Editorial Services

What Services Do You Offer?

There are two flavors of editing I do: manuscript critiques and sensitivity reading for literary genres (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry). At this time, I am not doing copyediting or academic editing.
What is a Manuscript Critique?
This is written feedback on a draft of a short story, novel, or poetry collection (occasionally, a series of poems that is to be submitted to a journal). I focus on features such as voice / characters, theme, and other features of the manuscript that make it coherent and compelling. Click here to learn more about what I do and how I do it. 
What Is a Sensitivity Reading?
I read all lengths of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry on characters, themes, and research related to the following:
  • immigration from countries of the post-Soviet space and earlier Soviet immigration;
  • twentieth-century Russian-Jewish (or Jewish-Russian, as you prefer) experience;
  • Soviet and Jewish generational trauma; 
  • women and gender in the Soviet Union;
  • late Soviet culture and society (1950-1991); and
  • grammatically and stylistically correct Russian, including transliteration per the Library of Congress standard used by the Chicago Manual of Style.
Click here to find out more about how this works. 
What Do You Bring to the Table? 
I have been editing for the past five years, have with a PhD in Slavic languages and literature, and am a former program director for a Russian language program. I'm also a fellow poet, nonfiction writer, and translator, published by nationally recognized journals, magazines, and with a book of my own out last year. Authors across many different genres hire me: YA writers, nonfiction authors, and poets, among otehrs.
Will This Editor Tear Your Work Apart?
Many editors comment mostly on negative aspects of the draft. I practice honest, specific, and compassionate assessment. I also believe in incremental improvement to literary works over time. That means that I often work with authors over time on several drafts. Most of them find that significant improvements occur in that process.

Shepherding any literary work through an editing process can be disheartening for any writer, but if you are lucky enough to work with an editor such as Olga Livshin, you know your work will be given the most professional, heartfelt attention. Olga’s literary skill in editing—whether it be essays, poems, academic papers, or longer works—is impeccably professional.

And because she is a poet, writer and teacher herself, she doesn’t just edit—she goes beyond mechanics and grammar and keeps in mind the nuances and tone of language, and most importantly, the writer’s vision. She reads and edits with a deeply passionate eye, helping writers and artists say what it is they are trying to say, and to say it unforgettably.

— Kathleen Witkowska Tarr, author, We Are All Poets Here

I'm so happy Olga edited the Russian dialogue in my YA novel. What a difference her changes made. Now, I have real Russian spoken in the story! Thank you, Olga!

— JoAnne Keltner