Developmental editing for scholars, journalists, and other nonfiction writers

Recommended by leading publishers, editors, agents, and authors

“A highly professional and sharp-eyed editor.”

Kim Robinson, Editorial Director, University of California Press

I’ve had the privilege of working with so many extraordinary writers.
Here are some of the books they’ve written:

About me

I am a developmental editor specializing in idea-driven nonfiction books by scholars, journalists, professionals, and other writers. I help authors edit and develop new book projects that address important social, historical, scholarly, and political issues. Deeply passionate about research, publishing, and social change, I have spent my career helping authors maximize the impact of their writing.

Before working independently, I worked for many years in acquisitions and editorial at notable scholarly and cultural publishers, including University of California Press where I helped bring to print books by influential writers and thinkers including Cynthia Enloe, Kathryn Edin, Arlie Hochschild, Aldon Morris, and Paul Farmer. I have an MFA in Writing from California College of the Arts where I received the Heritage Scholarship, and for several years, I worked with the editorial development agency Word Literary with Cecelia Cancellaro (founder of Word Literary and co-founder of Idea Architects). I also previously worked in editorial at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art where I helped produce award-winning catalogues and bring to readers new writing by major cultural critics, academics, and essayists. I was the founding editor of a Zellerbach-funded magazine of new writing and translation in San Francisco, and I have published essays and reviews in numerous literary and cultural publications. I am also a writing and editorial consultant for artists, photographers, and curators in both Europe and the United States.

An independent editor and writer since 2016, I continue to have the immense privilege of working closely with many extraordinary authors on their exciting books.

Some publishers where recent clients have published books and signed contracts:


I provide comprehensive line editing and developmental editing services for whole manuscripts or individual chapters. I work with authors at all stages of manuscript development—from outline to final draft. I work closely with authors on a number of important editorial elements, including tightening and cleaning up prose; ensuring a solid organization and tight argumentation; honing framework and transitions; ensuring a strong authorial voice; enhancing readability; and eliminating jargon. I also help authors integrate narrative and story to expand readership and impact.

My background is in both manuscript editorial and acquisitions, and I have extensive experience helping authors identify and avoid the kinds of textual and framing issues that frequently pose problems for connecting with publishers, or that will get called out during peer review. I help authors understand how a book argument differs from scholarly contribution, and how to enhance that argument to reach agents, publishers, and readers.

Proposals are an essential document for getting the attention of agents or publishers. But proposal guidelines are often vague or use language that only publishing professionals will understand. By their nature, proposals must make a case not only for the originality of the book’s content and arguments, but also its opportunities among key audiences and within a broader reading market. I work closely with authors to help them understand how to craft a proposal that will highlight their book’s interventions, while also ensuring the proposal is addressing the elements that will inspire publishers and agents to keep reading.

In addition to editorial development, I also provide writing services. Please get in touch for more info.

Praise from authors I’ve worked with:

“Chris’s feedback on my work was invaluable. I contacted him at a time of great doubt and his attentive and encouraging editorial work helped me strengthen my voice throughout the manuscript. I hope I’ll have the opportunity to work with him again.”

Bianca J. Baldridge, Harvard University
Author of Reclaiming Community: Race, Politics, and the Uncertain Future of Youth Work
Stanford University Press
Winner of the Critics’ Choice Award from the American Educational Studies Association

“Christopher was indispensable in my efforts to get a great agent and contract with a major publisher. I worked with him to develop my manuscript and proposal, which received immediate interest from numerous agents. After signing with a top agent, my book went to auction and six of the country’s top publishers made contract offers. Christopher’s support was crucial. It was a true privilege to work with him.”

Philip William Gold, Chief of Neuroendocrine Research, National Institute of Mental Health
Author of Breaking Through Depression
Represented by Jennifer Herrera at David Black Agency
Forthcoming from Twelve Books/Hachette

“I definitely could not have written my book (or subsequently gotten tenure) without Christopher’s editorial guidance. His support was essential for helping me successfully edit the text and find a great publisher.”

Erica O. Turner, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Author of Suddenly Diverse: How School Districts Manage Race and Inequality
The University of Chicago Press
Winner the 2021 Erickson and Hornberger Outstanding Ethnography Book Award
Bourdieu Best Book Award from the Sociology of Education Association (Honorable Mention)
Winner of the Critics’ Choice Award from the American Educational Studies Association

“I reached out to Christopher Lura after being referred to him by my editor at Oxford University Press. It would be hard for me to state how much I appreciate his fantastic work. I am so grateful for the thoughtfulness with which he read the manuscript and for his terrific editing. The book is much better for it.”

Anu Bradford, Columbia Law School
Director, European Legal Studies Center
Author of The Brussels Effect: How the European Union Rules the World
Oxford University Press
Named ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2020 by Foreign Affairs

“I worked on my book Among Murderers with Christopher Lura and I don’t know what I would have done without him. He was the most involved and attentive editor. He saw the bigger picture and the minute details when I was at a loss. Just as importantly, he responded to an anxious writer’s questions with short notice and great care. I recommend Christopher to anyone working on a book that requires intellectual insight, technical scrutiny, and literary finesse.

Sabine Heinlein, Award-winning journalist
Author of Among Murderers: Life after Prison
University of California Press 
Gold Medal Winner, Independent Publisher Book Awards

“Christopher Lura is a brilliant, professional, and detail-oriented editor. He truly understands scholarly writing and editing. I can say without a doubt he helped me produce the best book possible. I would recommend his services without hesitation. He draws on years of experience as an editor, and his precision, clarity, and professionalism are rare to encounter.”

Hentyle Yapp, New York University
Author of Minor China: Materialism, Method, and Mediation on the Global Art Market
Duke University Press

“Thank you so much, Chris. I feel like you gave me an advanced course in writing. I am very happy with the way the book turned out, and your contribution was central.”

Terry Allen Kupers, The Wright Institute Graduate School of Psychology
Author of Solitary: The Inside Story of Supermax Isolation and How We Can Abolish It 
University of California Press
Winner of the Gloria Huntley Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness

“Christopher helped me transform a rough and uneven book draft into something much more polished and presentable. He is deeply attentive to both nitty gritty details and larger matters of flow and structure, with a strong sense of how to work with an author to help a project realize its potential.”

Jonathan Obert, Amherst College
Author of The Six-Shooter State: Public and Private Violence in American Politics
Cambridge University Press

“Christopher Lura combines a sharp editorial and critical vision with generous encouragement. Chris’s superb editing helped me significantly improve my book manuscript. I have recommended him to many colleagues and I would strongly recommend him to any author who wants to publish the best book they can.”

Julie Kleinman, Fordham University
Author of Adventure Capital: Migration and the Making of an African Hub in Paris
University of California Press
Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies, Honorable Mention

From publishing professionals:

“Christopher Lura is an editor who knows how to help authors produce fantastic books. I regularly refer authors and other editors to him and his editorial work has been instrumental in the success of a number of important projects for University of California Press. I highly recommend him.”

Naomi Schneider
Executive Acquisitions Editor 
University of California Press

“Christopher Lura is a gifted developmental editor, impeccable in his judgment and attention to detail. He has worked on many projects for me and I have always been tremendously impressed. He has considerable experience helping scholars craft manuscripts to reach a wide range of readers, and he brings a great deal of experience, expertise, and care to everything he does. I recommend him very highly.” 

Cecelia A. Cancellaro
Senior Editor, Cambridge University Press
Founder, Word Creative Literary Services

“Christopher is a highly professional and sharp-eyed editor. Our acquisitions team continues to turn to him to help scholars edit important new books for the press.”

Kim Robinson
Editorial Director 
University of California Press

“I’ve connected Chris with multiple authors in the past—he does fantastic work and authors love working with him. He’s not just good at what he does, but he brings a great deal of familiarity with the subjects in which he edits to the table as well. I highly recommend him.”

Justin Race
Editorial Director 
University of Nevada Press  

“Christopher Lura is a versatile and accomplished editorial professional. I have worked closely with Chris in the past and his intelligence, integrity, calm demeanor, and good humor regularly ensure the success of his editorial and professional work. As a scholar, editor and the author of several books, I can tell you that if you have editing work that needs to be done right, he’s the one you want.”

Peter Richardson, Ph.D.
San Francisco State University, American Studies
Award-winning author of:
The High White Sound: Hunter S. Thompson and the Birth of Gonzo (forthcoming from University of California Press)
No Simple Highway: A Cultural History of the Grateful Dead, (St. Martin’s Press)
A Bomb in Every Issue: How the Short, Unruly Life of Ramparts Magazine Changed America (The New Press)


I provide a free estimate for any work together and a free initial phone consultation for manuscript work to discuss your project. I’m proud to say the authors I work with consistently achieve their publication and revision goals; but all editors are different, and you should be able to make an educated choice when deciding who to work with.

Contact: Click here to go to my contact form


I am proud to be listed as a recommended editor by the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. As a book editor, my work is directly motivated by the goal of helping researchers, scholars, and other writers turn original research into powerful social, cultural, and educational change.

© Christopher Lura, 2021