Charles Adams

Charles Adams - Editor

Durham, NC, USA

I have worked as an editor for 45 years, with some 100 New York Times bestsellers to my credit.

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Over the course of my long career I have edited a wide range of books. In terms of fiction, while at Simon & Schuster I specialized in mainstream, commercial novels, editing such bestselling writers as Mary Higgins Clark, James Lee Burke, Sandra Brown, Jackie Collins, Shirley Conran, Colleen McCullough, Christopher Moore, and Catherine Ryan Hyde. For the past 16 years I've been at Algonquin Books and have edited, among others, Sara Gruen, Tayari Jones, Robert Goolrick, Roland Merullo, Jonathan Evison, and Tim Johnston.

On the non-fiction front, again at S&S, I specialized in celebrity memoirs (Cher, Charlton Heston, Sara Ferguson--Duchess of York, Neil Simon, and many others), with a fair amount of true crime thrown in. At Algonquin, I've handled more focused books, many of them memoirs about specific events in the author's life (The Day My Brain Exploded, for example), or about particular events when the author was growing up.

I believe that as an editor my job is to be the best reader possible, working with the author to make the book as appealing as possible to a wide readership. When I sit down to edit a manuscript, I am first and foremost a reader, but as I progress through the book, anything that makes me--the reader--stop is something that I--as an editor--must try to address, looking for the change needed in order not to have the reader stop. My goal is to give the reader a seamless read. And I have a sense of humor.
English (US)
Biographies & Memoirs
Coming of Age
Historical Fiction
LGBTQ (Fiction)
Literary Fiction
Mystery & Crime
Thriller & Suspense


  • Poets & Writers Editor of the Year 2013

Work experience

Executive Editor

Algonquin Books (Workman Publishing)
May, 2004 – Present (over 16 years)

Editor for a small literary imprint that publishes only 20 new adult titles a year. There are five editors and each of us is responsible for 4 to 6 books a year. My goal at the end of this year is to continue working for Algonquin on a part-time basis, giving me time to work outside the house as well.

Vice President and Senior Editor

Simon & Schuster
July, 1989 – April, 2004 (almost 15 years)

Portfolio (12 selected works)


Cher, Coplon, Jeff

Breakfast with Buddha

Merullo, Roland

My Story

Sarah, the Duchess of York, Jeff Coplon

Descent: A Novel

Johnston, Tim

His Only Wife

Medie, Peace Adzo

A Reliable Wife

Goolrick, Robert

The Million Dollar Mermaid: An Autobiography

Diehl, Digby, Williams, Esther

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