Alyssa Matesic

Alyssa Matesic - Editor

San Francisco, CA, USA

Passionate book editor who's worked with bestselling authors at Penguin Random House on thrillers, historical fiction, and book club reads.

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I'm a passionate fiction editor who loves helping writers tell compelling and moving stories. Having worked at Penguin Random House, Macmillan, and a top-tier literary agency, I have firsthand knowledge of what the country’s top agents and publishers are looking for—and how to get your manuscript noticed.

Between working in traditional houses and freelancing, I’ve evaluated and edited hundreds of novels, giving me a strong sense of what qualities help get a manuscript represented, acquired, and sold to readers. My experience spans line editing through multiple rounds of revision, high-level developmental editing, crafting thoughtful and constructive editorial letters, revising query letters, and evaluating manuscript submissions.

I'd love to help you refine your novel to flex its strengths or help craft a query letter that catches attention. I specialize in thriller/suspense, historical fiction, and contemporary women’s fiction. In short, anything that can be devoured in one sitting and spurs conversation!

Publishing can be an intimidating process to pursue on your own. Feel free to reach out with any questions you have about how we might work together. I’m here to help!

And if you're working on a thriller, check out my Reedsy Live webinar: "The 5 Most Common Suspense Pitfalls (and How to Avoid Them)"

English (US)
Contemporary Fiction
Historical Fiction
Historical Mysteries
Psychological Thriller
Romantic Suspense
Women's Fiction


  • Certificate in Book Publishing, New York University
  • BA in English and American Literature, New York University
  • Minor in Creative Nonfiction, New York University

Work experience

Freelance Book Editor

August, 2018 – Present (about 3 years)

Evaluate submissions and provide extensive editorial feedback on client manuscripts for a group of top-tier New York City literary agents, including projects by New York Times bestselling authors. Complete full-novel developmental editing, editorial assessments, and query letter reviews for writers.

Editorial Assistant

Penguin Random House
May, 2017 – July, 2018 (about 1 year)

Independently edited novels from acquisition to publication through multiple rounds of revision. Assisted in editing books by New York Times bestselling authors, composing extensive editorial letters and providing constructive line edits. Evaluated dozens of monthly fiction submissions.

Genres: thriller/suspense, historical fiction, and women's fiction.

Literary Agent Assistant

The Book Group
September, 2015 – April, 2017 (over 1 year)

Composed detailed editorial letters for leading literary agents regarding clients’ manuscripts before submission to editors. Independently managed agency's submissions inbox, reviewing hundreds of queries and determining whether to consider them or pass.

Genres: thriller/suspense, historical fiction, women's fiction, and literary fiction.

Editorial Staff

Macmillan (Henry Holt and Company)
June, 2015 – August, 2015 (2 months)

Evaluated submissions from agents and wrote editorial letters to strengthen novels prior to publication.

Genres: literary fiction and narrative nonfiction.

Editorial Assistant

Gibson Square Books
February, 2015 – May, 2015 (3 months)

Line edited and proofread manuscripts for independent London publishing house, working with writers through rounds of revision.

Genres: humor, thriller, nonfiction, and self-help.

Portfolio (18 selected works)

Keep You Close: A Novel

Cleveland, Karen

In Her Shadow: A Novel

Miller, Kristin

Tell Me Everything: A Novel

Brockman, Cambria

Lost Roses: A Novel

Kelly, Martha Hall

The Winters: A Novel

Gabriele, Lisa

Tangerine: A Novel

Mangan, Christine

The Little Clan

Cohen, Iris Martin

Need to Know: A Novel

Cleveland, Karen

Bad Girl: Hush Money Mystery Series, Book 2

T. E. Woods, Xe Sands, Tantor Audio

The Marriage Pact: A Novel

Richmond, Michelle

Alyssa has 90 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Ralph Boulton
Alyssa conveys the sense that she really wants the work to succeed. Her approach is friendly, yes, but businesslike. Incisive but not abrasive. I felt she had read the novel with great attention and was therefore able to provide intelligent guidance on broader matters of plot and character. Gentle prodding inspired ideas that I think will enhance the story and ratchet up necessary tension. If...
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Ralph Boulton, August 2021

Gregory Simpson
Alyssa provides detailed meaningful feedback with actionable approaches to improve your manuscript. She leads with what's working well and provided a good sample editorial assessment before we started. I look forward to future collaborations.

Gregory Simpson, July 2021

Shivani Bhakta
It was great working with Alyssa! She was very professional and helpful.

Shivani Bhakta, July 2021

Barbara Schoenfeld
Working with Alyssa gave me the reassurance of being guided by a knowledgeable professional. She is a clear communicator, is organized, met deadlines and brings a track record of industry experience to validate her judgment. Just as important, I appreciated her willingness to brainstorm and consider alternatives. She's open-minded while willing to weigh in with her opinions. I highly recommend...
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Barbara Schoenfeld, July 2021

Paul Westlake
Working with Alyssa was a pleasure as she was very knowledgeable, professional and I found her review of my project very insightful and also helpful as it gave me ideas on how to improve my manuscript and I would recommend her to anyone

Paul Westlake, July 2021

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