Developmental Editing, Manuscript Critiques, Work-in-Progress Beta Reading, Query Letters and Book Proposals
Former Locus magazine editor, Amy Bennett is a critically acclaimed and agented novelist with knowledge of both the craft and the business of science fiction, fantasy, and horror publishing. She has seen a number of writing careers start while working at the Clarion East Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing Workshop, and she is a graduate of the Clarion Workshop with many years of critique experience. As an editor for Shueisha English Edition), she edited and helped package novels and collections over multiple genres, including young adult, thrillers, literary fiction, and erotica, and she is sensitive to the needs of translated texts and authors whose first language is not English.
With over 15 years of professional editing experience, Amy earned her science fiction & fantasy stripes Locus Magazine, the leading trade magazine for science fiction and fantasy literature. She wrote news and book reviews and spent thousands of hours talking shop with industry-leading authors, editors, agents, booksellers, and other tastemakers, and she earned an in-depth understanding of how traditional publishers and industry insiders think. She understands the challenges faced by science fiction, fantasy, and horror authors at every stage in their careers, whether they seek traditional publication, self-publication, or a hybrid.
Clients and students of hers say they appreciate her supportive and generous style, and her clients regularly volunteer that they’ve grown as writers. A number of beginning writers she’s worked with have gone on to receive serious attention from agents and publishers. Award-winning authors occasionally seek out her editorial eye when they’re feeling stuck with a work in progress.
Writing Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror
Amy’s fiction has been reviewed favorably in publications including The San Francisco Chronicle and The Washington Post, and her writing has been translated into several languages. Barnes and Noble called her debut novel one of their favorite genre novels of the past decade.
“Blood, guts, and sex intermingle in this stylish debut… an entertaining and original take on the zombie apocalypse.” – Publishers Weekly
“Crisp, smooth and stylish, it zips along from scene to scene, accumulating tension, humor and insight as it accelerates. It is also comic and sexy, a combination I find irresistible.” – Peter Straub, author of A Dark Matter
“You’ll never look at the undead the same way again.” – Paul Goat Allen, BN.com
“…Funny, profane, and more than a little bit squicky, a worthwhile and perceptive addition to a pop culture fad that won’t seem to lie down and stay dead.” – Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle
A regular speaker at industry events around the world, Amy also publishes literary criticism and short fiction.
Amy approaches each new opportunity with a passion to maximize the commercial and artistic potential of the project, while honoring the writer’s unique voice and talents. She understands the courage it takes to write and publish fiction, and she enjoys working with writers to strengthen their craft and navigate a complex publishing world. Writers who work with Amy are committed to their work and looking to create or advance their writing careers.
Developmental Editing Services
Also known as a content edit or substantive edit, this is a detailed analysis of the manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses, with extensive suggestions for increased marketability, as well as in-line notes on language, plot, storytelling, and characterization.
“This developmental edit is definitely exciting because I am learning a lot. Amy’s input helps me see the story from a different perspective (perhaps from many perspectives) and spot missing elements in the plot. This experience is invaluable and I will carry it with me as long as I can write a story.” – Eric Cruz, science fiction novelist
A detailed assessment of a manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses, including suggestions on marketability, plot, characterization, and large-scale storytelling.
“Amy’s comments addressed all the worries I had about the story she beta-read for me—and she brought up several new and useful points for me to consider. After her input I feel well and truly un-stuck with this story, and look forward to coming to grips with it again.” – Margo Lanagan, World Fantasy Award winning and Michael L. Printz Honor author of Black Juice and Tender Morsels
Work-in-Progress Beta Reading
Ideal for writers who are trying to finish a manuscript. Includes deadlines and the full Beta Read service.
“I read through your comments and I will continue to digest them, but I already feel really good. I was nodding along at some points—you put into words a few areas that weren’t quite working for me but I couldn’t pinpoint why. I’m already seeing a lot of fun and important opportunities to flesh this out. So many components of plot and character to juggle! I’m really enjoying this process. Thanks!” –Z.G., science fiction author on Work-in-Progress Beta Read service
Query Letters and Book Proposals
“This is great stuff. Every little tidbit of information you included helps tremendously—like finding out which agents are selling to who, or how to approach agents without sounding like a persistent insurance salesman.” – M., science fiction author
Published Books Edited (sample)
- Call Boy, Ira Ishida (Shueisha English Edition)
- Black Fairy Tale, Otsuichi (Shueisha English Edition)
- Emily, Novala Takemoto (Shueisha English Edition)
- Evaporating Genres, Gary K. Wolfe (Wesleyan Press)
- The Great Shu Ra Ra Boom, Manabu Makime (Shueisha English Edition)
- The Island of Expectation, Ito Ogawa (Shueisha English Edition)
- Labyrinth, Yoshinori Shimizu (Shueisha English Edition)
- The Stationmaster, Jiro Asada (Shueisha English Edition)
- Tekken: The Dark History of Mishima, Takashi Yano (Shueisha English Edition)
- TSUNAMI, Tetsuo Takashima (Shueisha English Edition)
- Summer, Fireworks, My Corpse, Otsuichi (Shueisha English Edition)
- Zoo, Otsuichi (Shueisha English Edition)
Book Editor Reviews
“I was really happy with your suggestions in the letter, as I feel you really understand my goals and my writing and understand what it needs. I’m very appreciative because I knew things were off but didn’t know what.” – T.S. Silver
“Amy was personable, knowledgeable and focused on what the novel needed and emphasized its strong points. Her edits were easily understandable and as a result I know the book is much more engaging and will have a stronger presence in the marketplace.” – Dr. Ed Slack
“Amy Bennett is a gifted content editor. My story was in an early stage of develop and possessed many troublesome drawbacks. With a deft touch, she led me to find a strong vibrant arc. Her judicious criticism and consistent voice unified the drama in my tale. She encouraged me to stand by my characterizations and make them come to life. I found her guidance empowering.” – P. Alesso
“Lovely to get your edits and letter. I think you’re right on the mark in terms of the changes you recommended and I’m very pleased with your work. I deeply appreciate the depth, intensity and heart you put into your work.” – Ed Slack, YA science fiction author
“I have recently worked with Amy Bennett on my first manuscript. Amy taught me the importance of character building, plot direction, introduction of new characters, and much more. Amy is not only a professional editor but also a published author.” – Joseph Laquinta, science fiction author
“I found the network very responsive with a wide range of editors available to choose from. The descriptions on each individual editor’s site helped me to find the editor that matched my needs. My story went from a simple structure of plot points and named people to a well-developed tale with motivated and relatable characters. I would highly recommend Book Editing Associates and Amy Bennett for those needing editing services.” – Shel
“Thank you for your comments, and once again, for your kind words. You know, you intuit, and you have experienced how important it is for a writer to hear, especially when that writer may be fighting off frustration or self doubt, so it is really appreciated. :)” – D. Ohana, science fiction author
“I was initially nervous to work with an editor after I wrote the draft of my first novel. After my first conversation with Amy, I immediately knew I was in good hands. She listened to me and customized an editing schedule that fit my life. She identified very specific areas in my writing which helped me be more productive. She also offers constructive feedback that is both encourages and challenges me to continue to improve my writing.” – Kandice Na’Te Cole, historical fiction author
“Going forward, whatever I do, I know that you’ve given me the feedback I really needed.” – Matthew Friedman, literary fantasy author
“Thanks for all of your insightful comments, I think they will be very useful both as I continue writing and when I go back to work on those chapters in earnest.” – D., fantasy author
“I was pleasantly surprised with the quick response time from the network regarding potential consultants. I felt confident with the caliber of just about every consultant within the network who contacted me, and I feel I did pick the best person for my project. I can tell that Amy took great care in editing my work. I feel confident that my work will be its best as a result.”
“Her comments were succinct, pointed, and went directly to the heart of the problem areas. Her professional insight from an outside perspective was especially valuable. I truly appreciate all the time and effort she took as she critiqued my writing. Thank you, Amy.” – Virginia Pong, author
“Working with Amy helped me take my novel to the next level. She asked all the right questions and pushed me to dig deeper into my story. With her, I didn’t just have an editor, I had a writing buddy who taught me so many things.” – Kummam Al Madeed, fantasy author
“A few years back you did a developmental pass for me on my first book. I followed your advice and rewrote the book to the best of my ability into a multi-POV story. I’m quite proud of the final result.” Maximilian Gray, author of Alvin Baylor Lives!
“Your comments have definitely helped bring into focus the issues I intuitively feel but cannot grasp and would absolutely not be able to address quite so neatly on my own. You have a wonderful knack for leaving a simple, perfectly placed comment which clarifies and highlights a given issue and you leave suggestions which steer me in the right direction and help solve issues efficiently and in a way that enhances the story. Thank you!!” Aisha Sabar, fantasy author
“I’m really beyond satisfied with Amy! She delivered a deep, thoughtful analysis with feedback I can leverage to shape the manuscript into a far more strong and fluid read. Her feedback included a very thorough analysis of character and dialogue weaknesses that were reoccurring as well as ways to remedy, and why the issues presented a problem. Amy provided unfiltered feedback–exactly what I’d hoped for. She tempered her examinations of the flaws with attention to the manuscript’s strengths, but not in a way that felt like b.s., as if softening the blow, which made her positive feedback feel like something I could count on.” Winn Taylor, YA fantasy author
“Amy provided very pointed feedback that helped me develop my manuscript and create a stronger, more enjoyable story. Amy was easy to work with and was able to provide suggestions based on both general story and genre. I would utilize Amy’s services again, both for my current manuscript and for future work.” – Christopher Meyer, beginning writer
“Amy was great, she had some really great comments that inspired both large and small scale changes to my manuscript. For most of the comments she was right on and I really liked how she challenged me in some of the others. Her editorial letter was well rounded too that gave a great summary of the comments found in the manuscript. The process was really helpful and I was even able to understand why she was making the comments and it sparked in me the same thought process and I was able to make some of my own edits as well.” – Tyler Wandschneider, author
“Amy was a great help to me in developing my story. Her insightful comments cut right to the bone — what I needed — and improved the story’s structure so much. Highly recommended!” – S., author
“Amy was very helpful and insightful with her editing. She was timely and made it her priority to get into contact with me.” – Rikin Shah, freelance writer
“Amy is a brilliant editor. She can pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of a story as well as any editor I’ve dealt with, and suggest smoothly compatible improvements. Her critiques of my own fiction have been insightful and greatly appreciated.” – Tim Powers, World Fantasy Award winning author of Declare and Last Call
“I have worked with Amy in her capacity as editor at Locus magazine, as a collaborator on articles and academic papers, and as an independent editor on my own most recent book. She has an acute understanding of the nuances of language, of the importance of both structural and stylistic clarity, and of a variety of modes of writing from fiction to journalism to formal academic research – and is extraordinarily easy to work with as well.” – Gary K. Wolfe, World Fantasy Award winning literature critic and literature professor at Roosevelt University
“Working with Amy as an editor on a line of translated English editions for Japanese books was a real pleasure. Amy’s organizational skills are excellent. I was in awe watching her pull together the components of e-books, their extras, and producing websites devoted to their existence, all while she combed through rough translations with a fine comb, grooming them into polished products. Her diligence and skill level are top notch.” – Christopher Barzak, author of One for Sorrow, adapted for film as Jamie Marks is Dead