I’m David Downing, a Seattle-based fiction editor operating as Maxwellian Editorial Services.

Why “Maxwellian”?

Because I’ve erected a little mental shrine to guide my editing efforts, and upon it to light my path are glowing, graven images of two Maxwells: the great Maxwell Perkins (the younger-looking of the two pictured), editor of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, among many others, and all-but-co-author of Thomas Wolfe’s best (and maybe only endurable) work, and the New Yorker editor (and wonderful writer) William Maxwell.

Both were the kind of editor I think most writers dream of working with: attentive, probing readers, and fully engaged, resourceful, respectful and humane partners in the enterprise of shaping and perfecting each story. I edit because I enjoy doing my best to serve those “Maxwellian” functions for my authors.

Thanks for your interest. If after reviewing the rest of my site you’d like to learn more about how we might work together, I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email at maxwellianeditorial@gmail [dot] com.

And if you’d like to learn more about “my” two Maxwells, check out:

  • Maxwell Perkins: Editor of Genius, A. Scott Berg
  • What There Is To Say, We Have Said: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and William Maxwell, Suzanne Marrs, Ed.
  • My Mentor, Alec Wilkinson
  • Imperishable Maxwell,” John Updike, The New Yorker (Sept 8, 2008)
  • So Long, See You Tomorrow, William Maxwell (novel)
  • All the Days and Nights, William Maxwell (collected stories)

2 thoughts on “Welcome”

  1. Hamid Eid said:

    Hi David,

    Writing a book for me is not that very hard, but finding a smart and trust worthy editor is something else!
    My name is Hamid Eid, 67 yrs. old. I have graduated from the UNT 1991 with a B.A. in English. I am an ex- farmer, but still have the farmer’s mentality.
    After my retirement I started to write, as the matter of fact, back in the late 1980s some real good professors advised me to get involve in writing. Within 8-9 years I produced 12 books. I start writing a book in English and then, I translate it into Arabic.
    There are too much talking and “advices” on how to write, or how to do so and so.
    All I want the editor to do is to make my book easily understood by the ordinary person in the street. That’s all.
    I don’t pay attention to the terms they have been using: editing, proofreading and bla …. ble… When they say these words it means some extra money.
    Please my dear editor, make it so simple and clear for the ordinary Joe! Simplicity is my best strategy.
    Now I have three books written in English:
    The Old Man and the Stories Part 1 , part 2 and part 3
    These three books contain 125,340 words.
    I think I am the only person who is responsible for my books not the editor/s.

    Sometimes it is the bank. If you live in Canada and your bank is in NY, the fund will never be transferred. I have to send the money to Joe (a person) and this person should have a bank account in the same country Joe lives in. why do they do this? I have no idea.
    I have real hard time in the last three or two weeks. One day, they throw me out of the bank. I show them no respect for their stupidity!
    My books are in the field of comparative religions, history and philosophy.
    If you are interested, I will send you one book (the biggest)
    63,000+ words. And please, let me know what you think after you read the book.
    I hope you understand my problem. Thank you very much for reading my letter.
    Best wishes,
    Hamid Eid

    • Hello Hamid –

      Thanks for reaching out, but I don’t think I’m the man for you. I only edit fiction and memoirs (well, I’ve edited ONE memoir); no non-fiction for me.

      Best of luck to you in finding that perfect editor. Be warned: a good editor will be trying (and, I think, deserves) to make a living at it, so will charge you accordingly. For me to read and then edit a novel of about 63,000 words, I’d likely charge around $2000. If the book requires a good deal of line editing, that could bump up to $2500 or more.

      More bad news: Every professionally published book you read has been edited, AND copy edited (they really are different things), AND proofread. If you’re self-publishing and still want to end up with a product that people will not only just understand but feel to be well written/researched/presented, you could conceivably get by with a content editor (like me) and then a combination copy editor/proofreader–though if you do, you can expect errors to still slip through. And every error that readers encounter will lessen their opinion of you and your book.

      Again, best of luck.


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