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Book Editing and Literary Consulting by Harvard Writing Instructor

So you've written a book. You've revised it. What do you do with it now?

Many people spend time and money on a group writing workshop, and while teacher guidance and peer evaluation can be helpful, I've found that the key to crafting a successful manuscript is to work one-on-one with a professional editor. Whether you've written a novel, story collection, memoir, or a work of nonfiction, I can improve your manuscript through rigorous editing and insightful critique to prepare it for publication.


In my experience as editor and publisher of the acclaimed literary publications TWEED'S MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE & ART and THE COFFIN FACTORY, I have worked with distinguished authors Joyce Carol Oates, Lydia Davis, T.C. Boyle, Edwidge Danticat, John Banville, Noam Chomsky, Sjon, Aimee Bender, Joshua Cohen, David James Poissant, Justin Taylor, Chinelo Okparanta, Kathleen Alcott, Enrique Vila-Matas, Lara Vapnyar, Nelly Reifler, and Andres Neuman, among many others.

I currently teach writing courses at Harvard University. My own writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Review of Books, the New York Journal of Books, the Paris Review Daily, Bookforum, The Daily Beast, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, Tricycle, Lion's Roar, Buddhadharma, and other publications. I have a Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, where I studied religion and literature, an MFA in Creative Writing from the City College of New York, and a BA in History from UCLA.

As an editor, I am extremely meticulous, as well as easy to work with. My editorial philosophy has been to accentuate an author's voice and strengths while minimizing indulgences that may weaken the work. I maintain fidelity to an author's vision without imposing my personal preferences where it goes against an author's style. Perhaps most importantly, through conversations and insight, I'm able to draw out what may be missing from your book, making sure it's as perfect as can be.

My full editing package includes line editing, content editing, copyediting, general writing tips, overall critique, and marketing guidance.

My services go beyond the page. As I work closely with many New York literary agencies and publishing houses, I can guide you through the process of querying an agent with a proper cover letter, writing a synopsis, and generally moving your project from manuscript to published book.

Email me at randysrosenthal [at] to let me know what your project is about, how long it is, and we'll go from there.

I look forward to working with you!

Randy Rosenthal


"It was a pleasure working with Randy. His real value is a commitment to working with a text until it achieves the highest standard, giving excellent detailed feedback and drawing on his own literary knowledge to offer valuable advice and direction. My book couldn't have been done without him."
- Damien Rudd, author of "Sad Topographies" (Simon & Schuster, 2017)

"Randy is an insightful editor with a wide knowledge of American and World Literature and an impressive number of book reviews and interviews to his credit. I miss the excellent literary magazines, The Coffin Factory and Tweed's, that he published. After publishing two novels, I asked Randy to help me in editing my third one and wish I'd had the opportunity to work with him previously. His approach to a manuscript is thoughtful and thorough and his corrections and suggestions well based. He knows his craft well and no writer would go wrong by putting their manuscript in his hands."
- Ali Hosseini, author of "The Lemon Grove" (Northwestern University Press, 2013) and "The Place of Stones" (Northwestern University Press, 2017)

"I'm not a strong writer, but I wanted to share my story with the public about my deployment as an Army psychologist in Afghanistan. After completing my manuscript, I was fortunate to find Randy on Craigslist.
After the first round of editing, my manuscript came back with numerous grammatical changes, 120+ comments, and eight pages of his concerns about my narrative structure (lack of), dialogue (lack of), voice and style. More work to be done.
By the end of the second round of editing, there were fifty comments and three pages of concerns. I was learning to write.
Randy's comments are honest and his editing solid. He also provided me a reading list. Not only was it informative, it helped me to craft my story.
I would highly recommend Randy for any writing project: he's knowledgeable, timely, and encouraging."
- Connie Louie, author of "Healing Soldiers Lives" (Energy Psychology Press, 2017)

"Randy is one of the best editors I have ever worked with. I am immensely indebted to him for what he's helped me achieve. I cannot describe Randy's contribution to shaping my manuscript to its current state without the use of superlatives and cliches. He shuffled chapters and passages to perfection, like an architect with a passion for minimalist structure. I was touched by the way he entered the minds of the characters and understood them exactly the way I want them to be understood by my readers. I can go on . . ."
- Lipika Pelham, BBC journalist, filmmaker, and author of THE UNLIKELY SETTLER (Other Press, 2014) and the novel "River Without Shores"

"Randy provided me with a very thorough and thoughtful analysis of the manuscript, offering invaluable guidance on what was working, what wasn't, and where to go from here. Working with him has been so helpful for me. Highly recommend! And worth every penny."
- Dave Gunton, author of "I Don't Want to Oversell It" (currently being represented by Greenburger Associates)

"Working with Randy was truly a pleasure; he is thoughtful, engaged, curious, efficient, challenging, enthusiastic, and generous with his time. He covered an enormous amount of editorial ground with me in a very short time and with an acute sensitivity to my limited budget. He addressed so many issues on so many levels -- pacing, voice, momentum, consistency, cluttered language, voice, narrative tension, energy, and grammatical issues -- and always with clear, compelling suggestions for direction. He has given me an excellent road map for what it will take to bring my novel to publication, and I return to the manuscript with renewed energy. I look forward to working with him again."
- Robert Schneider, author of the novel "The Guru's Touch"

"Mr. Rosenthal is well worth the investment. Not only will he give you thorough edits, but he will also focus on particular areas at your request. He is an honest editor who will reasonably break down the hours that he worked and send you a complete invoice. Most importantly, he makes sure to maintain a strong rapport with his clients--working at his best for customer satisfaction."
- James Thibeault, author of the novels "The Boy in the Black Dress" and "Deacon's Folly"

"I feel very fortunate to have found Randy Rosenthal as editor for my novel, The Emerald Tablet. He is passionate and dedicated to the literary arts and his many years in the NY literary scene with writing, publishing, and editing are invaluable. He is meticulous in correcting and grooming grammar and all the other elements of language structure and its elements, which are so important. But where he truly excels is in the overall pace, flow and rhythm of the story itself. With a practiced eye toward plot, character development, logic, timing, and suspense, he assisted hugely in bringing the book up to a level of excellence I hadn't imagined. His literary standards are very high and uncompromising and I believe this, along with his experience and skills, are what set him apart as a top editor. I've learned a tremendous amount through the process and my writing skills have elevated considerably as a result. Besides all of this, he's a great guy and an absolute pleasure to work with. Thanks, Randy!"
- Ron Anderson, fine artist and author of the novel "The Emerald Tablet"

"Working with Randy and Laura was a writer's dream. Their questions for me were insightful, challenging, and always pertinent. Completely willing to enter the world of my story, they found its inner logic and made wise editorial suggestions based upon what I'd already created rather than some external agenda. I learned so much in the process, and my story became a clearer and more complex work."
- Nelly Reifler, author of ELECT H. MOUSE STATE JUDGE (Faber) and SEE THROUGH (Simon & Schuster)

"Randy Rosenthal and Laura Isaacman are fantastically smart, well-read, winning editors with keen eyes toward what makes for great writing. They are professional, efficient, and generous with their time. They're demanding while always remaining easy to work with; this makes them, as a team, a writer's secret weapon. Working with Randy and Laura on my story "Zugzwang" for Tweed's magazine was a dream."
- David James Poissant, LA Times Book Prize finalist and author of THE HEAVEN OF ANIMALS (Simon & Schuster)
  • do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers

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