Editing and Content Strategy

Freelance and Consulting

A specialist in developmental editing and content strategy, I am at my happiest at the narrative crossroads of compelling research and public life. With a background in interdisciplinary humanities education, I bring a wealth of commercial and academic publishing experience and a genial spirit to my work helping writers meet the needs of information-hungry readers across platforms.

I have a deep investment in communication that empowers readers, equips ethical institutions to reach new audiences, and shapes market systems toward sustainable models. I specialize in communicating complex and powerful ideas with force and clarity. I am seeking clients who will engage my experience in project management, passion for pedagogical excellence, skill in crafting strong writing, and love for public discourse.

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A 2011 proofing project for the National Wildlife Federation.

With an eye and ear for what makes stories and arguments effective, I have made substantial contributions to a wide array of projects ranging from academic books and articles, nonfiction trade books, content marketing campaigns, and grant proposals to novels, memoirs, inspirational books, short fiction, poetry, and stage writing.

My freelance clients have included the National Wildlife Federation, local community centers, publishing scholars, churches, and various individual authors writing both fiction and nonfiction. My goal is always to meet the needs of a diverse array of audiences.

To reach me with inquiries about freelance work, or for a consultation, write to me at carlznellis [at] gmail [dot] com. For more information on my scholarly training, see my CV.


Associate Editor,
Hendrickson Publishers

I have served in the editorial department at Hendrickson Publishers since 2011. Hendrickson is an independent, family-owned publishing house producing academic, trade, and reference books. Hendrickson’s academic publishing program produces scholarship on the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, ancient languages (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Akkadian, and Ugaritic), ancient Near Eastern studies and archaeology, Qumran/Dead Sea Scrolls, second temple literature, early biblical interpretation, theology (biblical, systematic, historical, and practical), and religion and culture, working with the German Bible Society and with Carta Jerusalem. As Arts & Culture Editor, I work with scholars to adapt their work for the general trade audience, bringing scholarly research into public discourse. Books I have edited and projects I’ve managed are listed below.

As a primary liaison for Hendrickson’s global network of publishing partners, I write and negotiate publishing contracts, edit manuscripts, handle permissions, manage budgets and freelancers, control project schedule and workflow, and interface with our diverse authors and corporate partners. I serve on the HP Publications Board, establishing our editorial vision and setting our future trajectory. I plan and coordinate regular meetings with department heads, and represent Hendrickson at academic and professional conferences throughout the year. I manage book projects from acquisition through development, production, marketing, and sales cycles. Recent projects address climate change, healing from historical trauma, refugee support, interreligious dialogue, and the social impacts of new media.

Books Edited

Dr. Daigle-Williamson’s book is a survey of Lewis’s novels showing that throughout his career Lewis drew on the structure, themes, and narrative details of Dante’s medieval epic to present his characters as spiritual pilgrims growing toward God. My own academic focus is on contemporary appropriations of medieval culture, so this project was really a pleasure.
I put together a series of short pieces on Reflecting the Eternal for the Hendrickson blog, the first of which can be read here: “Reflecting Eternal Light: C.S. Lewis and the Role of the Author.”

Putting Art (Back) in Its Place
As a specialist in medieval and renaissance Italian culture, John Skillen explores the ways that art worked in the daily life of medieval and Renaissance Italy. With a focus on church settings, the book approaches this history through qu…

Catching Ricebirds: A Story of Letting Vengeance Go
I am very proud of the work I did with Marcus Doe in bringing his story to print. After the book was complete I sat down with Marcus to talk a little about his hopes for the project. You can watch that here:

Surface Tensions: Searching for Sacred Connection in a Media-Saturated World

A media-saturated culture is a disorienting environment.Here we are.

Sometimes we’re having fun. Sometimes it’s crushingly depressing. Sometimes we’re Raiding with our Guild or in the middle of the Tweetstorm and we feel like we’re …



My scant contributions to this project are the tree of ancient languages found on page two and a little proofing here and there, but it left me inordinately proud, especially when I read things like “Huehnergard’s introduction is now the…

The World Of Jesus And The Early Church: Identity And Interpretation In The Early Communities Of Faith

This book had me jumping up and down with excitement over the dating of first century manuscripts. That was a first.An excellent collection of lectures on various topics related to some current debates in fields surrounding biblical st…


Towers in the Mist
This is a great ride through Elizabethan Oxford and really interesting as an early Goudge novel—exuberant and a bit experimental. Her later books are quite good on their own merits, more refined expressions of the unbridled style that s…

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