Adam Schear

Adam Schear - Editor

New York, NY, USA

Thoughtful edits from an experienced industry professional.

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Overview

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."
— Jake Wolff, author of THE HISTORY OF LIVING FOREVER
(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 Schear 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.)

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

Work experience

Literary Agent

DeFiore and Company
September, 2009 – Present (over 13 years)

Agent Trainee/AssistantAgent

William Morris Endeavor
January, 2007 – August, 2009 (over 2 years)

Portfolio (14 selected works)

Mikhail and Margarita

Julie Lekstrom Himes

An NPR Best Book of the Year: “[A] brilliant novel of love, betrayal and censorship . . . Deeply suspenseful” (Margot Livesey, New York Times–bestselling author of Mercury).It is 1933 in Russia and Mikhail Bulgakov’s enviable literary career is on the brink of being dismantled. His friend and mentor, the poet Osip Mandelstam, has been arrested, tortured, and sent into exile. Meanwhile, a myste... read more

An NPR Best Book of the Year: “[A] brilliant novel of love, betrayal and censorship . . . Deeply suspenseful” (Margot Livesey, New York Times–bestselling author of Mercury).It is 1933 in Russia and Mikhail Bulgakov’s enviable literary career is on the brink of being dismantled. His friend and mentor, the poet Osip Mandelstam, has been arrested, tortured, and sent into exile. Meanwhile, a myste... read more

The History of Living Forever

Jake Wolff

A chemistry student falls for his teacher and uncovers a centuries-old quest for the elixir of lifeThe morning after the death of his first love, Conrad Aybinder receives a bequest. Sammy Tampari was Conrad’s lover. He was his teacher. And, it turns out, he was not just a chemist, but an alchemist, searching for a mythic elixir of life. Sammy’s death was sudden, yet he somehow managed to leave... read more

A chemistry student falls for his teacher and uncovers a centuries-old quest for the elixir of lifeThe morning after the death of his first love, Conrad Aybinder receives a bequest. Sammy Tampari was Conrad’s lover. He was his teacher. And, it turns out, he was not just a chemist, but an alchemist, searching for a mythic elixir of life. Sammy’s death was sudden, yet he somehow managed to leave... read more

The Revelations

Erik Hoel

An edgy and ambitious debut by a powerful new voice in contemporary literary fiction Monday, Kierk wakes up. Once a rising star in neuroscience, Kierk Suren is now homeless, broken by his all-consuming quest to find a scientific theory of consciousness. But when he’s offered a spot in a prestigious postdoctoral program, he decides to rejoin society and vows not to self-destruct again. Instead ... read more

An edgy and ambitious debut by a powerful new voice in contemporary literary fiction Monday, Kierk wakes up. Once a rising star in neuroscience, Kierk Suren is now homeless, broken by his all-consuming quest to find a scientific theory of consciousness. But when he’s offered a spot in a prestigious postdoctoral program, he decides to rejoin society and vows not to self-destruct again. Instead ... read more

Pretend It's My Body

Luke Dani Blue

Informed by the author’s experience in and between genders, this debut collection blurs fantasy and reality, excavating new meanings from our varied dysphorias. In the vein of Carmen Maria Machado, Kelly Link, and Daniel Lavery, these ten short stories ricochet between the lives we wish for and the ones we actually lead. A tornado survivor grapples with a new identity, a trans teen psychic can... read more

Informed by the author’s experience in and between genders, this debut collection blurs fantasy and reality, excavating new meanings from our varied dysphorias. In the vein of Carmen Maria Machado, Kelly Link, and Daniel Lavery, these ten short stories ricochet between the lives we wish for and the ones we actually lead. A tornado survivor grapples with a new identity, a trans teen psychic can... read more

Every Moment After

Joseph Moldover

Best friends Matt and Cole grapple with their changing relationships during the summer after high school in this impactful, evocative story about growing up and moving on from a traumatic past. Surviving was just the beginning. Eleven years after a shooting rocked the small town of East Ridge, New Jersey and left eighteen first graders in their classroom dead, survivors and recent high school ... read more

Best friends Matt and Cole grapple with their changing relationships during the summer after high school in this impactful, evocative story about growing up and moving on from a traumatic past. Surviving was just the beginning. Eleven years after a shooting rocked the small town of East Ridge, New Jersey and left eighteen first graders in their classroom dead, survivors and recent high school ... read more

Your One and Only

Adrianne Finlay

A human boy lives in a world full of clones and the girl who falls in love with him in this dystopian YA novel debut. Jack is a walking fossil. The only human among a sea of clones. It’s been hundreds of years since humanity died off in the slow plague, leaving the clones behind to carry on human existence. Over time they’ve perfected their genes, moving further away from the imperfections of ... read more

A human boy lives in a world full of clones and the girl who falls in love with him in this dystopian YA novel debut. Jack is a walking fossil. The only human among a sea of clones. It’s been hundreds of years since humanity died off in the slow plague, leaving the clones behind to carry on human existence. Over time they’ve perfected their genes, moving further away from the imperfections of ... read more

Cut Off

Adrianne Finlay

Warcross meets Lost in this haunting young adult sci-fi thriller in which teens compete to survive in the wilderness for one million dollars on a new virtual reality show. When something goes horribly wrong and the contestants realize no one is coming to save them, they must question their very reality—and how much of the game is really for show. Each contestant has their own reasons—and their... read more

Warcross meets Lost in this haunting young adult sci-fi thriller in which teens compete to survive in the wilderness for one million dollars on a new virtual reality show. When something goes horribly wrong and the contestants realize no one is coming to save them, they must question their very reality—and how much of the game is really for show. Each contestant has their own reasons—and their... read more

Zenn Scarlett

Christian Schoon

Zenn Scarlett is a bright, determined, occasionally a-little-too-smart-for-her-own-good 17-year-old girl training hard to become an exoveterinarian. That means she’s specializing in the treatment of exotic alien life forms, mostly large and generally dangerous. Her novice year of training at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars will find her working with alien patients from whalehounds th... read more

Zenn Scarlett is a bright, determined, occasionally a-little-too-smart-for-her-own-good 17-year-old girl training hard to become an exoveterinarian. That means she’s specializing in the treatment of exotic alien life forms, mostly large and generally dangerous. Her novice year of training at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars will find her working with alien patients from whalehounds th... read more

Under Nameless Stars

Christian Schoon

After barely surviving a plot to destroy her school and its menagerie of alien patients, could things get worse for novice exoveterinarian Zenn Scarlett? Yes, they could: her absent father has been kidnapped.Desperate to find him, Zenn stows away aboard the Helen of Troy, a starliner powered by one of the immense, dimension-jumping beasts known as Indra. With her is Liam Tucker, a Martian boy ... read more

After barely surviving a plot to destroy her school and its menagerie of alien patients, could things get worse for novice exoveterinarian Zenn Scarlett? Yes, they could: her absent father has been kidnapped.Desperate to find him, Zenn stows away aboard the Helen of Troy, a starliner powered by one of the immense, dimension-jumping beasts known as Indra. With her is Liam Tucker, a Martian boy ... read more

The Books They Gave Me

Jen Adams

This beautiful full-color treasury of stories about gift book-giving celebrates the enduring power of literature: stories of significant books people have received and what those books mean to them.THE GIFT OF A BOOK BECOMES PART OF THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE. Perhaps it came with a note as simple as “This made me think of you,” but it takes up residence in your heart and your home. The Books They... read more

This beautiful full-color treasury of stories about gift book-giving celebrates the enduring power of literature: stories of significant books people have received and what those books mean to them.THE GIFT OF A BOOK BECOMES PART OF THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE. Perhaps it came with a note as simple as “This made me think of you,” but it takes up residence in your heart and your home. The Books They... read more

If You Were Here

Jennie Yabroff

Tess used to be normal--or at least, she knew how to fake it. Then her mother started showing up at her fancy prep school and acting crazy, which turned Tess into social cyanide. Now, her days at school, once almost tolerable, are unbearable. She longs for summers at her grandmother's lake house, binging on old movies and Oreos, and weekends with her best and only friend, Tabitha. Until then, ... read more

Tess used to be normal--or at least, she knew how to fake it. Then her mother started showing up at her fancy prep school and acting crazy, which turned Tess into social cyanide. Now, her days at school, once almost tolerable, are unbearable. She longs for summers at her grandmother's lake house, binging on old movies and Oreos, and weekends with her best and only friend, Tabitha. Until then, ... read more

The Objects of Her Affection

Sonya Cobb

"'Similarly thrilling' to Gone Girl...Smart social commentary meets taut heist when mom Sophie dips her toe into the black market art world, just so her family can have a nice home." — Better Homes & GardenHer Heists Paid the Bills. Her Family Paid the Price.Sophie Porter is the last person in the world you'd expect to be stealing Renaissance masterpieces—and that's exactly why she's so good a... read more

"'Similarly thrilling' to Gone Girl...Smart social commentary meets taut heist when mom Sophie dips her toe into the black market art world, just so her family can have a nice home." — Better Homes & GardenHer Heists Paid the Bills. Her Family Paid the Price.Sophie Porter is the last person in the world you'd expect to be stealing Renaissance masterpieces—and that's exactly why she's so good a... read more

The Runaways

Sonya Terjanian

"A story for anyone who has ever felt lost, isolated, or fantasized about reinventing herself — and isn't that all of us?"—Jenny Rosenstrach, New York Times Bestselling author of Dinner: A Love StoryIvy is on the run. She is finally ready to trade in a dead-end future of college debt and family obligations for the thrill of a fresh start. But when she finds herself in an isolated cabin in the ... read more

"A story for anyone who has ever felt lost, isolated, or fantasized about reinventing herself — and isn't that all of us?"—Jenny Rosenstrach, New York Times Bestselling author of Dinner: A Love StoryIvy is on the run. She is finally ready to trade in a dead-end future of college debt and family obligations for the thrill of a fresh start. But when she finds herself in an isolated cabin in the ... read more

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