Editorial Services

I'm available for developmental editing on memoir manuscripts and proposals, as well as individual essays, with services suited to your needs and budget.

I've edited hundreds of essays as Deputy Editor of the award-winning online publication Narratively, and as a writing instructor at Catapult. My private editing clients have landed agents and book deals based on the manuscript and proposal revisions we worked on together, and placed essays at Longreads, The Washington Post, New York magazine, The Rumpus, and many more amazing publications. 


-Developmental editing for book-length manuscripts: I offer two different approaches to book editing, to accommodate writers at different stages of the process, and their budgets:

  • Zoomed-in, scene-by-scene and line-by-line editing for full manuscripts starting at $1,500 depending on length and current state of development.
  • Big-picture evaluation of structure, tone, and pacing starting at $600. Get a 1-2 write-up of any structural or foundational issues that need to be addressed in the early stages of editing. 
  • Discount available for a combination of the above. Custom arrangements available depending on your needs and budget. 

-Book proposal critique/editing: Flat rate of $300 for a book proposal edit, not including sample chapters. (Sample chapter edits also available for an additional fee, depending on length.)

-Query letter editing: Flat rate of $50.

-Essay editing: In-depth line edits and suggestions for structural changes, reframing, or whatever your essay needs to make it shine. Rates are:

  • $50 for up to 3,000 words
  • $75 for 3,000-4,000 words
  • $100 for 4,000-5,000 words
  • $125 for 5,000 to 6,000 words

I'm happy to answer any questions about any of these services, work out a plan that works for you, and provide detailed quotes if you send me an email about what you're looking for!

Email lillydancyger at gmail.

Gift certificates available!


I’ve worked with Lilly numerous times. She has helped me revise personal essays and offered feedback on chapters of my book. She even helped me edit my entire book proposal, which resulted in my landing the literary agent of my dreams. As a fellow writer, Lilly understands the craft from an artistic perspective. As a professional editor, she understands the logistics. This is part of what makes her feedback invaluable. She examines work through both the lens of a creative writer and industry professional to highlight what works and what doesn’t. Her feedback is sharp, smart, straightforward, and constructive. Working with her taught me how to look at my own work with a critical eye. She has helped me become a better writer. 
-Ariel Henley, former client 
I loved Lilly's attention to detail. She showed me where readers might become confused and offered great suggestions on how to better weave an emotional arc into my story line. Sometimes it's hard to 'kill your darlings' but she was able to point out the ones I really needed to consider chopping. I also appreciated her timeliness, professionalism, and communication.
-Charlotte Kaufman, former client for her memoir-in-progress
She pulls no punches, that Lilly Dancyger, and in less time than it takes to push the return key she has laid bare the heavy-handed, over writing that so often plagues my writing. I come at my craft with a calligrapher's intent of giving form to my text in an expressive, voluminous, manner. Lilly, and thank the Lord for it,  possesses the keen eye of a true alchemist, turning the least of my offerings into blisteringly sleek awarenesses that all but crawl out from the page and slap you across the face, they’re so good, so unexpected. 
-Regina Louise, former client for her memoir Someone Has Led This Child to Believe: A Case History of Love (Agate, 2018)

Upcoming Classes

CATAPULT 2-Hour Personal Essay Idea Generator (March 20)

This short and sweet generative workshop will help you expand and develop ideas you already have for personal essays, and come up with fresh, exciting new ones. With a focus on identifying and honing your unique perspective, we’ll dig into what you have to add to the ongoing conversation about whatever topic(s) you want to write about, nailing down the difference between a topic and an angle once and for all.

CATAPULT 4-Week Online Nonfiction Workshop: Writing Personal Essays with Substance (April 2-23)

Personal essays have gotten a bad rap in some circles, decried as hyper-confessional, self-indulgent diary entries. And the truth is, a lot of them are. But there’s so much more to personal-essay writing than that unfortunate trope. Successful personal essays don’t just recap something wild that happened to you -- they bring the reader through the story with vivid details and active scenes, and show how the experience changed you.

CATAPULT: 6-Week Online Nonfiction Workshop: Creating a Narrative Arc Out of a Messy Life (May 11-June15)

Creating a satisfying narrative arc out of your own life story is so difficult, partly because you're still living it. How do you write a story where there is no real "end," and when life doesn't actually develop in a series of "aha!" moments? There’s a certain amount of translation necessary to condense a sliver of the messy, complex, ongoing story of your life into something that fits into one book, and feels satisfyingly narrative to a reader.