The Craft and Business of Developmental Fiction Editing

Most of us can agree on what a copyeditor, proofreader, or indexer does, but why is it so difficult to define developmental editing? If you ask ten developmental editors what the job entails, you’re likely to get ten different answers. Is it the same as global, structural, or substantive editing? What are some of the specific services you might offer? What does an edit letter look like? How do you approach it? What are some important business considerations to think about? In this candid and educational Q&A, Susan Chang, a relative newcomer to the business of freelance developmental editing, interviews Shirin Yim Leos, a successful developmental editor with many years of experience.

How to Attend This Event

MEMBERS: New for the 2022–2023 season, all PEN members will receive the access link for this meeting ahead of the event date—no registration required. However, registering does help us know how many attendees to expect.

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February 14, 2023


6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


  • Shirin Yim Leos
    Shirin Yim Leos

    Award-winning author, developmental editor, and former publisher of Goosebottom Books Shirin Yim Leos has edited and coached writers to multibook deals from Big Five publishers and film and television options from major entertainment companies. She is the author of twenty-one children’s books, leads writing retreats, and teaches writing and publishing for universities and conferences around the world.

  • Susan Chang
    Susan Chang

    Susan Chang is a freelance developmental editor with thirty years of experience acquiring books at Big Five publishers. She began her publishing career at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where she worked for nine years before moving on to shorter stints at Hyperion Books for Children (a former imprint of Disney Publishing Worldwide) and Parachute Publishing (a book packager). She was a senior editor at Tor Books (Macmillan Publishers) for seventeen years before launching Susan Chang Editorial in 2022.