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Lindsay Schlegel

Lindsay is a writer and editor with nearly a decade of experience in the world of publishing. She's passionate about all that is true, good, and beautiful. Lindsay is grateful for the opportunity to share her stories. She'd love to help you tell yours.
Lindsay's career has brought her to virtually every aspect of book publishing. She has loved books since she read Hop on Pop all by herself. She began as a bookseller at Borders and a marketing and publicity intern at Candlewick Press and Abrams Books for Young Readers/Amulet Books. Thereafter, she assisted an agent at the Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency. Lindsay was a member of the editorial team in Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Publishing Division.
In 2011, She launched Lindsay Schlegel, Freelance Editorial and Creative Services, LLC. Her projects include children’s, adult, fiction, memoir, and many places in between. She offers broad-stroke editing, line editing, and query letter critiques.
Lindsay is a contributing writer at Verily. Her writing can also be found in Soul Gardening, on, and on her blogs, What I Learned While Writing a Novel and Young Married Mom. Her fiction is represented by Upstart Crow Literary.
Lindsay's favorite books are Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender, and Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. She enjoys knitting, kickboxing, and reading to her kids. 

MOST IMPORTANTLY What kind of entries are you looking for in your Pitch to Publication query box?

I love coming-of-age stories, and would love to see MG or YA with a character in a seemingly ordinary situation discover something powerful about his or her world--something with twists readers will be talking about for days afterwards. That's vague, but that's because I'm open to a lot of kinds of stories!

What is your writing and editing background?

I have worked in publishing for nearly a decade. I've worked at a bookstore, a literary agency, and three different publishing houses in marketing, publicity, and editorial. I blog about craft at What I Learned While Writing a Novel. I'm also a contributor to Verily, and my fiction is agented by Upstart Crow Literary. I've been freelance editing since 2011.  

What are your major editing accomplishments?

One of my novels was an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Semi-Finalist. Another very inspirational non-fiction title is about to sign a contract, but I can't talk about that one yet! To my mind, my greatest achievement is having clients come back to me with more projects. 

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

My job is to ask questions. When I read a manuscript, I seek to pull out what's working, what's not working, and why. I want every writer I work with to improve their skills, to enhance their writerly toolbox, in addition to improving the particular manuscript we're working on. 

What types of books do you enjoy working with?

On the one hand, I like working with manuscripts no one else has seen, because there's often a lot to work on and grow from there. I also like working with manuscripts that have been through a critique group. With these, I can often dig deeper and reach the layers of the novel that will help it to succeed in the marketplace. 

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

Events unfolding conveniently. It's not as much fun to read a novel when you can see what the author is trying to do, or worse, when the author tells you what s/he is trying to do. I like to be surprised, even when I'm not reading a mystery. Life isn't often convenient, and I want that element of reality in the stories I read, so that I can really engage with the characters. I also see a lot of issues with punctuation surrounding dialogue. 

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

I don't know if most don't understand this, but from experience, I know it's tough to do--that is, eliminate whole chunks, whole chapters, whole characters as the novel deepens and continues to take shape. Every time you go back into your novel, you get to know it, the place, the people, yourself as a writer better. It's challenging to let go, and scary to see that blank page again when you thought you were finished. But it's worth it!

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

Reread your favorite books, especially those from years ago. What stood out to you? What about the writing, the story, the characters, made this book stay in your mind or your heart? What do you relate to now?


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

First you need to be sure you are ready for an editor. A good one is not going to be disrespectful, but she is also not going to hold back or sugarcoat things. If there's something that needs to be improved, are you really ready to hear that and find a way to grow from it? You also need someone who is aware of your goals. Where do you intend to send your book? Are you prepared for more than one or two rounds of editing? Where do you want to be in five or ten years?

Why would a writer need a book editor?

Writers need editors because there are things on the page that we (writers) can't see for ourselves. We need someone who doesn't know the story like we do, and who can tell us which pieces are missing and which aren't necessary. We need someone who loves stories as much as we do to help us figure out what's working and how to bring the rest of the story up to that level. 

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

 I knit and kickbox. Not at the same time. 

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

Sushi and white wine. Because of the food allergies in my family, this is a meal we can eat together without substitutions. It's also the meal I've had about a week after delivering each of my children, to celebrate!

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