I can help you improve your narrative structure and polish your sentences. I'm particularly interested in assisting academic writers. For several years, I was a magazine editor and worked with top-drawer writers. Publishers of books that I have edited include Harvard, MIT Press, Penguin, Random House, Smithsonian, and University of California Press. I am also a national award-winning writer and art director.


AMERICAN SUTRA: Buddhism and the WWII Japanese-American Experience by Duncan Ryuken Williams. Developmental and line editing of this new book from Harvard by the Director of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture at the University of Southern California.

Escaping a Governance-By-Design Dystopia: Four Rules of Engagement by Deirdre Mulligan and Kenneth Bamburger. Developmental and line editing for this fifty thousand-word law review article.

One Hundred Year Report on Artificial Intelligence (AI100), a 27,000-word report coordinated by the AI100 Institute at Stanford involving seventeen contributors and twenty-four scholars from major universities. I edited and rewrote substantial portions of the manuscript, and designed the finished report. The acknowledgment to me reads: 

We thank Kerry Tremain for his tireless and insightful input on the written product during the extensive editing and polishing process, without which the report may never have been completed.

Privacy on the Ground, by Deirdre Mulligan and Kenneth Bamburger, MIT Press, 2016. Developmental editing, line editing, and rewriting on a rush deadline. The publisher, a major university press, had insisted on extensive work, but accepted the revision I edited two days after it was submitted. The editor at the press described my intervention as "invaluably transformative," adding that "the writing is much, much better while clearly retaining the dominant voice." She put my name on the short list for other projects.

PLASTIC REASON: An Anthropology of Brain Science in Embryogenetic Terms by Tobias Rees, UC Press, 2016. Developmental and line editing.

My standard rate is $50/hour or $360/day, and I like to start with an assessment of the manuscript, and if it seems like a fit, I will often offer a sample edit to new clients.


I wrote for several years for national and regional magazines, and was a finalist for a National Magazine Award. Currently, I write mostly for books, my own and others. I authored three chapters and most of the short pieces for Yosemite: A Storied Landscape, based on an exhibition I co-curated, and contributed an essay on the related exhibition for American Art Review. Often, the books I edit require at least some rewriting. And I have written the copy for web sites such as The Magnificent 70, which consists of seventy 300-word stories on California State Parks. (I also designed the site.)

Recommendations & Reviews

Editing and Creative Direction

All of the essays [in Yosemite: A Storied Landscape] have something to recommend them... This gorgeous, informative book is like having a museum exhibition at your fingertips. –Porter Shreve, San Francisco Chronicle

“Kerry has terrific ideas and instincts that he backs up with thorough editing and a sharp intellect. He is also a very steady and generous guy, a real pleasure to work with throughout.” —Quentin Hardy, New York Times Tech Editor

Kerry is the kind of tough, supportive editor that we need more of in this industry. He has an excellent ear for storytelling and a trustworthy news sense. He also has the kind of focused determination that allows him to demand the best from those that write for him and settle for nothing less.  –Erik Vance, Contributing Writer, Discover magazine and author of Suggestible You (National Geographic 2016)

“With his exquisite editorial sensibilities, Kerry Tremain created a Golden Gate ebook that multiplied our audience several-fold. He did it under tight deadlines, while also helping us fund and market the digital book.” –Anthea Hartig, Executive Director of the California Historical Society

Kerry is an acute, helpful, insightful editor who can criticize a piece in a way that leaves you encouraged and eager to rewrite it. And he's (almost) always right... a joy to work with. –Ann Monroe, former reporter and writer for Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, and Mother Jones

Kerry isn't easily reduced to a single profession. He is a wonderful journalist and editor -- this I know as a writer who has worked with him. But, he is also an intellectual entrepreneur who envisions content, design, marketing and sheer feasibility beyond what you would imagine from his resume. There are few people whose mere involvement in a project would make me think the more of it, would make me want to jump in. Kerry is one. He's also just a very nice guy. –Laurie Becklund, late author of Swoosh: The Unauthorized Story of Nike and the Men Who Played There.

“I did a consulting project for the Alumni Association at UC Berkeley when Kerry became editor of California magazine. Although I had met Kerry years earlier, and read his writing over the years, this was the first time I’d seen him in action. I found him a rare editor who could understand the business dynamics of publishing. He had to be an ambassador for the magazine amid what seemed to me to be a dysfunctional academic setting, with lots of politics. He managed to navigate through all of that, get the job done, and bring the team together. I still don’t know how he did it! And the result is obvious—UC Berkeley now has an alumni magazine to be proud of, after decades of publishing a pamphlet. Kerry did this with a slim budget but lots of smarts and ambition. It was a pleasure to watch.” —Robin Wolaner, Founding publisher of Parenting and former EVC of Time-Warner Inc.

“Kerry is making [California magazine] a lot more interesting than it used to be,” says history professor and department chairman David Hollinger. “It’s taking its subtitle, ‘a magazine of ideas,’ seriously.” —article in the San Francisco Chronicle

Writing and Reporting

“Kerry Tremain’s exposé of mismanagement at the Presidio Trust led to a change in leadership at America’s newest national park—giving new hope for the future development of an American treasure.” —American Society of Magazine Editors, National Magazine Awards 2002

“Kudos to Bruce Kelley, editor of San Francisco magazine, and intrepid reporter Kerry Tremain. Kelley and Tremain are up for a National Magazine Award for a terrific piece of reporting, “Trouble in the Presidio,” that ran in December’s issue. This article had impact. The then impresario of the Presidio resigned in utter disgrace after Tremain’s article appeared.” —P.J. Corkery, San Francisco Examiner

“Presidio Trust officials can deny it all they want, but it sure looks as if the latest San Francisco magazine had a big impact. It’s six-month investigation—’How arrogance, mismanagement, and infighting are threatening our new national park’—was barely on the newsstand for three weeks when Jim Meadows, the trust’s controversial director, resigned. [San Francisco] assigned the story to Kerry Tremain, a Berkeley writer and former Mother Jones editor.” —Dan Fost, San Francisco Chronicle

“Now the Presidio has a chance to get it right. The departure of executive director Jim Meadows should give all sides in the debate over the park’s future to reflect on its direction.” —San Francisco Chronicle editorial

“Kerry Tremain’s introduction provides valuable comment on such topics as purpose, credibility, and impact.” —Peter Skinner, ForeWord magazine, which chose Witness in Our Time as one of the top ten university press books of 2000

“In a wonderful introduction [to Witness in Our Time], Kerry Tremain writes about ‘seeing and believing,’ core concepts of documentary photography… I wanted to read much more by Tremain, a co-founder and director of the International Fund for Documentary Photography.” —Keith Kenney, Visual Communication Quarterly



YOSEMITE: A STORIED LANDSCAPE WON A 2015 DIGITAL BOOK AWARD FOR DESIGN. One judge wrote: The cover of Yosemite: A Storied Landscape is memorable, beautiful, and demands to be engaged with. The bold typeface against what appears to be an inky woodcut mountain range creates a striking effect that owes more to manga than any conventions of what a book about a national park "should" be. This cover effortlessly communicates that it is *not* just a digital manifestation of a pretty coffee-table book. Woodcut Illustration by Thomas Killion

Art Books

For artists who would like help self-publishing a book, I’ve created a Guide for Self-publishing Your Art Book. I can provide you assistance in conceptualizing, editing, designing, and publishing your book.

Digital Design

I am skilled in Adobe InDesign and co-founded a digital publishing firm, 36 Views, which won coveted Digital Book Awards two years in a row. I have also designed books using iBooks Author, including Yosemite: A Storied Landscape. Most of the books I've personally produced have a strong visual component.

As a national award-winning art director and graphic designer, I can offer design assistance on your book cover or collateral. (Five of the posters I designed are in the Oakland Museum of California collection.) Other recent book designs include Wild Flight of the Imagination: The Story of the Golden Gate Bridge and Year of the Birds. I currently design all the printed and digital materials for the Port Townsend School of the Arts, where I serve as president of the board of directors.

I have also advised Professor Arnold Bloom at UC Davis on a digital version of his undergraduate textbook on climate change.


In addition to writing articles and essays about photography, I co-founded and directed the International Fund for Documentary Photography at Mother Jones, and curated exhibitions in Mexico (at the Centro de la Imagen), the U.S. (Friends of Photography), and France. I worked with many photographers as the creative director of Mother Jones and other magazines, and made substantial contributions to several books on photography. I also take pictures. My photographic prints and books—including my new book, Year of the Birds— are available for purchase.

Web sites

To support your book, I can help you write and design a compelling web site. In addition to this site, here are sites I recently created for Barbara Ramsey Quilts, and Port Townsend School of the Arts. Click on images to visit the sites.

Get in touch!

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