margy thomas phd scholarshape editing writing consultation scholar support services

Developmental Editing Services for Scholarly Book Authors

Your book is more than a line on a CV or a box to check for tenure and promotion. It’s a work of art that uses both evidence and logic to invite your reader into an understanding of what matters most about your subject. Your book is an expression of who you are.

My developmental editing services are designed to help you find both the story and the argument in your material. I analyze your work-in-progress and give you specific, tailored suggestions on how to structure, engineer, and compose your text so that it simultaneously advances a persuasive argument and tells a compelling story about what your research means. I call this form of research communication a Story-Argument.

Story-Argument (noun): a knowledge product that reveals one main point about its subject, supports that point with evidence and reasoning arranged in sequence, and references a larger theme beyond the subject.

A Story-Argument is an intricately engineered sequence of claims and evidence that carries the reader forward, whether across 30 pages or 300, with a sense of urgency, suspense, and unfurling illumination, culminating in a sense of resolution as well as raising of new and better questions that invite readers into meaning-making of their own.

Whether you’re at the book proposal stage or preparing a nearly final draft for submission, I can meet you in the middle of your knowledge-building process and help you find your Story-Argument. I can also assist with academic articles (new and revise-&-resubmit), conference papers, grant proposals, policy papers, and white papers.

The goal of my services is not only to assist with your current project but also to provide broader insight on how to craft your research into Story-Arguments within specific genres.

For new clients, availability begins in January 2020. You can send me an inquiry for more information about services and scheduling. Retainers start at $3,800 for 40 hours.

You can also find complimentary support on the blog and in my free e-courses.

—Margy Thomas, Ph.D.


“When I first hired Margy, I had a book contract but no clear idea of the book’s unifying theme. After her first review of the manuscript, Margy had proposed two central concepts and reverse-outlined the entire structure of each chapter. Her feedback led me to more holistically conceive of the manuscript, which motivated me to reframe the chapters and even modify the title of the book. As a developmental editor, a task not for the faint of heart, Margy’s skills are unparalleled. But what I most appreciated about my work with Margy is that she converted the solitary act of writing into a collaborative process. With my manuscript in her capable hands, I felt less alone.”

—Rachel Hynson, Ph.D., author of Laboring for the State (Cambridge UP, 2019)

“Margy is a masterful story shaper, has a sharp editing eye, and is adept at moving back and forth between the big picture of the book and the smaller details in each chapter, page, and paragraph. I highly highly recommend working with her no matter the stage of your project!”

—Katie Gaddini, Ph.D., author of forthcoming narrative nonfiction (Columbia UP, 2020)