Hello! I’m Jenna Nelson. I’m a developmental and copy editor, with experience working on over 300 books. My specialties are:

  • wellness & mind/body/spirit
  • cookbooks & food writing
  • how-to & gardening

For examples of my work, please see my portfolio page. Tell me about your project—I am accepting new clients. To get in touch, email jenna AT tastefulediting.com

Make your words delicious

Some days your writing flows easily. You are inspired. The words are there like magic. You type away steadily, with no interruptions or distractions. Just you and an amazing story.

* Or your work gives you that “almost there . . . but not quite” feeling. You want to polish your manuscript and make it shine, but you’ve been so close to it for so long that you can’t see it clearly.

* Or you know that you have a strong story, but it wandered . . . and now you’re struggling. You want to get your work moving again, but you lost your sense of direction along the way.

* And some days you feel lost in a forest of words. Your ideas are all over the place and seem to be going nowhere. You wonder if you have a story . . . or just more pages of stuff. 

I can help you find a path forward. An experienced editor helps you see the big picture and view your writing through fresh eyes. As we work together, I offer you constructive comments to help you figure out what is already working. Then I offer suggestions to help you make productive revisions and feel more certain about the path you choose to take.

Fiction Authors

  • I can help you revise effectively with publisher expectations in mind. I edit novel-length work, with a special interest in shorter forms. I welcome authors who are translating works into English and need to balance creativity while respecting the original. 

“I am immensely grateful for Jenna’s role in helping me navigate the complexities of developmental editing. The improvements made to my manuscript under her guidance have far exceeded my expectations. Working with Jenna has been a transformative experience, and I wholeheartedly recommend her services to any aspiring author looking to refine their craft and bring their writing to the next level. Thank you, Jenna, for your expertise, encouragement, and unwavering commitment to my project. I look forward to the opportunity to collaborate again in the future!”

Chris

Aspiring Author, developmental editing

“I have been working with Jenna on the developmental edit of my book and it has been a great experience. She is always quick to respond and turn a chapter around. Her edits are clear and helpful. Not only is the book improving but I am also learning a lot. The best part for me is that this was a new experience. I had never worked with an editor and she is super helpful and encouraging. She gets what I am trying to accomplish with the book so it feels like its a true partnership.”

Wendy

Aspiring Author, developmental editing & coaching

What are you Working on?

  • Let’s talk about how to take your project where you want it to go. Contact jenna AT tastefulediting.com

Author-Friendly Suggestions

  • I respect writers and the time, effort, and care you put into your manuscript. I’m here to help you find your way to the destination you want to reach.

“Jenna was a complete pleasure to work with. She gave me exactly what I wanted and worked very quickly with my timeline. She was professional, friendly, and highly efficient. But what I appreciated most about working with Jenna was her constant communication. I always knew exactly where we were in the process. Thanks for the great experience Jenna!”

Alyssa Cremeans

Self-published Author, The Happy Mason Jar: Quick, Easy Mason Jar Desserts and Wine Pairings

Quality Work

  • Excellent developmental, line, and copy editing with reliable turnaround times. I give you timely updates during the edit, and the approach is tailored to you and your project.

“[Jenna] functions as an ‘interested first reader’ for the books she edits, identifying weak passages where the message may not be clear, or asking questions that may need to be answered to illuminate key points . . . . Her thoughts were invaluable.”

Marianne Willburn

Gardening Author, Tropical Plants and How to Love Them

“Working with Jenna was a delight. She gave great edits and communicated clearly. I’ll definitely be reaching out to Jenna for future projects.”

Sarah Austin Casson

Self-published Author, How to Start Running (And Enjoy It)

Delightful Desserts (Page Street, 2017)

Meet Your Editor: Jenna

I’m an experienced editor who truly enjoys working with authors to make every book the best it can be.

    • I develop projects that help readers unlock their inner strength, set intentions, and invite healing.
    • I specialize in projects that inspire readers to explore the natural world.
    • I enjoy working with authors who help their readers make lifestyle changes and reach challenging new goals.
    • I also edit food and cookbook manuscripts of all kinds—from Ayurvedic balancing to cannabis cocktails to vegan baking.
    • I seek out works that are written on behalf of animals and stories that have strong culinary themes.

University of Chicago – editing (developmental track)
Simon Fraser University – plain language certificate
Author-Editor Clinic – developmental editing
University of California–San Diego – copy editing certificate
University of California–Berkeley – indexing

PhD, Emory University
women’s studies (cultural sociology + media studies focus)
Separate Shelves: Gender Distinctions and Market Segmentation in American Children’s Publishing, 1860-1960 (dissertation)

MA, Université de Montréal
études anglaises

BA, University of Pittsburgh
political science + global literature 

Jenna is an amazing editor, driven to improve the meaning and material in the author’s voice. She’s not content until both the publisher and the author are. Highly communicative, and with an intelligent and compassionate book-side manner, working with Jenna is a wonderful experience that I wish every author could share.

Tamasin Noyes

Cookbook Author, The Great Vegan Protein Book

Bernard Beach. Julia Child's home in Maine.

Cookbook Copy Editing

  • Need specialized skills to help your cookbook stand out? I work with you to ensure that every page is clear, complete, and engaging. Are your recipes complex? No problem. I understand the chef and the home cook, and I know how to balance their needs on the page. I have extensive experience with special diets (e.g., vegan, vegetarian, raw, Paleo, AIP, and Keto). And I am comfortable working with nutritional analysis, metric conversions, and complex methods.

“It was a pleasure to see Jenna copyedit one of the cookbooks I co-penned. Her expertise, attention to detail, and respect for the message to be conveyed, all greatly helped make the book even better than I hoped for. I look forward to working with Jenna again soon!”

 

Celine Steen

Cookbook Author & Food Photographer, The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions

The Dog Diet Answer Book by Dr. Greg Martinez, DVM (Fair Winds Press, 2016)
Bottom of the Pot by Naz Deravian (Flatiron, 2018)
No Meat Athlete by Matt Frazier (Fair Winds, 2018)

Why I Specialize

Editing is a perfect combination of the things I know and enjoy. I began editing fifteen years ago because I like helping authors set their readers up for success and being a part of the team that turns a manuscript into a finished book.

      • I am the daughter of a food scientist. While I was growing up, I learned about ingredients in our backyard garden, and I learned to cook using the industrial stand mixer in our kitchen. I am an active, lifelong home cook. I test recipes for some outstanding cookbook authors. Recipe testing helps me approach every project with even more appreciation for the author’s creativity and hard work.
      • I am involved in food communities. I serve on the board of directors for the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to supporting Maine’s farmers, strengthening our local food network, and fighting food insecurity in our state.
      • Honestly, I’m not that great a gardener. In March I start seeds under lights to help winter feel a little less long. I care for my seedlings, and some thrive. But anything that goes into the garden probably ends up feeding the deer—and that’s totally okay! I have a small (deer-resistant!) dye garden, and I focus on natural dyes and hand-stitching in my creative work.
      • I attend a virtual writing group every day. I value the people I write alongside as we turn our ideas into works-in-progress. There is a real joy in supporting one another and celebrating our successes.
tasteful editing - lupine
Bernard Beach. Julia Child's home in Maine.
Bernard Beach. Julia Child's home in Maine.

When I am not digging through style guides and working with awesome authors, I enjoy life in Maine with my husband, Russell Patton, and our amazing little dog. We like running, hiking in Acadia, and going to see live music—anything from Nick Cave to the Bangor Symphony Orchestra.

Learning: The Healing Wisdom of Africa by Malidoma Patrice Somé
Reading: Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa by Haruki Murakami

Listening: Mika Vainio // Einstürzende Neubauten // field recordings
Watching: Where Is the Friend’s Home? by Abbas Kiarostami

Cooking: The Georgian Feast: The Vibrant Culture and Savory Food of the Republic of Georgia by Darra Goldstein
Running: MDI half-marathon (October) & the Millinocket half-marathon (December)

 

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