Lauren Humphries-Brooks has worked as a freelance editor since 2015, amassing a resume that includes literary fiction, sci-fi/fantasy, romance, LGBTQ+, mystery/thrillers, academic publications, and film and television. She’s worked with St. Martin’s Press, Tor, Forge, Griffin, Prometheus, Intellect Books, Amazon Publishing, Kirkus, Audible, and Erewhon Books.
Her clients run the gamut from experienced, award-winning authors, to new writers looking for guidance through the editing process, and include Pulitzer Prize nominees, first-time fantasy authors, family historians, and film critics.
A writer herself, with a master’s in creative writing from the University of Edinburgh, Lauren believes that a good editor works for the good of the author and will work closely with you to hone your work.
How long have you been an editor? How long have you been with Book Editing Associates?
I’ve worked as an editor since 2015 and have been with Book Editing Associates for nearly three years!
Why did you decide to be an editor?
I have a degree in creative writing, and I always loved the critique aspect of my degree. Helping to hone other people’s manuscripts and to see the improvement from draft to draft is so gratifying.
Are you also a writer? Please tell us about a couple of things you wrote.
Yes! I write fantasy and thrillers, for the most part, including a quasi-steampunk feminist fantasy novel I’m currently querying. I’m also a film critic and am working on a book about Alfred Hitchcock.
What one thing can make most books you write or edit better?
Asking the question “what’s at stake?” of everything you write. Or, more bluntly: “Why does the reader care?”
What’s your fave/least fave…Most challenging/easiest …aspect of editing?
Fave: Books that are really well-written. Good writing is always a pleasure to read, regardless of what other work needs to be done on it.
Least fave: Issues of tense. It’s difficult to work with a manuscript where the tense is constantly shifting.
How do you balance between the author’s style and vision, and the taste of commercial publishers or readers?
First I want the book to be what the author wants it to be. That takes priority. By improving the quality of the writing, the plotting, the dialogue, and so forth, it becomes more commercially viable. The industry is so mercurial that the goal really should be to come out with a book that the author cares about.
What are some things that make a book appealing to a publisher today?
Strong, unique writing that has some affinities with contemporary work. I work a lot with genre fiction and so it fitting into a genre while still being unique in itself is both challenging and important.
What are your top goals as you approach an edit?
To make the book the best it can be.
What fills your time when not editing?
I co-host a feminist film podcast, write my own books, play with my dog, read voraciously, and bake!