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Carly Bornstein

Carly is a freelance editor based in Chicago specializing in developmental editing, line editing, and query letters. She’s a lover of all genre-fiction, including but not limited to romance, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, erotica, and young adult fiction. Carly has worked in the publishing industry for many years, including at a major publishing house, a literary agency, and a small publishing house that helps self-publishing authors. That has helped her to see the industry from all different angles. She has been editing published works since 2007 and has also done e-book quality assurance for a large publishing house. Carly graduated with honors from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in English, and minors in Classics, Psychology, and Film. While not a writer herself, her love of books has drawn Carly to editing and brought out her passion for developing stories.

Carly is the type of editor that you can rely on to be there whenever you have questions or need help with a tricky sentence. She'll be there for the big ideas all the way down to the choosing of the perfect word. Whether you are getting ready to submit your book to a literary agent, traditional publishing house, or planning on self-publishing Carly will be there to help you bring about your vision.

MOST IMPORTANTLY What kind of entries are you looking for in your Pitch to Publication query box?
  • An immersive world
  • Something based on mythology/fairy tales
  • Time travel
  • Magic
  • Sci-Fi/fantasy
  • Romance/paranormal romance/historical romance/romantic suspense/erotica
  • Young adult
What is your writing and editing background?

I have worked in the publishing industry for many years, including at a major publishing house, a literary agency, and a small publishing house that helps self-publishing authors. That has helped me to see the industry from all different angles. I have been editing published works since 2007. While not a writer myself, my love of books has drawn me to editing and brought out my passion for developing stories

What are your major editing accomplishments?

This is a hard one, basically just being able to work with so many fantastic authors and surviving in this crazy industry! If I had to pick, it would be seeing my name for the first time in print, in the acknowledgments section. I was so excited!

Do you have a general philosophy for how you approach your editing work?

My philosophy would be to help make sure the author is conveying their vision to the reader. I want to push the author and make them the best writer that they can be. 

What types of books do you enjoy working with?

Anything where I can get absorbed in the story. But mainly I like love stories. They can be romances, sci-fi, fantasy, YA, or literature. Any genre whatsoever is good with me, as long as there is a love story. I want to feel what the characters feel, and I want to be transported into your world.

What are the most common mistakes you see in new writer's ​work?

I know it is the same old adage everyone says, but it is my biggest pet peeve: show don't tell. So many authors forget this. They don't trust their readers and feel that they have to spell everything out for them. Trust your readers!

What’s the one thing most novelists don’t understand about the art of revision?

That it should be fun! Don't think of it as someone coming in and messing up your work. Think of it like a writing course. Your editor is going to make you a better writer, and they will make your book better. They should be your new best friend!

What’s one easy thing every writer can do right now to make themselves a better writer?

Take all the dialogue that you've written, get someone to help you (or not), and read all the dialogue out loud like a script. Does it sound natural? Is it a conversation that would actually happen? Does it have too much exposition? Then rewrite the dialogue from there. Dialogue helps readers get to know characters and delves them into the story, so it should be natural.

What is the most important consideration in selecting a book editor?

It should be someone you have a good rapport with. You need to have fun with the editing process and you need to respect their opinion. So make sure it is someone with which you feel comfortable talking to and discussing edits.

Why would a writer need a book editor?

So many reasons! But mainly, an editor understands the market, the reader, and how to fix problems. Yes, other people can help make your book better. However, an editor is a professional that actually knows what to do to make you a better writer and your book a better read.

What do you do for fun that does not deal with the literary scene?

Umm… drink? Or is that too Hemingway? But seriously, I mostly like talking with friends over a cup of tea or a beer, watching TV, or drawing with charcoal.

Seriously, we need to know your favorite meal and why?

French fries. I loooove French fries. I will eat them as a meal. Whether they be crinkle cut, curly, with cheese or chili, poutine, etc, I love them. Always.

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