I’m Akiko, owner of Word Shaper Editorial Services

Akiko TamanoI offer editing and proofreading services that help forge that vital link between you and your audience. I’m based in San Diego, California, but work with clients all over the world.

Is your grammar a little shaky? I'll fix those dangling modifiers and rogue commas. Does your prose have awkward, confusing patches? I'll trim the deadwood and bring your message into sharper focus.

Let me take care of those fussy but critical details that make the difference between an alienated audience and an engaged one.

My editing philosophy

I believe wholeheartedly in the Japanese idea of kotodama: the mystical spirit or power that dwells in words and profoundly affects the mind, body, and soul. It's a power that can spark compassion. Offer hope and healing. Or simply tell a rip-roaring tale that entertains and delights.

Whatever you want to accomplish through the power of words, my job as an editor is to help you capture just the right words to achieve your aims.

I understand that having your writing scrutinized by an editor can be intimidating. To make the experience as positive and stress-free as possible, you have my promise that

  • I'll treat your story respectfully and strive to amplify your unique voice, not obscure it
  • I'll take the time to explain my editorial decisions, as well as point out what you’ve done well
  • You'll retain complete control over your manuscript—my edits are merely suggestions, and you'll decide whether to accept or reject them


  • Specialized Certificate in Copyediting, University of California, San Diego, Extension

  • Copyediting Fiction 5-Week Course, Editorial Freelancers Association

  • Certificate in Technical and Scientific Writing, San Diego State University

  • Bachelor of Arts in Biology, Pomona College

Professional affiliations

How I got here

I’ve been passionate about language and story since I first learned to read. I devoured any written material I could get my hands on—when I was six, my mother found me poring over the word problems in a math textbook, for lack of anything better to read. And in junior high, I launched my unofficial career as a wordsmith, helping friends with their school papers.

As an adult, I spent 26 years working as an IT systems administrator. During that time, I became my department’s go-to language maven, writing and editing anything from user guides to corporate communications. The challenges of making complex topics understandable to nontechnical folks inspired me to do more to help bridge the gap between writers and readers. With that in mind, I eventually left the corporate world to pursue additional editorial training, and established Word Shaper Editorial Services in 2016.

A little more about me

My most cherished pastime is reading, of course! My taste in books runs the gamut, although I’m partial to literary fiction. Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God holds a special place in my heart, but other favorite authors are Jane Austen, Toni Morrison, Barbara Kingsolver, and Madeleine L’Engle.

Additional interests include holistic health and wellness, choral singing, and training my border collie, Emma (we've done agility in the past and are currently learning treibball). As an advocate of force-free dog training, I’m a long-time student of gentle, positive approaches to working with pets and their people.