Elissa Weissman

Elissa Weissman – Editor

Traditionally published middle grade and picture book author who taught creative writing at Johns Hopkins. American living in New Zealand.

Overview

As an award-winning author of numerous books for young readers published by Penguin, Simon & Schuster, and Abrams, I love helping fellow writers hone their craft and navigate the publishing industry. Since graduating from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, I've spent over fifteen years leading fiction workshops and teaching courses on writing for children and young adults at several universities. Each class involves editing three or more pieces of student writing per week. It’s been a delight and a privilege to nurture so many writers and see their work get stronger with each draft. Many have gone on to earn MFAs, successfully self-publish, or sell their manuscripts to major houses.


My editing combines literary craft with a practical understanding of the current market. For an editorial assessment, I’ll send you a detailed letter with feedback on what’s working with your story, what needs work, and why. For a developmental edit, I’ll write a detailed letter with big-picture notes, plus comments in the margins and line-specific questions and suggestions. I am honest, but I’m also encouraging and kind. (As an author myself, I know how scary it is to receive feedback on your writing!) I am also happy to discuss my notes and answer your questions via phone (on a US or NZ number) or video chat. You’ll come away with concrete suggestions for revision. I’ll also give you clear guidance for next steps to achieve your publishing goals.


Whether you’re a total beginner or you have a few books under your belt, I’d love to help you get your project in the best shape it can be. I can’t wait to read your work!

Services
Fiction
Contemporary Fiction Humor & Comedy Middle Grade Picture Books Young Adult
Languages
English (US)
Awards
  • Sydney Taylor Book Award Honor for Older Readers
  • Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Cybils Award for Middle Grade Fiction
  • Sunshine State Young Reader Award, runner up
  • California Young Reader Medal, finalist
  • Bank Street Best Books of the Year
Certifications
  • MA in Children's Literature, Roehampton University, London, UK
  • BA in Writing Seminars, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Work experience

Self-employed

Mar, 2006 — Present

Award-winning author of numerous books for young readers, including the Nerd Camp series, The Length of a String, and The Renegade Reporters.

Self-employed

Mar, 2013 — Present

Courses taught:
Fiction Workshop
Writing for Young Readers
How to Submit Your Children's Book to Publishers

Each course entails:
- Providing written editorial feedback on 3-4 pieces of student writing each week.
- Leading group discussions on how to make each piece stronger.
- Preparing and delivering lectures on plot, character, dialogue, theme, voice, and other elements of fiction writing.
- Developing original writing exercises to help students master the elements of crafting fiction.
- Sharing knowledge about the current children's book market and the business of being an author.

The University of Baltimore

Feb, 2008 — May, 2012 (about 4 years)

Courses taught:
Fiction Workshop
Writing for Young Readers
Origins: In Search of Self

Johns Hopkins University Advanced Academic Programs

Feb, 2007 — Apr, 2019 (about 12 years)

Courses taught:
Writing for Young Readers
Writing for Young Readers: Next Steps
Fiction Workout and Workshop

Harcourt Children's Books

Jun, 2004 — Aug, 2004 (2 months)

- Read and reviewed submissions.
- Wrote detailed feedback on submissions for acquiring editors.
- Assisted editors with the day-to-day business of children's book publishing.
- Wrote flap copy and taglines for children's books.

Henry Holt Books for Young Readers

Jun, 2003 — Aug, 2003 (2 months)

- Read and reviewed submissions.
- Wrote detailed feedback on submissions for acquiring editors.
- Assisted editors with the day-to-day business of children's book publishing.

Elissa has 11 reviews

Professionalism

Quality

Value

Responsiveness

Julia H.

Julia H.

Nov, 2023

Elissa offered me something called book coaching, and it is so helpful given I'm still very much in the incubation phase of my next book project. She was able to read materials from my previous kids books that lead up to the current one, and gave very specific feedback about the story progression and plot. In addition, she tied this in to current market information that gave me a realistic idea...
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Laura-Mae B.

Laura-Mae B.

Oct, 2023

Elissa has been thorough, thoughtful, amazingly kind and critical in the most encouraging and insightful ways. My book (yet to be completed) has a much clearer path forward because of Elissa's genuine interest in understanding the underlying "why" of my story, and helping me think through all the details of execution that I hadn't fully considered. Elissa's is a great combination of editor and ...
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Tara B.

Tara B.

Aug, 2023

As a writer who was brand new to this level of professional editing and revising, I was nervous about the process. Elissa put my mind at ease with her very first message, igniting my confidence and instilling a genuine sense of collaboration. With authentic encouragement and spot-on feedback, Elissa empowered me to consider my story through many new lenses. Little lightbulbs went on as I read b...
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James S.

James S.

Aug, 2023

Working with Elissa was wonderful! It was the first time I'd worked with an Editor and she made the whole process incredibly easy, clearly communicating expectations and quickly gaining understanding of what I'd like to get out of the project. Her feedback was insightful and provided a wonderful set of suggestions that fit well with where I hope the project will ultimately go. I am thankful...
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Nicole S.

Nicole S.

Jul, 2023

I had the pleasure of collaborating with Elissa as an editor for my story, and her prompt services were commendable. Moreover, her attention to detail left me speechlessly in awe! She did not just focus on the obvious elements; she dug deep and explored the underlying themes and nuances of my story. In truth, the magnitude of her talent and heart is rare. She truly cares about how an author's ...
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