Adam Schear

Adam Schear – Editor

Thoughtful edits from an experienced industry professional.


I’m a literary agent and editor with over 15 years of experience in the publishing industry. Throughout my career, I’ve learned what catches an agent’s attention, what editors are looking for, and how to make a book stand out from the crowd. I know how to ask the right questions, follow unexpected paths, and bring out the best in an author’s work.

My clients have won The Center for Fiction First Novel Award, the AWP Award for the Novel, and the ReLit Award. They have been finalists and longlisted for The Giller Prize, The New York Public Library Young Lions Award, and The Kobo Prize, among others. I’ve worked as the director of foreign rights where I developed an understanding of how stories work around the world, I’ve been an in-house attorney reviewing publishing contracts, and I’ve served on the board of directors for The Association of American Literary Agents where I advocated for a more equitable industry and helped shape policy changes. I got my start at William Morris Endeavor and joined DeFiore and Company in 2009. I have presented at writers conferences, spoken at MFA programs, represented clients at international book fairs, and I’ve spent my career championing great books. I specialize in literary fiction, novels that blur genres, story collections, memoir and narrative non-fiction. I also love to work with YA and middle-grade novels.

My editorial thinking is rarely dogmatic. I understand the conventional approaches to story structure but I also know some rules can be stretched or broken, and that so much depends on the intended audience and the author’s vision. I believe that great editors don't shoehorn every story into the same shape. Identifying the elements that aren’t working is also not enough. Changing one detail can often have unintended consequences later on, so the real key is figuring out how everything is tied together and how to make changes without disrupting the parts that truly shine. I can help you chart a path through these complicated issues and end up with a book that you can be proud of, whether you are self-publishing or seeking a traditional publication.

Please note - If I provide paid editorial services to an author, I’m unable to later represent them as an agent.

"Adam is everything you could want in an editor: knowledgeable, thoughtful, honest, and kind. He reads generously and enthusiastically, starting from the belief that there is a great sentence inside every line, a great book inside every manuscript. He knows all there is to know about the market and what sort of changes can help a book sell, but he also understands that the best books are often those that break free from the trends. My novel would have been much weaker without his steady hand; in fact, without Adam, I’m not sure I would have finished the novel at all."
(An Indie Next Selection. A Best Book of Summer 2019 at Entertainment Weekly, Cosmopolitan, and Buzzfeed. An Amazon Best Book of June. A Publisher’s Weekly Book of the Week. Winner of an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association. Long-listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Short-listed for the William Saroyan International Prize.)

"Adam delivers feedback on my writing, both as it stands as a work of art, as well as to improving its success in the marketplace. His suggestions mirror those of my best and favorite writer-teachers, yet he also knows what editors need to see—an opening that will seduce the reader, pacing that will keep the midsection from sagging, and an ending that will bring it all home and resonate for a long time to come."
— Julie Lekstrom Himes, author of MIKHAIL AND MARGARITA
(Winner of the Center for Fiction’s 2017 First Novel Prize. An NPR Best Book of the Year)

"Adam is a gifted and sensitive editor of fiction. He shares organized, incisive feedback and is always clear about what can strengthen a novel (even an unconventional one) and why. I trust him because he is consistent, careful, even-keeled, and reliable, and most of all because he is a gentle yet accurate communicator, and his advice points me in the right direction while respecting my role as the creator."
— Sarah Cypher, author of THE SKIN AND ITS GIRL

"Adam doesn't just know when a line is right--he knows which literary genre the line is right for. I followed his instincts over a year-long process of writing and revision. At the start, I had a bunch of stories that seemed unsure of whether they were YA or literary, fantasy or speculative or lyric. By the time I'd sent Adam my final proofs, his wise questions had led me not only to a book I was proud to debut with, but also, more meaningfully, to a conviction about the middle space between genres the book was claiming as its own."
— Luke Dani Blue, author of PRETEND IT’S MY BODY

"Adam is not only a thorough and comprehensive editor, but he also has the ability to read with sensitivity, depth, and thoughtfulness. The result is that he understands the goals and aims of the story, and is able to offer suggestions for revision that honor the work and make it the best it can possibly be. For instance, when Adam read an early draft of one of my novels, he pinpointed a major plot element that needed revision. As I worked through that revision, so many other aspects of the narrative fell into place, and I realized he had made my work cleaner, more precise, and more meaningful. I credit those revision notes with my book ultimately landing with a great press. His insight, knowledge, and experience allow him to provide nuanced, in-depth editorial advice that leads to compelling, interesting, and complex prose."
— Adrianne Finlay, author of YOUR ONE AND ONLY and CUT OFF
(Kirkus Best Young Adult Books of 2018 Pick. Hal Clement Notable Young adult book LITA Children’s and Young Adult Science Fiction Notables Pick.)

Biographies & Memoirs
Contemporary Fiction Historical Fiction LGBTQ Fiction Magical Realism Science Fiction Short Story Young Adult
English (US)

Work experience

DeFiore and Company

Sep, 2009 — Present

William Morris Endeavor

Jan, 2007 — Aug, 2009 (over 2 years)


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