Laura Portwood-Stacer

Aug 4, 2022

Do You Need a Developmental Editor?

A Discussion with Laura Portwood-Stacer

New Books Network 2022

Welcome to The Academic Life! In this episode you’ll hear about:

  • Dr. Laura Portwood-Stacer’s own experience getting her first two academic books published.
  • An overview of different kinds of editors who will be part of shepherding your book to publication.
  • What a developmental editor does.
  • Why might you need to hire one.
  • Her advice to book editors and their clients.


Our guest is: Dr. Laura Portwood-Stacer, who is a scholar and academic. She wrote a book based on her dissertation and many scholarly journal articles, including “How To Email Your Professor (Without Being Annoying AF).” She earned a PhD in Communication, with a certificate in gender studies, from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. She lives in Los Angeles and, in 2021, I became a two-time Jeopardy champion. She is the author of The Book Proposal Book, and runs her own consulting business for authors.

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, who holds a PhD in American history.

Listeners to this episode may also be interested in:

  • Stylish Academic Writing, by Helen Sword
  • What Editors Do, by Peter Ginna
  • This podcast about the peer review process
  • This podcast about book proposals, by Laura Portwood-Stacer
  • Information about developmental editing and academic book publishing in general: 
  • These online programs, including a free webinar for scholarly authors on How to Work With a Developmental Editor
  • Information about The Book Proposal Book including free downloads and worksheets
  • Laura’s weekly newsletter with timely tips and resources for scholarly authors

You are smart and capable, but you aren’t an island, and neither are we. We reach across our mentor network to bring you podcasts on everything from how to finish that project to how to take care of your beautiful mind. Here on the Academic Life channel, we embrace a broad definition of what it means to be an academic and to lead an academic life. We view education as a transformative human endeavor and are inspired by today’s knowledge-producers working inside and outside the academy. Wish we’d bring on an expert about something? DMs us on Twitter: @AcademicLifeNBN.

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Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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