Donald Weise

Donald Weise - Editor

New York, NY, USA

Experienced, committed, award-winning editor who's patient and sensitive to the needs particular to you and your book.

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Overview

I offer more than twenty years’ experience as a line and developmental editor as well as copy editor. Some of my clients have included Doubleday, Penguin, Bantam, Basic Books, Beacon, and dozens of individual clients. Further, my work has been singled out for distinction by the American Library Association,
Publishers Weekly, and Out magazine.

I've edited two New York Times bestselling novels and four national bestsellers (nonfiction). Among the esteemed authors that I’ve worked with are Gore Vidal, Edward Albee, Samuel R. Delany, E. Lynn Harris, and Edmund White. I’ve also edited many debut authors who were brand new to the editorial process, and so I’m sensitive to the needs and concerns of newcomers.

Editing at its best is a collaborative process between an editor and the author, the goal always being what makes for the best book. Happy to answer any questions that might help get us started.

Testimonials:

“You are one hell of an editor! I have never, never seen such abundantly thoughtful, insightful, cogent, and truly supportive work. For the first time, I really feel I can make it because of your eye. Your work is brilliant.”

Roberta Degnore, author client


“Regarding your editorial comments, 'Wow!' I found them to be outstanding—you were supportive, honest, and perceptive in crafting your suggestions to my writing abilities. That you were able to point out holes in the plot and narrative while gently leading me toward 'blind spots' in my writing and creative awareness speaks to your experience as an editor and teacher. Thank you, thank you.”

Lars Larsen, author client


“As I drew closer to completing my book, I Googled dozens and dozens of editors, read dozens and dozens of profiles, and was insufficiently convinced dozens and dozens of times. This was too important. Then, after a year of looking, I found Don and my radar pinged. But nothing pinged louder than when I incorporated the edits and realized my novel had been elevated to the land of hopes and dreams—and the kicker was that Don’s such a great guy. Instincts are a funny thing. Thank God for my instincts!”

Carlos Aguila, author client


“Don exceeded expectations. The level of detail, thought, and advice he provided was beyond valuable. I was blown away. Specifically, I could tell he put a lot of thought into the structure, rhythm, and sense of my content and offered specific guidance on how to rectify.”

John Diefendorf, author client


“I am a first-time novelist and was nervous about working with an editor. Don helped walk me the through the process with patience and the guidance I needed. His edits were more than just comments and suggestions, they challenged me to rethink and improve my storyline. I would recommend his talents to any new writer and can see that the benefits of his detailed work could be appreciated by seasoned writers as well.”

Ina Shicoff, author client


Languages
English (US)
Fiction
African American fiction
LGBTQ (Fiction)
Literary Fiction
Mystery & Crime
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
History
LGBTQ (non fiction)
Political Science & Current Affairs

Certifications

  • BA English

Awards

  • American Library Association Keynote Speaker
  • Publishers Weekly Industry Changemaker
  • Lambda Literary Award
  • Out 100 Award

Work experience

Freelance editor, writer, and ghostwriter

Self-employed
June, 2007 – Present (about 13 years)

Since 2007, I've freelance edited and/or ghostwritten for numerous publishers and private individuals. Past clients include Doubleday, Penguin, Bantam, Beacon, Basic Books, Da Capo, and Seven Stories, among others. My two projects for Doubleday became New York Times bestselling novels.

Publisher

Alyson Books
November, 2008 – November, 2010 (about 2 years)

I oversaw publication of 20 new titles a year, including memoir, sexuality, mystery, popular culture, history, and fiction. I was responsible for all manuscript evaluation, acquisition, and line editing, as well as writing all cover copy and sales, marketing, and publicity materials. I was honored by Publishers Weekly for work performed.

Portfolio (14 selected works)

Tilt-a-Whirl (The John Ceepak Mysteries Book 1)

Chris Grabenstein

The Anthony Award winning first book in the John Ceepak/Jersey Shore mysteries."From page 1, this debut stands out as refreshingly different . Grabenstein brilliantly evokes the endearing seediness of a Jersey Shore town in summer but it's his development of the Ceepak-Boyle relationship that makes this an absolute triumph." —BOOKLIST (Starred Review!) There isn't much fun in the sun when a bi... read more

The Anthony Award winning first book in the John Ceepak/Jersey Shore mysteries."From page 1, this debut stands out as refreshingly different . Grabenstein brilliantly evokes the endearing seediness of a Jersey Shore town in summer but it's his development of the Ceepak-Boyle relationship that makes this an absolute triumph." —BOOKLIST (Starred Review!) There isn't much fun in the sun when a bi... read more

Chulito

Charles Rice-Gonzalez

"A tremendous debut...full of heart and courage and a ferocious honesty."-Junot Diaz, author of The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Set against a vibrant South Bronx neighborhood and the queer youth culture of Manhattan's piers, Chulito is a coming-of-age, coming out love story of a sexy, tough, hip hop-loving, young Latino man and the colorful characters who populate his block. Chulito, whi... read more

"A tremendous debut...full of heart and courage and a ferocious honesty."-Junot Diaz, author of The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Set against a vibrant South Bronx neighborhood and the queer youth culture of Manhattan's piers, Chulito is a coming-of-age, coming out love story of a sexy, tough, hip hop-loving, young Latino man and the colorful characters who populate his block. Chulito, whi... read more

Basketball Jones

E. Lynn Harris

AJ Richardson is living the good life. Thanks to his longtime lover, NBA star Dray Jones, he has a gorgeous townhouse in New Orleans, plenty of frequent-flier miles, and an MBA he’s never had to use. Built on a deep and abiding love, their hidden relationship sustains them both. But when Dray’s teammates begin to ask insinuating questions, Dray puts their doubts to rest by marrying Judi, a bea... read more

AJ Richardson is living the good life. Thanks to his longtime lover, NBA star Dray Jones, he has a gorgeous townhouse in New Orleans, plenty of frequent-flier miles, and an MBA he’s never had to use. Built on a deep and abiding love, their hidden relationship sustains them both. But when Dray’s teammates begin to ask insinuating questions, Dray puts their doubts to rest by marrying Judi, a bea... read more

Mama Dearest

E. Lynn Harris

One of E. Lynn Harris's incomparable heroines, Yancey Harrington Braxton, is working her way back to Broadway and beyond. And this diva supreme always stirs up drama in and out of the spotlight.... New York City, you've been warned: Yancey Harrington Braxton is back. The ambitious singer and actress is fired up to move past her recent professional and personal setbacks -- including an explosiv... read more

One of E. Lynn Harris's incomparable heroines, Yancey Harrington Braxton, is working her way back to Broadway and beyond. And this diva supreme always stirs up drama in and out of the spotlight.... New York City, you've been warned: Yancey Harrington Braxton is back. The ambitious singer and actress is fired up to move past her recent professional and personal setbacks -- including an explosiv... read more

The History of Swimming: A Memoir

Kim Powers

They entered the world just five minutes apart, twins swimming out of the womb together, already arguing about who got to lead the way. They grew up together, best friends with rhyming names. They even went to the same college — where one of them had a nervous breakdown, and the other didn’t. Grown-up, one of them became a suicidal drunk, the other a success. Now, one is missing, and the other... read more

They entered the world just five minutes apart, twins swimming out of the womb together, already arguing about who got to lead the way. They grew up together, best friends with rhyming names. They even went to the same college — where one of them had a nervous breakdown, and the other didn’t. Grown-up, one of them became a suicidal drunk, the other a success. Now, one is missing, and the other... read more

The Sea Is Quiet Tonight

Michael H. Ward

In this insightful and inspirational memoir, Michael Ward returns to the early years of the AIDS epidemic, when so little was known and so few who were diagnosed survived. He chronicles in candid detail his partner Mark's decline and eventual death. By looking back on these devastating events, the author not only honors a generation lost to the illness but also opens a vital window onto the pa... read more

In this insightful and inspirational memoir, Michael Ward returns to the early years of the AIDS epidemic, when so little was known and so few who were diagnosed survived. He chronicles in candid detail his partner Mark's decline and eventual death. By looking back on these devastating events, the author not only honors a generation lost to the illness but also opens a vital window onto the pa... read more

When We Were Outlaws

Jeanne Cordova

Lambda Literary Award Winner - Lesbian Memoir 2011A sweeping memoir, a raw and intimate chronicle of a young activist torn between conflicting personal longings and political goals. When We Were Outlaws offers a rare view of the life of a radical lesbian during the early cultural struggle for gay rights, Women’s Liberation, and the New Left of the 1970s. Brash and ambitious, activist Jeanne Có... read more

Lambda Literary Award Winner - Lesbian Memoir 2011A sweeping memoir, a raw and intimate chronicle of a young activist torn between conflicting personal longings and political goals. When We Were Outlaws offers a rare view of the life of a radical lesbian during the early cultural struggle for gay rights, Women’s Liberation, and the New Left of the 1970s. Brash and ambitious, activist Jeanne Có... read more

Selfish and Perverse

Bob Smith

When a burned-out Hollywood sketch show writer named Nelson Kunker meets and falls for Roy Briggs, a part-time salmon fisherman/full-time archaeology student who's visiting from Alaska, hilarity, love, and debauchery ensue.Bob Smith has the distinction of being the first openly gay comedian to appear on The Tonight Show and also have his own episode of HBO Comedy Half-Hour. He lives in New York.

When a burned-out Hollywood sketch show writer named Nelson Kunker meets and falls for Roy Briggs, a part-time salmon fisherman/full-time archaeology student who's visiting from Alaska, hilarity, love, and debauchery ensue.Bob Smith has the distinction of being the first openly gay comedian to appear on The Tonight Show and also have his own episode of HBO Comedy Half-Hour. He lives in New York.

Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders

Samuel R. Delany

Like his legendary Hogg, The Mad Man, and the million-seller Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany’s major new novel Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders—explicit, poetic, philosophical, and, yes, shocking—propels readers into a gay sexual culture unknown to most urban gay men and women, a network of rural gay relations—with the twist that this one is supported by the homophile Kyle Foundation, star... read more

Like his legendary Hogg, The Mad Man, and the million-seller Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany’s major new novel Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders—explicit, poetic, philosophical, and, yes, shocking—propels readers into a gay sexual culture unknown to most urban gay men and women, a network of rural gay relations—with the twist that this one is supported by the homophile Kyle Foundation, star... read more

The Marble Faun of Grey Gardens: A Memoir of the Beales, the Maysles Brothers, and Jacqueline Kennedy

Jerry Torre, Tony Maietta

The Marble Faun of Grey Gardens is Jerry Torre’s touching and at times haunting memoir about his teenage days as caretaker of Grey Gardens, the now-celebrated mansion chronicled in the iconic documentary Grey Gardens and two feature-length films. The book is a behind-the-scenes look at “Big Edie” and “Little Edie” and their bizarre and reclusive life of squalor amidst the tremendous wealth of ... read more

The Marble Faun of Grey Gardens is Jerry Torre’s touching and at times haunting memoir about his teenage days as caretaker of Grey Gardens, the now-celebrated mansion chronicled in the iconic documentary Grey Gardens and two feature-length films. The book is a behind-the-scenes look at “Big Edie” and “Little Edie” and their bizarre and reclusive life of squalor amidst the tremendous wealth of ... read more

On the Road and Off the Record with Leonard Bernstein: My Years with the Exasperating Genius

Charlie Harmon

Celebrating Leonard Bernstein's centenary with an intimate and detailed look at the public and private life of the Maestro written by his former assistant. Foreword by Broadway legend Harold Prince."An affectionate portrait of an eminent musician who was driven by demons." —Kirkus Reviews "Harmon’s personable and warm account of what it was like to work for one of the twentieth century’s music... read more

Celebrating Leonard Bernstein's centenary with an intimate and detailed look at the public and private life of the Maestro written by his former assistant. Foreword by Broadway legend Harold Prince."An affectionate portrait of an eminent musician who was driven by demons." —Kirkus Reviews "Harmon’s personable and warm account of what it was like to work for one of the twentieth century’s music... read more

The Assistance of Vice

Roberta Degnore

The Assistance of Vice tells the story of a New York City woman living on the edge. It's 1983 and she's faced with a dilemma. Choosing from too many women should be easy, and so should making it in the downtown art scene as a talented photographer. But nothing's easy when you don't trust your talents. Degnore propels the reader from shock to reflection in this work of erotic philosophy. It is ... read more

The Assistance of Vice tells the story of a New York City woman living on the edge. It's 1983 and she's faced with a dilemma. Choosing from too many women should be easy, and so should making it in the downtown art scene as a talented photographer. But nothing's easy when you don't trust your talents. Degnore propels the reader from shock to reflection in this work of erotic philosophy. It is ... read more

Beyond the Down Low: Sex, Lies, and Denial in Black America

Keith Boykin, E. Lynn Harris

Keith Boykin, a former Clinton White House aide, syndicated columnist, and AIDS activist, breaks new ground by going beyond the hype with the first responsible, eye-opening look at the down low sensation. Unlike all previous accounts on the topic, Beyond the Down Low refreshingly presents the DL not merely as a problem of gay and bisexual men living in the shadows and endangering women, but mo... read more

Keith Boykin, a former Clinton White House aide, syndicated columnist, and AIDS activist, breaks new ground by going beyond the hype with the first responsible, eye-opening look at the down low sensation. Unlike all previous accounts on the topic, Beyond the Down Low refreshingly presents the DL not merely as a problem of gay and bisexual men living in the shadows and endangering women, but mo... read more

Aid from Above: Inside My Veiled World as a Flight Nurse

Kurtis A Bell

The book is about what it is really like to be a flight nurse. Kurtis Bell brings over twenty years of flight nursing to bare in this no holes barred account of life working on a medical helicopter. With the most common question asked of him, "What's the worst thing you've ever seen?" He answers that from his experience and perspective. He is brutally honest and direct. He tells of the early d... read more

The book is about what it is really like to be a flight nurse. Kurtis Bell brings over twenty years of flight nursing to bare in this no holes barred account of life working on a medical helicopter. With the most common question asked of him, "What's the worst thing you've ever seen?" He answers that from his experience and perspective. He is brutally honest and direct. He tells of the early d... read more

Donald has 12 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Lloyd Johnson
After researching editors, I stumbled across Don Weise. I was impressed with his resume and hired him to do a copy edit. I'm thrilled with my choice. Don is both professional and personable. He let me know right away when there was a small delay in returning the manuscript. I'm glad that he took the extra day because the work he turned out was superb. His feedback was both concise and helpfu...
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Lloyd Johnson, August 2020


Laury John
It was truly a smooth journey working with Don. His expertise certainly took my debut novel to a new level. I couldn’t have been happier with the guidance I have received. Although there is much more work to be done, on my part, as the writer. I look forward to many more collaborations with Don.

Laury John, June 2020


Mignon Quillings
I chose Donald because my intent is to get my book published by a traditional publisher instead of self-publishing it. With his experience, I knew he would be able to give the kind of assessment and feedback I needed for an excellent self published or traditionally published product. He did not disappoint. He is a very kind, likeable, professional and competent editor. I was a little impati...
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Mignon Quillings, May 2020


Raymond Noland
I was very pleased working with Don, He walked me though step-by-step on my first book and pointed out things I should think about in the development of the book but still keeping my vision of the story, that only added to the book. I took the time to try all his suggestions and most of the time it worked out for the better and I also found a few spots that I could improve on just but doing wha...
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Raymond Noland, April 2020


Lars Larsen
Don Weise provided an editorial assessment and content editing for my novel, and he was outstanding! Specifically, he was timely and thoughtful in our communications through the Reedsy platform, honest while being supportive, and made editorial suggestions and comments that will take my novel to the next level while greatly improving my writing skills. His suggestions and comments were expertly...
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Lars Larsen, April 2020

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