Literary Fiction Editors
Prose style and complex, round characters—typically—are hallmarks of literary fiction. When choosing an editor of such a broad genre—so broad that, technically, it isn’t a “genre”—you want an experienced literary fiction editor who is sensitive to the mechanics and music of your novel, while being well versed in contemporary literary fiction. Literary fiction writers are as varied as David Foster Wallace and Marilynne Robinson, Toni Morrison and Peter Matthiessen. Because there is no literary fiction “formula,” in the way that there are accepted conventions in other genres, the editor that you choose needs to have an especially nimble mind and responsive ear. Asking for a sample edit is extremely useful when deciding on this type of editor.
Judge: Indie Book Awards
Developmental Content Editing, Writing Assistance, Query Letters, Book Proposals, Submissions to Literary Agents and Publishers
BETH BRUNO is a columnist, author, and book editor. Hundreds of her articles have been published in print and online, and her first book, Wild Tulips, came out in 2001 and went into a second printing in 2002. Beth's proximity to New York and her position as President of the CT Authors and Publishers Association give her unique access to literary agents and publishers in and around New York City. Several of the authors whose manuscripts she has edited have been published in the mainstream, thanks to her referrals on their behalf.
Beth’s editing interests are eclectic and include a delicious mix of fiction, nonfiction, young adult, and children’s works. Among the 350+ manuscripts she has edited, she has a special affinity for: mystery/suspense, women’s fiction, memoir, psychology topics, romance, self-help, how-to, and both fiction and nonfiction for young adult (YA) readers.
In addition to editing, Beth serves as a judge for the Indie Book Awards, an excellent contest for authors who self-publish. Winners receive cash prizes, publicity, and introduction to literary agents and publishers.
"I want to thank Beth for the spectacular job she did editing my book, which has just been published. When Beth first*** received the manuscript, she understood what was missing and recognized the changes needed to improve the flow, characterization, plot, etc., of my novel. She had a keen eye for small details. Beth was also always very available to discuss suggestions, and she quickly came up with alternatives to solve the problems we encountered along the way. She guided me through the particulars of my novel to the final polished product. The result: A published book." Oscar Medina
THEODORA BRYANT focuses on mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, adventure, and horror titles. She has considerable experience with trade non-fiction. As Editorial Director of her own publishing house, Theodora published almost 100 titles, garnering several awards in "Best Of" categories. Almost half of the titles were bought for paperback reprints, and two were optioned for TV/movies. She has invaluable knowledge about the industry, the type of people who run it, how to work within it, and tips for getting your foot in the door. She's reviewed, evaluated, and edited thousands of manuscripts through the years, and uses that knowledge to help her clients produce results-driven manuscripts, query letters, and synopses. She works particularly hard at staying in the author's "voice," making sure the facts and dialogue match the time period in which the book is set, and "losing" excess verbiage. She's a good mentor, hard worker, and in many cases, has ultimately become a good friend.
Owner, award-winning publishing company, 1994-2001
Freelance editor (with this network only) since 2002
Critiqued and edited hundreds of manuscripts
Dozens of authors now happily selling their books
Detailed written critique/evaluation of your manuscript that asks questions, points out conflicts, confused timelines, characterization difficulties, etc., in the manuscript itself so the guide is always there for you to follow as you rework it.
Mentor you with creative ideas, and guide you through the whole gamut of what’s what in the publishing industry (i.e.: whether traditional or self-publishing is best for you).
Hands on content edit (aka copy-edit, aka line edit), structural/stylistic edit of your manuscript, doing everything to get your manuscript ready for a traditional agent, a traditional editor, a self-publishing company, or ready for submission to an e-publisher.
Work with you on a query and/or synopsis when the manuscript is ready for publication, should you want that.
Manuscript Evaluations, Critiques, Organizational and Developmental Editing, Line Editing, Writing Assistance, Ghostwriting
CARLY CANTOR is a publishing industry veteran who has worked in-house at a New York publisher as an acquisitions editor and is a two-time published author (history books). Most recently, she has worked as an independent consultant and project editor for Random House and Prentice Hall. She also represents authors as an agent with a well-established NYC agency. Her extensive experience includes critiquing, organizational and development editing, and line editing of fiction and nonfiction projects. She is a meticulous hands-on editor who "becomes one" with every project, paying close attention to both the big picture and the small details.
She has often worked with academics, psychologists, and medical doctors on high-level material in the social or life sciences and has helped them make their writing more accessible to a trade audience. One thrilled client, a doctor, said of her, "She is a consummate wordsmith, with the facility of not only understanding and integrating scientific and technical material but also illuminating arcane and otherwise opaque descriptions. She expertly shapes the structure of a presentation for better narrative flow, simplifying complex material to make it reader-friendly."
Carly also edits fiction, with an understanding of the importance of subtlety and nuance. She approaches fiction with an appreciation for how the brain works and for the idea that a reader likes to pick up clues and figure some things out for himself rather than be told everything directly about how characters are thinking and feeling. One novelist client said, "I have been guided by a number of different editors throughout my career. Without any hesitation, I can say that [she] is the best editor I have ever worked with."
Substantive editing, copyediting, rewriting
Fiction and nonfiction: literary, how-to, psychology, self-help, crime fiction, adult, young adult, drama, fantasy, sci-fi, true crime, international relations, current affairs, nature and science, military history, forensic science, travel
MICHAEL CARR has edited or copyedited 300+ fiction and nonfiction titles for major publishers and authors. Notable nonfiction authors include Bernard Goldberg (NY Times best-seller Arrogance), CNN anchor Lou Dobbs (Exporting America), Rev. Al Sharpton (Al on America), and CNN Crossfire host Tucker Carlson (Politicians, Partisans, and Parasites). Michael edits most fiction genres but specializes in literary and historical, crime/mystery, drama, fantasy, and science fiction.
Notable fiction authors include Brad Meltzer (#3 NY Times best-seller The Zero Game), NY Times Notable Book of the Year author Archer Mayor (The Surrogate Thief, Gatekeeper, The Second Mouse), crime grandmaster Donald Westlake (the Dortmunder series), and the fantasy master Michael Moorcock (The White Wolf's Son).
Michael has also edited eight published volumes on world affairs and some twenty self-help books (medical, psychological, personal growth, and business) and has translated a dozen novels and other literary works from Spanish to English.
Developmental editing, ghostwriting, and book proposals for submission
HENRY DENARD is a writer and editor of commercial mainstream nonfiction and fiction.
Denard co-founded and was editor in chief at a publishing company (distributed by Random House) where he oversaw (and often helped to write) dozens of books.
Denard’s bestselling nonfiction and fiction authors include Chris Wallace, Catherine Crier, Matthew Modine, Brett Favre, Joe Namath, and Steven Pressfield. Denard’s titles have been featured in “The New York Times” (including front page) and on “Sixty Minutes,” “Oprah,” “The Today Show,” and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”
Two of Denard’s published books sold to film studios for over $1 million.
Denard has also written for The New York Times Magazine and American Express’ Departures magazine.
On the film side, Denard produced The Conspirator, starring James McAvoy, Kevin Kline, and Robin Wright; directed by Robert Redford; Gone in 60 Seconds (Touchstone) starring Nicolas Cage; The Negotiator (Warner) starring Samuel Jackson and Kevin Spacey; and Citizen X (HBO). He is a member of the Writers Guild of America (WGA, the screenwriters’ union) and uses Final Draft when working with writers of screenplays.
Denard has experience with contract negotiations, film and book production, sales, distribution, marketing, publicity, and subsidiary rights.
He can assist with literary agent and publisher selection as well as the fiction or nonfiction submission package, including query letters and book proposals.
Before STACEY DONOVAN became a professional editor more than 20 years ago, she worked in a literary agency where she learned how to say no more often than yes, and include reasons why. A stint in advertising followed, teaching her to tell it short and sweet, meet deadlines, and most important: never give up.
Donovan is a ten-time published book author of both fiction and non-fiction. She has edited or ghostwritten dozens of published books for her clients. Two became New York Times Bestsellers, and another nominated for Best First Novel by International Thriller Writers. She is experienced in many genres: Contemporary/Mainstream; Caper/Detective; Erotica; Gay/Lesbian; Literary Fiction; Mystery; Psychological Thriller; Suspense; Women's Fiction; Young Adult; Memoir/Autobiography; Creative Nonfiction.
- Detailed critique/evaluation of your manuscript
- Developmental/structural/stylistic edit of your manuscript
- Complete revision of your manuscript
- Collaborate with you in a mentoring capacity as you edit your manuscript
- Collaborate with you on a query and/or synopsis when the manuscript is ready for publication
- Determine with you which literary agent would be suitable for representation
- Determine with you whether to pursue mainstream, small, or self-publishing
- Consultation on your initial and/or ongoing Social Media strategy
Donovan is a writing coach, mentor, collaborator and ghostwriter. She has published dozens of non-fiction articles on design and art, and specialized in celebrity interviews with experts in their field. She is also a Publishing and Social Media strategist.
MARLO GARNER has been editing books and teaching writing since the late 1990s. She teaches Writing for Children's Books (picture books), Writing Chapter Books for Children, and various other writing and revision workshops. She also works in an editorial advisory capacity, and a copyeditor and illustrator for a number of independent or educational publishers. Her Ginny Giles chapter book series—which contains numerous poems and rhyming verse—was released in 2010, and she is the author and/or illustrator of a number of other published books for children, including a picture book for Internet security giant AVG. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA), and received first place in the 'published' division of the New England SCBWI 2013 illustration awards. Marlo is currently writing and illustrating a middle grade dystopian graphic novel as well as a picture book, and she blogs about writing, editing, and grammar.
“Marlo was immensely helpful and pleasant to work with. I knew I had a penned a good story, but her suggested improvements will really help my middle-grade dragon tale connect emotionally with young readers. Thanks to her encouragement and advice, I will be submitting my manuscript and illustrations to agents and editors with far greater confidence." J. C. Stevens
- Copyediting & proofreading
- Developmental/substantive editing
- Cover letters, query letters (free with contracted service)
- Correct formatting & understanding the submission process
- Critiques, writing instruction & mentorship
- Children's books: picture books, poetry, magazine submissions, chapter books, young adult, children's non-fiction.
- Literary fiction, crime, fantasy
- Illustration, illustration critiques and advice for aspiring illustrators.
Karin Graham: Developmental Editor, Copyeditor
Karin is a trained editor. She has a bachelor's degree in comparative literature from the University of Virginia, a JD from William and Mary Law School, and a certificate in editing from the University of California Berkeley Extension. Karin honed her skills in turning facts and events into a coherent story in the crucible of the courtroom and her years as an attorney make her utterly attuned to the way that just the right (or wrong) word can change everything. She uses those skills to bring out the best in your work.
Karin understands that just because editors can change a manuscript doesn't mean they should. An editor's job is to make the author's manuscript stand out, not to remake it as their own.
SARA HOPKINS worked as an editor for Bantam Dell, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Eagle Publishing, My Day magazine, and BowTie Press. She earned a certificate in copyediting from the New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
As an in-house editor for Bantam Dell, Random House, and Eagle Publishing, she was responsible for the production of initial hardcover and paperback trade titles, approximately sixty books per year; she continues to work as a contractor for these same publishers. Sara’s fifteen years of experience in both the production and editorial sides of the publishing process has given her the practical knowledge to read manuscripts and identify problems in technical quality, language, and thought, as well as provide positive and useful feedback. She is skilled at pointing out, marking, and correcting mechanical errors and inconsistencies; errors or inappropriate grammar, usage, and syntax; and errors or inconsistencies in content or timeline.
Sara specializes in developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading for fiction and nonfiction manuscripts. She has worked on over two hundred titles and prides herself on her many repeat clients. Nonfiction titles she has worked on include biographies, wellness and fitness (she is a certified yoga instructor), travel, politics, and current events. Her list of fiction books covers nearly every genre from science fiction to erotica but she has a special passion for manuscripts that involve a critical timeline or chronology, fantasy world, or period setting. The devil is in the details, and Sara likes to get in there too, polishing every manuscript without infringing on the author's vision.
Notable books Sara has edited include The Art of Detection and Touchstone by Laurie R. King, Fractured and Beyond Reach by Karin Slaughter, Keeper of the Keys and Sinister Shorts by Perri O'Shaughnessy, The Master of Heathcrest Hall by Galen Beckett, Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom and Wisdom of Menopause by Christiane Northrup, The Wisdom of Yoga by Stephen Cope, and Dangerous Games by Keri Arthur.
In addition to developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading, Sara also offers help with book evaluations/critiques and ghostwriting. She is interested in every step of manuscript development and provides an author with concise and constructive feedback to help his or her ideas mature into a refined manuscript, ready for publication.
ANA HOWARD is the author of eight well-reviewed and award-winning novels has helped many others with their manuscripts. After working in public schools for many years, she has now been a part of the publishing industry for fifteen years and provides a creative and supportive environment. She is passionate reader and editor of literary fiction and offers the following services:
• Developmental, substantive and content editing
• Formatting and guidance on the submission process
• Query letters and synopses
• Advice for self-publishing authors
PUBLISHING CREDITS INCLUDE:
- Water at the Blue Earth, young adult historical fiction (Roberts Rinehart)
- A Ceiling of Stars, middle grade contemporary fiction (American Girl)
- Nowhere, Now Here, middle grade contemporary fiction (American Girl)
- The Magic of Ordinary Days, adult historical fiction (Viking Penguin)
- Under a Stand Still Moon, young adult historical fiction (Brown Barn Books)
- Call Me the Canyon, young adult historical fiction (Brown Barn Books)
- Nicki, contemporary middle grade fiction (American Girl)
- Thanks to Nicki, contemporary middle grade fiction (American Girl)
She has seen one of her novels made into film (for Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions on CBS) and has won numerous literary awards. She believes that even in today’s tough publishing climate, it is still possible for new writers to enter the business and succeed. Second to writing her own novels, she loves to mentor others to help them achieve their goals. She knows firsthand how writers benefit from the help and support of other writers and/or editors.
"My novel had lingered in the offices of editors at the Big Six for years. Ana’s editing was timely and skillful and showed an understanding of my work. I used 95% of her suggestions and cut 200 pages from a 600 page manuscript. End result is a book with a clean, compelling narrative that has been called 'a gripping read'. Reader reviews of my book at Amazon and Goodreads have been very gratifying and allowed me to enter the top 100 for science-fiction/fantasy. Kirkus Reviews selected Prophets of the Ghost Ants as one of their Best of 2011. I would recommend Ana Howard's services to any author whose work needs an edit. Cost of the service was more than fair and the end result was priceless." —Clark T. Carlton
Kendra Lund, PhD, is a book doctor, book editor, author, writing coach, and publishing consultant. Kendra specializes in books on the spiritual end of the self-help spectrum, along with memoir writing and fiction. She is a passionate advocate for authors with a message that inspires positive change in our lives.
Kendra loves the process of collaborating with authors to develop a book project, but also enjoys working invisibly behind the scenes to ghostwrite books for clients. Besides wearing the editor's hat, Kendra offers private coaching sessions for aspiring writers. As a publishing consultant, she is happy to assist authors in the art of crafting a good book proposal to submit to trade publishers. She also serves as an agent for clients seeking traditional publishing opportunities and facilitates the creative use of independent publishing resources. For authors who want to publish independently, she can skillfully oversee the manuscript preparation and pre-publication process (book designing and typesetting).
Novels, short stories, creative nonfiction, mainstream trade, religion, philosophy, adventure, romance, science fiction, erotica, action/military, travel/lifestyle, gay/lesbian, ethnic/culture, literary journalism, memoir/autobiography, New Age, spirituality, poetry
“James Powell examines the symbols of language the way a biologist examines cells.” New York Times Review of Books
“James Powell assures us that the universe is a silent partner in a dialogue that goes on all the time.” New York Times Review of Books
JAMES N. POWEL is "a good literary surgeon," as one of his accomplished clients noted. As an editor of fiction and non-fiction, he views manuscripts with comprehensive vision and an eye for detail. He will read your fiction with an eye to making it believable and your non-fiction with a knack for making it both convincing and engaging.
His books and short stories have been translated into many languages and are known throughout the world. His list of publications includes The Tao of Symbols (Morrow 1982), Energy and Eros (Morrow 1985), The Prentice Hall Global Employment Guide (Prentice Hall 1983), Mandalas: The Dynamics of Vedic Symbolism (Sterling 1980), Derrida for Beginners (Writers and Readers 1996), Postmodernism for Beginners (Writers and Readers 1998), Eastern Philosophy for Beginners (2000), Deconstruction for Beginners (2005), and Slow Love: A Polynesian Pillow Book (2008).
His short story "The Silence of the Hummingbird" was published in Spanish in Revista Katharsis, in Malaga, Spain, and his journalism has appeared in Spirituality & Health, Tahiti Beach Press, the Santa Barbara Independent, and Montecito Journal.
Developmental editing, substantive editing, line editing, manuscript evaluation, publishing consultation
Fiction and nonfiction: literary, historical, mystery/suspense, adult, young adult, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, paranormal, erotica, humor, and new age/spirituality
ANDREA ROBB spent over a decade as an acquiring editor at Penguin Random House, working on key titles for Knopf, Doubleday, Pantheon, Vintage and Anchor Books. Prior to that, she was on the editorial team at The Book of the Month Club, where she evaluated hundreds of titles for club inclusion.
Notable fiction projects that Andrea has edited have included Jennifer McMahon's NY Times bestselling novels The Winter People, The Night Sister, and Burntown; the NY Times bestselling Veronica Mars mystery series; the Harvard Lampoon's NY Times bestselling parody Nightlight; the translations of Paulo Coelho's internationally bestselling novels The Spy, Adultery, Manuscript Found in Accra, and Aleph; Whiting Award-winner Melanie Sumner's How to Write a Novel; and Latifah Salom's debut suspense novel, The Cake House.
Nonfiction projects include blogger and comedian Samantha Irby's We Are Never Meeting in Real Life; Vela magazine founder Sarah Menkedick's debut essay collection Homing Instincts; multiple anthologies in the bestselling Foxfire series on Appalachian history and culture; the political travel guide The Nation Guide to the Nation; and new editions of Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey's Driven to Distraction and Answers to Distraction.
In addition to her editing work, Andrea has worked with over one hundred bestselling and award-winning authors to tailor their copy and paperback packaging for the softcover audience, often developing new materials such as reading group guides, introductions, and glossaries.
Authors she's worked with in this capacity have included Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus), Anne Rice (Prince Lestat), Chris Bohjalian (The Sandcastle Girls), Lisa Unger (Heartbroken), Karen Russell (Vampires in the Lemon Grove), Joby Warrick (The Triple Agent), Kate Alcott (The Dressmaker), Ariel Lawhon (Flight of Dreams), Kevin Kwan (Crazy Rich Asians), Stephen Harrigan (The Gates of the Alamo), Alex Kava (Hotwire), J. Courtney Sullivan (Maine), Jennifer Close (Girls in White Dresses), Peter Heller (The Dog Stars), and Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven).
Via a penname, Andrea is also the author of a successful young adult novel with HarperTEEN that was chosen as a selection of the Scholastic Book Club, and has written text for popular television tie-in projects published by Insight Editions.
LINDA TROLLINGER has been a writer and editor for nearly 30 years and has edited thousands of documents for clients around the world.
She is a versatile award-winning copy editor with a diverse array of experience:
- Business and marketing collateral for Kelly Services, Citibank, Bayer, and Fortune 500 companies
- Technical documentation for IBM, Symantec, Dell, Adobe, Seicor, Sybex, and Ventana
- Fiction and nonfiction for published authors, including novels, short stories, poetry, religion, and philosophy
- Academic editing, master's theses, and dissertations
- Website content, business plans, corporate overviews, and resumes
- Developmental editing, substantive editing, copyediting, and proofreading
MARIE VALENTINE's editorial work ranges from conceptual and developmental brainstorming to copy editing and proofreading, as well as the nitty-gritty of print and Web production. She has worked in acquisitions and production for the renowned new age book publisher Llewellyn Worldwide. She has also served as a news editor and writer, business technology editor, poet and small press publisher of experimental works by contemporary writers. Marie will use her knowledge in literature and nonfiction to clarify your thoughts with minimal alteration, but she is also open to experiments and will adapt easily and quickly to your perceived vision and goals. A flexible editor and proofreader with a light touch, Marie will help your prose shine while keeping your personal style intact.
- 10+ years proofreading experience (print, web, digital, books, magazines, news weeklies, chapbooks and more)
- 6 years business and technology editing experience
- 5 years book manuscript editing experience, both fiction and nonfiction
- 4 years publisher acquisitions experience - Ruminator (small press), university press (U of MN), commercial press (Llewellyn). She knows what publishers look for in a book.
- 9 years academic editing and formatting
- Content organization
- Structural and substantive editing
- Formatting and style editing (MLA, Chicago, APA, AP, project-specific)
- Copy editing
DON WHITE is an award-winning editor with more than twenty years' publishing experience. He's worked on three New York Times bestsellers and three Los Angeles Times bestsellers. Among the notable writers he's edited are Gore Vidal, Edward Albee, E. Lynn Harris, Edmund White, and Samuel R. Delany.
He's equally at home in fiction (literary novels, commercial fiction, mysteries) and nonfiction (memoir, biography, general nonfiction). As an editor and writer he's freelanced for Doubleday, Penguin, Bantam, Basic Books, and Beacon, among others.
Don has been singled out for distinction by the American Library Association, Publishers Weekly, and Out Magazine. As an independent scholar he's authored three books on African American history as well as several books for gay and lesbian readers. He's also an emeritus board member of the Lambda Literary Foundation. Don lives in New York City.