The Purple Ninja Editorial Philosophy?

Edit or Regret It.


"You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke."
~ Arthur Plotnik

Purple Ninja Editorial provides a range of editing and consulting services including developmental editing, line editing, copyediting, and proofreading for fiction and non-fiction books; style guide creation; and design and formatting for print and ebooks through trusted partners.

Hiring an editor can be an intimidating process. You’ve spent hours, days, weeks, maybe even years pouring your heart and soul into your project, and the thought of handing your baby over to someone you may have never met is understandably a bit nerve-racking. Take heart! An editor’s job is to take your work and make it the very best it can be, not to rip it to shreds. It’s important that your editor get a feel for your style and help you fine-tune that style so that you are presented in the very best light and your readers can’t put your book down! 

As an editor, I take a collaborative approach with my authors. Relationships are important to me, and while I do love my red pen, every mark is made with love. Need a little hand-holding? No problem! I’m always here to bounce ideas back and forth and to think of new ways of saying something when you just can’t quite find the words. My promise to you is that I’ll always be honest. If I can help, wonderful! If you need something I can’t provide, I’ll tell you and do my best to find a colleague who can. 

Who's the Ninja Behind Purple Ninja Editorial?

Melissa Stevens
Editor | Head Ninja

Well, since you asked . . . it’s me! I’m Melissa Stevens the founder of Purple Ninja Editorial. I gave up my corporate heels for a laptop and purple Converse (and purple hair) about ten years ago and never looked back. I am passionate about editing, writing, and design. In fact, I break out my red pen on everything I can get my hands on (sometimes even when I’m not asked).

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a journalism minor, and a Certificate in Editing from the University of Washington. I’m a proud member of the Editorial Freelancers Association as well as ACES: The Society for Editing. I have twenty years of professional writing, editing, and marketing experience. I’ve worked in a variety of industries including, non-profits focused on initiatives like tackling environmental issues, aiding our military personnel and their families, and working with troubled youth and battered women. I’ve worked with corporate communications departments, niche market publishers, digital marketing and branding agencies, entrepreneurs, and indie authors. 

No matter my job title over the years, I’ve always found a way to incorporate writing and editing into my life. When I decided it was time to dedicate my work-life to the thing that fulfilled me the most, it only made sense that editing would be the focus.  That’s how Purple Ninja Editorial was born.

I’m a voracious reader, which every great writer knows is essential for flexing those creative muscles. Right now, I’m devouring an excellent crime series, but I also enjoy historical fiction and a good supernatural thriller. When I’m not helping clients or chauffeuring my mini ninja to school, soccer practices, and everywhere in between, I like to take a walk on the creative side and do a little fiction writing of my own. No peeking—it’s not done yet!

At the end of the day when I close my laptop, I spend my time screaming on the sidelines as my son takes to the pitch with his soccer team (I’m a proud mom, so don’t judge); soaking up all the cuddles my two rescue pitties, Buffy and Axl, can give; and dreaming of the sounds of OBX ocean waves.

Meet the Rest of the Ninjas

My Not So Mini Ninja
& Head Tech Ninja

Everyone needs a raison d’etre, and for me, this amazing kid is it. He’s crazy smart, rocks it out on his electric guitar, and works hard for his team on the soccer field. He definitely keeps things lively and is always willing to lend a hand when the old people can’t figure out a tech problem. It is an honor to be his mom, and I can’t wait to see what he accomplishes.

Head Security Ninja

Buffy never falls asleep on the job. Ok, maybe sometimes, but she springs into action at the slightest sound of an intruder in her domain. The UPS man delivering a package, the giggles of the toddler next door, and even the faint clicks of the neighbor dog walking past on the sidewalk all require investigation.

Head Cuddle Ninja

Axl has a truly unique ability to detect when his humans need a brain break. He’s always ready to lend a paw. Sometimes that means a gentle paw placed on my keyboard and sometimes a more forceful nose bump on my arm.  Cuddle breaks are essential for this hard-working editor and Axl isn’t afraid to demand them when necessary.


"Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear."
~ Patricia Fuller

Woman hand writing on notepad with a pen in the office.
Developmental Editing

Also known as structural editing or substantive editing, developmental editing is the most in depth form of editing.

For fiction manuscripts, this type of editing involves looking at overall plot, character development, pacing and tense (voice, tone, etc.), and dialogue.

Developmental editing may also require rewriting entire paragraphs or chapters, adding, removing or reorganizing scenes as well as revising sentence structure.

For non-fiction manuscripts, this type of editing involves working with the author on the table contents, chapter organization, ensuring the tone is correct for the intended audience, assessing whether or not any important information has been left out, and even helping with a writing schedule and research plan. 

Developmental editing is so so important. Do not skip this step! It takes the most time and is the most draining, but when done properly, I promise it’s worth it. 

Designer at work

Copyediting and line editing fall in the medium to heavy category on the editing scale. The copyediting process focuses on revising individual sentences line by line, hence the term line editing. Copyediting can be separated from line editing or combined. Every editor (and author) has their preference. This type of editing requires evaluating the structure of each sentence to ensure it flows better, replacing weak or repetitive words as well as correcting grammar, spelling, and punctuation.  

At this stage, the goal is to fix sentences that may cause your reader to get tripped up as they read. This is also the last opportunity to pick up on any holes that may have been missed during the developmental edit before the manuscript moves to the proofreading phase and finally to the publication phase. 

Copyediting is vital for both fiction and non-fiction manuscripts as well as writing for marketing or business purposes. The last thing you want is silly errors keeping you from presenting your work in its best light. 

hand working on paper for proofreading

Proofreading is the lightest form of editing and should be the last step in the process before your manuscript or other content is approved for publication. The proofreading stage is where you look for any issues that have managed to slip through previous rounds of editing and formatting undetected. Think of the proofread as the quality control step where you go line by line and fix any remaining red flags that could trip up the readers. The focus of the proofread will be on the following: 

  • Consistency in design of text and image elements
  • Consistency of hyphenation and capitalization
  • Proper punctuation
  • Homophones and homonyms
  • Errors in pagination and chapter sequencing
  • Correct paragraph and section breaks
  • Removal of extraneous letter and line spaces
  • Standard and consistent spelling and grammar
  • Standard paragraph indentation
  • Widows, orphans and short lines
Woman hand is writing on a notepad with a pen in office.Web banner.

You have to write effectively to market effectively. If you’ve ever locked eyes with a blank page while your deadline draws closer and closer, you know what I’m talking about.

Copywriting is both an art and a science. It lays the foundation for every single piece of your brand presence including your content marketing, web and print design, advertising strategy and everything in between.

It’s important that your copy is carefully crafted and meets the needs of your audience. Your marketing copy should explain what you do and how you do it, but more than that the copy used on your marketing and communications materials should be a tool that helps move your prospects over the line.

Please don’t settle for copy that’s bogged down with grammatical errors and typos. Hiring  inexperienced writers from Fiverr and site like it will likely only cost you more in the long run. Make the investment in a writer that listens, asks the appropriate  questions and works to understand your business, your audience, and your long and short-term goals. You’ll thank me later. 

Editor talking a plan for magazine edit team of creative in Publisher office.
style guide creation

Building a style guide is important for authors, agencies, and entrepreneurs alike. Think of a style guide as a roadmap for you, your editor, and the rest of your team.

For fiction authors, a style sheet lays out information about big picture elements like a list of characters, locations, and timelines as well as the micro elements including preference for spelling, punctuation, rules about the way your fictional world works, and how you treat paragraphs, headings, narrative, and even speech and thoughts.

For non-fiction authors, the style sheet lays out details about everything above minus the need for story-based info. It also makes note of what, if any, professional style guide your book will follow. Think Chicago Manual of Style, Associated Press Stylebook, MLA Handbook, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, etc. 

And, finally for businesses and agencies, a style or brand guide establishes everything from brand colors, logo options, font choices, tone and language to client avatars and your company vision and mission. It’s an invaluable resource for both internal and external team members. 

Young woman drinking coffee with laptop, cellphone and tablet on table in cafe.
Top view female holding coffee cup in hands with computer and mobile phone in cafe.  
Woman freelancer working at home.
BOOK formatting
& Cover design

Need help formatting your book interior or nailing the perfect cover design? Perhaps you’re feeling a bit lost in the weeds trying to navigate the ins and outs of self-publishing? 

We’re happy to refer you to our industry partners to guide you through the process. You can learn more about everything involved with formatting and self-publishing your manuscript from our trusted partner and friend Becky Bayne, owner of Becky’s Graphic Design.


What's it like to work with Purple Ninja Editorial? Have a look at what some of my clients have to say.

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