Aparna Kumar

Aparna Kumar – Editor

A former Penguin editor, I have edited books by Pulitzer and Booker Prize winners. I edit and consult on fiction, non-fiction and poetry.


I am a publishing professional with six years of experience in this industry. I am trained in commissioning books, structural editing, copy-editing, proofreading, and book reviewing. While working as an editor at Penguin Random House, I specialised in commissioning and acquiring, negotiating rights, and developing manuscripts for the Penguin Press division. During my time at Penguin, I was the editor for world-renowned authors like Salman Rushdie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Orhan Pamuk, Paulo Coelho, Ruskin Bond, and Ramachandra Guha. The last project I commissioned, "The Penguin Book of Indian Poets" - a magnum opus containing the works of 94 poets - was a bestseller and received rave reviews in both mainstream and alternate media. My aim is to make the publishing landscape more representative and inclusive of new voices.

Having worked in trade publishing for the better part of a decade, I am well-versed in the processes of the industry. I am thorough, conscientious, hard-working, and passionate about books. I believe in fruitful associations with my authors, that allow for healthy discussions and brainstorming sessions. A strong believer in independent voices, my goal when editing a manuscript is to keep the author's spirit alive in every sentence. As a structural editor, I have the experience and insight to look for weaknesses in plots and characters and believe in a solutions-oriented approach when dealing with these loopholes. As a copy editor, I am deft at catching errors and grammatical inconsistencies in the manuscript, backed by years of experience as a copy editor before I began commissioning.

As I have worked across different editorial profiles in trade publishing, I can also provide guidance and helpful advice when it comes to pitching manuscripts, formulating cost-effective ways to publish books, preparing cover briefs, coming up with marketing plans, and liaising with literary agents. I have also run successful campaigns for bestselling books by world-renowned authors and have considerable publicity experience in the industry - and I am very happy to share these insights with writers.

Anthologies Historical Fiction Literary Fiction Poetry
Biographies & Memoirs
English (UK)

Work experience

Penguin Random House

Oct, 2019 — Sep, 2022 (almost 3 years)

The job profile included commissioning, rights negotiations, structural editing, copy-editing, proofreading, evaluating book proposals, blurb writing, author care, marketing and creating cover briefs for books for the Penguin Press division.

Rupa Publications

Aug, 2017 — Sep, 2019 (about 2 years)

The role included reviewing books, copy-editing, proofreading and author care.

• Spearheaded a team of ten for a mini-eBook project with Amazon.
• Copy-edited Khushwant Singh’s Khushwant Singh on Humour (published posthumously), Devdutt Pattanaik’s Ramayana vs. Mahabharata, Ruskin Bond’s Landour Bazaar, etc.

Om Books International

Apr, 2016 — Jul, 2017 (about 1 year)

The job profile involved author care, editing, proofreading, blurb writing, picture research and sourcing, compiling filmographies and updating pictorials.

• Moderated author sessions at New Delhi World Book Fair, 2017.
• Structurally edited, copy-edited and proofread manuscripts


Women Who Misbehave

Dasgupta, Sayantani

Landour Bazaar

Bond, Ruskin

Dark Blossom

Mullick, Neel

Murder at Lord’s

Oltheten, Harry

Padmavat: An Epic Love Story

Agrawal, Purushottam

Nautanki Diaries

Franks, Dominic

Karunanidhi: A Life

Panneerselvan, A.S.


Tharoor, Shashi

The Archer

Coelho, Paulo

Whereabouts: A novel

Lahiri, Jhumpa

Aparna has 5 reviews





Irene S.

Irene S.

Apr, 2024

I enjoyed working with Aparna during this project. Her detailed and clear edit notes, plus developmental edits were exactly what I was looking for. She had helped me to understand strengths and weaknesses of my writing. Very encouraging! Thank you so much!
Laura G.

Laura G.

Mar, 2024

Aparna is efficient and knows how to work with new authors. I am happy with the Edit Assessment Aparna provided. The process proves stressful, but it is worth the effort. Thank you.
Kimi F.

Kimi F.

Mar, 2024

Loved all of the advice I received! I would have loved a bit more feedback on the poems themselves, but the feedback about the order and other small corrections really helped to make my collection better. Thank you!
Mya F.

Mya F.

Mar, 2024

Aparna's copy-editing and proofreading feedback brought structure and fluidity to my manuscript while maintaining my voice. I am grateful for it.
Trudi W.

Trudi W.

Jan, 2024


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