Susan Bono

Editorial Services, Writing Instruction, Coaching

Class and Events  |  Classes  |  Past Highlights
Susan Bono, photo by Catherine Conlin


P.O. Box 928, Petaluma, CA 94953


(707) 762-3208


"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

A good editor gives you at least two extra eyesóone in the center of your forehead that stays focused on your literary vision; one in the back of your head for tracking details and keeping your bases covered.

In my former career as a high school English teacher and in my current work as a writerís group facilitator, workshop presenter, editor, and small press publisher, Iíve been helping writers improve their vision for more than 20 years. I enjoy every type of editing project, but specialize in facilitating you and your fiction, essays, and memoir.

Literary Services

Editing & Coaching

For inquiry or quotes, please see contact info above

The Flat Rate Edit

For short pieces (3,000 words or less), I offer a flat rate edit. $75.00 includes margin notes and an in-depth written analysis, with emphasis on practical suggestions. In these "essay intensives," I am often able to help writers identify and break through patterns that have been limiting the scope of their work. Hard copy or email submissions okay, but please query first.


  • Patricia Harrelson, essayist, Community College instructor, Jamestown, CA:
    "We who keep scribbling are blessed by the likes of you who scribble on our work."
  • Judith Ryan Hendricks, author of Bread Alone (Morrow, 2001), Isabel's Daughter (June 2003) and Baker's Apprentice (2005).
    "Susan, thanks for showing me why God created editors."
  • Rebecca Lawton, author of Reading Water: Lessons from the River (Capitol Books, 2002).
    An accomplished writer in her own right, Susan is a superlative editor as well: incisive, sensitive, tactful, and respectful of the author's unique voice. Her light, sure touch only improved my work. The literary conversation we had while revising my essay "Faith in the Dry Season" not only led to a deeper understanding of the piece but to a Pushcart Prize nomination. Beg, borrow, barter--do anything you can to raise the funds to work with her. You'll be glad you did!"
  • Alla Crone, author of East Lies the Sun , Winds over Manchuria , North of the Moon , Legacy of Amber , Rodina and Maxim.
    "After writing for years and publishing six books, I have never had such in-depth help as I did from Susan Bono. My only regret is that I didn't meet her earlier! Her critique was detailed, meticulous, not only in regard to the theme and structure of my current book, but also the grammar and lazy writing. For that I am eternally grateful. In short, she didn't let me get away with anything, and yet her comments were tactful and kind. My next manuscript is going to her as soon as I finish my first draft."

Classes and Events

Literary conferences, fairs, meetings, and courses

No events or classes are currently scheduled. Please check back soon!No events or classes are currently scheduled. Please check back soon!

Past Highlights

Highlights of 2015

3rd Annual Autumn Arts Stays at Emandal Farm

Itís one of those simple truths that a change of scene can help you get in touch with your creativity. Whether youíre writing family stories, memoir, poetry, or fiction, time spent absorbing the delights of Emandal will help you access your memory and imagination more completely. Whatever your skill level, youíll experience the inspiration, community, and nurturing feedback youíll need to keep writing once you return home.

  • Session II: September 30--October 4, 2015.

    11th Annual Point Reyes Writing Retreat

    Friday, May 22, 2015 6:00pm to Monday, May 25, 2:00pm
    Instructors: Susan Bono and Patti Trimble

    Fee: $200/Non-Member Fee: $220

    This retreat has inspired writers for eleven years, and it provides a quiet time away from our busy lives, a time to write in community and in the wilderness. It also offers morning workshops on poetry, essays with writing prompts, discussion of form and writing about and in nature. Patti and Susan create a respectful and energetic environment where excellent new writing happens! The class is open to anyone who wants to write about (or in) nature.

    Accommodations included at the Historic Lifeboat Station.

  • For Info or to Register.

    Jumpstart Writing Workshops

    Place: Petaluma Copperfield's
    140 Kentucky St., Petaluma
    Time: Mondays from 6:30--8:30 p.m.
    $15 drop-in fee
    Workshops facilitated by Susan Bono and Marlene Cullen, alternating months.

    A weekly writing workshop where inspirational prompts encourage experimentation and generate authentic writing. Beginners as well as experienced writers welcome.

    Bring a notebook and a fast-moving pen for this journey into deep writing and listening.

  • Details at

    The Long and Short of It: Tips for Successful Essay and Memoir

    A Redwood Writers Club Event
    Date: April 12, 2015
    Place: Flamingo Hotel,
    2777 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, CA
    Time: 2:30--5 p.m.
    Members: $5, non-members $8

    Do you know the essential elements every creative non-fiction writer can use to create robust, compelling first-person stories? Do you know the statement that forms the core of every essay or memoir? Writing teacher and editor Susan Bono will discuss key concepts of essay and memoir writing at the April 12 meeting of Redwood Writers at the Flamingo Hotel.

  • Details at

    You Are Here: A Writing Retreat in Point Reyes

    Friday, August 28, 2015 6 p.m.-Sunday, August 30, 2 p.m. at the Point Reyes Historic Lifeboat Station

    $200 Field Institute members/$220 non-members

    Every story youíll ever want to tell takes place in a specific geographical location. Whether you are interested in writing family stories, memoir, poetry, or fiction, a weekend spent absorbing the sensory delights of this rare and protected land will expand your relationship with your work.

  • For Info or to Register.

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