Top 10 Best Books I've Ever Worked On


I'm grateful for my authors. They are stupendous. They treat me well, they pay on time, and they write gripping books that I love to show off.

So that's exactly what I'm going to do. Show off my favorite books by my own authors. Everyone listed here has come to me for some type of service: editing, marketing, book launches, design, etc. I believe it's important to showcase the works of indie authors, because word of mouth is the best form of advertising. And plus, I just love these people. Enjoy!

1929 by M. L. Gardner
(historical fiction)

Drama. Love. History. Comedic relief. And characters you’ll think about well after you set down the book. I edited this book and instantly fell in love with Jonathan, Arianna, and Maura. Of course, there are many other characters to love too, but when you read the book, you’ll see why they’re so lovable. The best part of editing this book was forming a friendship with the author herself. Molly is stupendous. If I am half the woman she is when I grow up (I’m not actually a grown-up yet, am I?), then I will have made it. If you’re looking for an epic novel with a dose of everything, the 1929 series is for you.

Waiting for Wyatt by S. D. Hendrickson
(new adult fiction/romance)

Do you have any idea how hard it is to choose one novel out of three? I had the honor of editing all three of Stacy’s romance novels, but as many of you know, there’s just something about Wyatt. I always pictured him in my mind as Dallas from The Outsiders (fun fact: both S. D. Hendrickson and S. E. Hinton live in the Tulsa area)—but quieter, more brooding. Waiting for Wyatt is Stacy’s second standalone novel, and yes, you need to read it. There are dogs in it, you guys!

Dishonor: One Soldier’s Journey from Desertion to Redemption by David Mike

I’ll try to keep this as short as possible, but don’t hold me to it. David Mike is hands down one of the most exceptional men I’ve ever met. He is a true testimony to what the Lord can and will do in someone’s life. To me, this was so much more than just a memoir. It was a raw perspective on a life of drugs, a life in prison, and finally, a life worth living through Christ. I had the honor of launching his book, and what do you know? He blew it out of the water and made the bestsellers lists! More importantly, David has worked so hard to accomplish his main goal with this book: to see it in the hands of prisoners. And yes, Dishonor has made its way into about 20 prisons.

Get Picked: Tips, Tricks, and Tools for Creating Irresistible Speaker Proposals by Aurora Gregory and David Pitlik
(public speaking)

Now this was a fun one! David was a TV comedy writer, and Aurora is a communications trainer. The duo got together to write this ridiculously helpful book to guide people onto the stage. It’s geared toward beginners, so if you’ve been wanting to get picked to speak, start here. After I edited their book, James Woosley handled the fantastic formatting. Then I got to launch their book in the summer of 2016. We had so much fun watching them climb the bestsellers lists, see Rainn Wilson endorse the book, and watch their launch team turn into a community of future public speakers.

Quarter-Life Calling: Pursuing Your God-Given Purpose in Your Twenties by Paul Sohn

Oh. My. Goodness. Paul means the world to me, and his book should be in the hands of every millennial out there. In fact, a New York literary agent saw that too and picked up his book six days after he launched, when he sold over 1,000 copies. Yes, in one day. Now, his book will re-release this April through a traditional publisher. I performed a developmental edit on Paul’s book and wrote some copy here and there for him. Watching how he launched his book got me interested in book launches. He kept everyone so excited about Quarter-Life Calling, and we all had a small part in its success. I was hooked after that and wanted to help other authors launch their own books. This March, Paul will be launching QARA to empower twentysomethings to find their true north.

Redefine Rich: A New Perspective on the Good Life by Matt Ham

Boy, end notes sure can be a pain for nonfiction authors. Matt came to me for exactly that, and then I did a final proofread after it was typeset. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to do that proofread because I got to read such an important message in his book. Matt Ham gives more than memorable, life-changing advice—he transforms your thinking about what it means to be truly rich. Every story and real-life example are expertly weaved throughout his book, and I wish everyone would read it. I would label him as someone who tells a story like Zig Ziglar, provides advice like John C. Maxwell, and writes with the eloquence of Brian Tracy.

Teach Your Child to Fish: Five Money Habits Every Child Should Master by Holly Reid

I hate debt, and I certainly hate seeing so many young people enter adulthood with debt. Holly Reid was smart enough to know: you’ve got to teach them early. So she wrote a book (and a super-helpful workbook) for parents to teach their children how to handle their money. Yes, every parent needs this. And it was a bestseller, because Holly is incredible. I edited the book and workbook, and recommend it often to parents who need a little hand-holding for budgeting with their children.  

The Forgotten Ornament by Courtney Allen

If you haven’t seen my video when I received my signed copy of Courtney’s book, you can see me geeking out by clicking that link. Courtney wanted to publish a Christmas children’s book, so she came to us for editing, illustrations, and formatting. It was so fun getting to see her ideas come to life. And aren’t those little ornaments just the cutest? I loved the message behind the book as well: you don't have to be popular to be important. 

The Echo Factor: Living a Life That Resonates Freedom by Kinda Wilson
(social psychology/self-help)

I've read Kinda’s book three times through editing, and each time I was left with something that more than resonated in my life—I was left with this tugging, this urging that said, "You don't have to be quiet. You can be brave. You can do something different. Your echo can change the world." If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind read, The Echo Factor is the perfect solution—it's as if you're picking up someone's old journal and as you flip through it, there are inserts that add even more depth to Kinda's words. She is ridiculously creative, so the inserts were a huge bonus that added value to her book. Plus, Kinda is snarky, and my word, who doesn’t love a snarky narrator?

When the Serpent Bites by Nesly Clerge
(psychological thriller)

Betrayal. Murder. Penance. Frederick Starks is the protagonist in this series who finds himself in maximum security after a moment of weakness. Nesly's writing is riveting and suspenseful. I handle his social media and other marketing needs, and constantly get the same requests: "When will book three of the Starks Trilogy be out?" He definitely has devoted fans who love his work, and I'm proud to have a tiny part in that.  

[Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links have been used in this post.]



An expert editor, seasoned writer, and author-centric marketer, Shayla Raquel works one-on-one with authors and business owners every day. A lifelong lover of books, she has edited over 300 books and has launched several Amazon bestsellers for her clients. Her award-winning blog teaches new and established authors how to write, publish, and market their books. She is the author of the Pre-Publishing Checklist, The Rotting (in Shivers in the Night), and her novel-in-progress, The Suicide Tree. She lives in Oklahoma with her two dogs, Chanel and Wednesday.