Barbara DeSantis

Barbara DeSantis editor and writerWith more than thirty years in the book publishing industry, Barbara DeSantis knows what it takes to make a book successful. She understands how essential it is for a manuscript to be polished and publication-ready before submitting it to an agent or book publisher. Clients benefit from her varied professional experience ranging from literary publicist to publishing consultant to book editor and writer.

Barbara began her career in New York at Simon & Schuster where she worked as associate director of publicity for the Adult Trade division. Later she moved to Los Angeles and opened her own business, freelancing for major houses including Penguin, Dutton, Plume, Viking, Atria as well as smaller publishers, independent and university presses, and individual authors. In 2000 she expanded her services to include editing and writing, and since then has had the pleasure to help dozens  of individual writers—both novice and seasoned—craft their stories and hone their skills.

She has worked with writers of fiction—literary, commercial, magical realism, and young adult—and writers of nonfiction—memoir, cookbook memoir, personal history, personal essay, self-help, and spirituality. She has also assisted authors with the development of book proposals, marketing material, business articles, and blogs. Her services include manuscript critique and review, developmental and line editing, ghost writing, collaborative writing, and personal coaching.

Whether you're just getting started or have a manuscript in the final stages, a first-timer or a veteran needing a professional pair of eyes, Barbara will help you transform your ideas into stories, polish your work and get it into optimal shape, identify any problems, inconsistencies and weaknesses on the page, and trouble shoot through honest evaluation, one-on-one feedback and constructive support, while working with you in a truly collaborative effort to help you achieve your writing goals.


Barbara is keen-eyed on the page, respectful of the author's intent, and profoundly insightful in terms of the work as a whole. She knows how to find the heart of a scene and the beauty in a sentence. She brings both psychological understanding and compassion to characters on the page. Barbara loves books and she knows what goes into making one work. Any writer would be fortunate to have her as an editor.” 

—Stephanie Kegan, author of Golden State, a novel

Barbara DeSantis is an incredibly gifted editor. She's insightful, intuitive, and encouraging, making certain every inch of the manuscript soared, caring about its success. She helped me understand when a particular sentiment wasn't conveyed in a sentence or a paragraph, and when I rushed a major plot point in a chapter, she showed me how I could revise a scene to illuminate the point and develop the story as I had intended. She drew my attention to sections needing further development and sentences needing to be scaled back--but never eliminating my voice or changing my style in the process. She zeroed in on my weaknesses and praised my strengths, creating an environment that allowed me to write the strongest book possible. She is a tremendous person and editor, and I have worked with her on many other books and will continue to work with her again!”

 —Kathleen Shoop, author After the Fog, a novel; The Magician, a novel; The Strongman and the Mermaid, a novel; The Kitchen Mistress, a novel

 “Barbara is an extraordinary and gifted editor. She provided insights, solid advice, and superb writing skills throughout the process. She really delved into the story, making me dig deep to uncover hidden truths. (She would have made an excellent psychologist). She turned the book into what it was meant to be, much more than I imagined. I recommend her highly for any editorial work."

—Mari Sutton, author of From Dachau to Denver and Back, a memoir       

“Barbara did much more than edit my book. She challenged me, asked important questions, made me more honest, and pushed me when I needed it—all the while gently encouraging me to go to places in my writing, I didn't think I could. Without her I wouldn't have a book. She led me to a finished product; along the way, I experienced a most wonderful and unexpected journey.”

— Anthony Meindl, director, actor, and author of You Knew When You Were 2, a memoir     Getting Unstuck, A Life Manual on How to Get More Creative, and At Left Brain Turn Right: An Uncommon Path to Shutting Up Your Inner Critic

“Barbara’s immaculate editing skills and research contribution were invaluable in transforming my original manuscript into the book it is now. She provided excellent guidance and coaching that was instrumental in realizing my father’s dream.”

Adel Alsuhaimi, author of Semm Yubah: An Arabian Son’s Journey. a memoir

 “When I think about Barbara I think about the story of Lazarus. My writing was destined for the slush pile, until she infused it with new life. With her insight, sensitive ear, writing and editing skills, she brought my writing back from the grave. She has a phenomenal ability to capture a writer’s voice, becoming one with her client, understanding their mind and soul. A pure synergy of writer and editor occurs. She is a magic wand for any writer.”

—CJ Miller, motivational speaker, and author of Grind, a memoir

 “What a relief it was having Barbara as my editor. She kept my novel on track and understandable, and provided me with insightful suggestions and constructive analysis to make a more compelling story. Whenever I was in doubt about a particular section, she listened, asked questions, and coaxed me back to the right path, while always staying in service to my story. With her help, dedication, and expertise, my writing has reached a higher level. I definitely have a better novel.”  

— R. F. Davis, author of Testament, a novel

“Working with Barbara was a very positive experience. She tightened the prose, strengthened the narrative, and asked probing questions about the character that prompted me to dig deeper, resulting in a much better story. Her input and expertise were invaluable.”

—Jonathan Williams, author of Tales of Yosemite, a collection of short stories

“I had no idea what to look for in an editor when I first asked Barbara to help me with my novel, but after working with her for six months I felt that I had taken an intensive creative writing course. Barbara helped me create a compelling story, showing me how to keep the tension and drama at its highest level. I would recommend her to any writer.”  

Mario Meallet, author of Apophis Second Coming, a novel.

“Barbara helped transform the dusty framework of my 100,000-word manuscript into a well-polished manuscript ready for submission. She improved the story’s structure, rearranging scenes and chapters when needed, and beefing up narration to a more dynamic story. Her line-by-line edit helped expand the story where opportunities were missed, add depth to the characters, and heighten the conflicts between them. She tightened the prose, eliminated redundancies and treading water scenes, kicking the story into high gear where it lagged and stalled. Barbara’s expert skill as an editor forced me to dig deeper and draw out the elements to make a more engaging story.”

Michael Oates, author of Wade in the Water, a novel

Barbara challenged me to work harder and heighten the conflict in my story. She gave great suggestions on how to add subtext to my characters. She really got the story, and always kept in mind ways to enhance its various layers. Barbara seined out my verbal tics, took away my telegraph tendency, and set me to work propping up those sagging sections. Was the patient better afterwards? Absolutely. There is no substitute for an adept, fearless editor.”

— Mark Hughes, author of A Place for Every Gift, a novel





Contact Information:

Los Angeles, California
Tel: (323) 782-3854


Author Coaching Book Proposals Copyediting/Line Editing Developmental Editing Ghostwriting Manuscript Critique/Evaluation Promotional Materials Publishing Consulting