editor. I highly recommend Deborah as an editor who can rework stories into an eloquent and passionate memoir." Dr. Benjamin Tripp

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