Elsa Sjunneson

Elsa Sjunneson - Editor

Seattle, WA, USA

Award winning editor of non-fiction and genre fiction. Nearly a decade of experience across a wide variety of writing styles.

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Overview

I am an Hugo, Aurora, and British Fantasy Award Winning Editor, and a Nebula nominated game developer. I have been working in the field of editorial since 2011, where I started editing textbooks out of my graduate program at Sarah Lawrence in Women's History.

Over the course of my near decade as an editor, I have worked for Fireside Magazine, Uncanny Magazine and dozens of independent author clients, as well as large publishing houses to develop fiction and non-fiction for successful storytelling.

I believe that refining and sharpening the written word is magic. Every word you use has meaning, and finding the right ones can be hard on your own. Which is why a good and compassionate editor is worth finding. I approach the work of each author I work with from the lens of compassionate editorial.

As a sensitivity reader I work with my authors to understand my perspective as a Deafblind woman, living in a world that isn't always as clear cut as one might expect. I offer practical examples, research and more. I also offer alternative solutions to problematic plot points - I don't leave my authors holding the bag, but I offer them support in solving the problems caused by inaccurate or harmful representation.

As a developmental editor I spend time not just evaluating the text, but the worldbuilding and character development to tell comprehensive and compelling stories.

Unlike some editors, I never want my authors to hand me a jar of their tears when I'm done with their work. I seek to create a supportive collaboration so that you feel ready to send your story out into the world.

Testimonial:

Elsa’s feedback brilliantly refines elements of plot and character. She is fast, thorough, and gives invaluable notes that range from small-detail to big-picture. Her approach is both incisive and encouraging, and guides stories toward becoming their best. I’m so grateful for her help on Blanca & Roja.

–Anna-Marie McLemore, author of When the Moon Was Ours and Wild Beauty


Languages
English (UK)
English (US)
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
History
Fiction
Fantasy
Science Fiction
Short Story

Certifications

  • MA in Women's History, Sarah Lawrence College
  • BA in History, Gonzaga University

Awards

  • Hugo Award, Best Semiprozine 2019 Winner
  • Aurora Award for Best Related Work, 2019
  • D. Franklin Defying Doomsday Award Winner 2019
  • Hugo Award Nominee, Best Fan Writer 2019
  • Nebula Award Finalist, Best Game Writing, 2020
  • Hugo Finalist Best Semiprozine, 2018, 2019, 2020
  • British Fantasy Award. Best Magazine, 2019

Work experience

Managing Editor

Fireside Magazine
April, 2017 – November, 2018 (over 1 year)

Managed behind the scenes editorial support and submissions for a quarterly print and digital magazine. Edited selected non-fiction, and wrote selected editorials as part of the duties behind the scenes. I worked closely with editor Julia Rios to develop tone and vision, as well.

Non-Fiction Editor

Uncanny Magazine
February, 2017 – Present (over 4 years)

I've worked for Uncanny Magazine in two separate ways over the last few years. First, I was the Guest Co-Editor in Chief of Disabled People Destroy Science fiction alongside Dominik Parisien (for which we won multiple awards).

And then I was hired starting in January of 2020 to edit the general non-fiction section of the magazine, where I curate, edit and produce content across a wide variety of subjects suited to the Uncanny readership.

Assistant Editor

Fireside Magazine
September, 2014 – April, 2017 (over 2 years)

Freelance Editor/Writer

Self-employed
January, 2009 – Present (almost 13 years)

I have done a range of editorial jobs as a freelancer in the last decade and change.

I have sensitivity edited content for both independent authors and major publishers (Charlie Jane Anders' "Rock Manning Goes for Broke" and Anna Marie McLemore's "Blanca & Roja" are examples) . I have edited pronunciation guides for narrators, copyedited textbooks for BWH Freeman, and proofread independent client essays and manuscripts.

I have worked as a dramaturge on new theatrical works, including "blahblahblahBANG" which was produced by the Washington Ensemble Theater in 2009.

I also provide developmental edits for non-fiction and fiction projects, as well as short fiction.

As a writer I am proficient in non-fiction essay work, and game design texts.

Portfolio (12 selected works)

Uncanny Magazine Issue 24: Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction September/October 2018

Parisien, Dominik, Alexander, William, Swirsky, Rachel, Brozek, Jennifer, Greenblatt, A. T., Rustad, A. Merc, Duckett, Katharine, Shawl, Nisi, Wilde, Fran, Sjunneson-Henry, Elsa

Uncanny Magazine Issue 34: May/June 2020

Martine, Arkady, Brissett, Jennifer Marie, Törzs, Emma, Elison, Meg, Greenblatt, A.T., Walker, Suzanne, Thomas, Lynne M., Thomas, Michael Damian, Ohaegbu, Chimedum, Sjunneson, Elsa

Uncanny Magazine Issue 33: March/April 2020

Robson, Kelly, Harrow, Alix E., Caldwell, Christopher, Kornher-Stace, Nicole, Roanhorse, Rebecca, Theodoridou, Natalia , Thomas, Lynne M., Thomas, Michael Damian, Sjunneson, Elsa, Ohaegbu, Chimedum

Uncanny Magazine Issue 32: January/February 2020

Carson, Rae , Triantafyllou, Eugenia, Clark, C.L. , Stufflebeam, Bonnie Jo, Hsu, Sharon, Bledsoe, Alex, Thomas, Lynne M., Thomas, Michael Damian, Ohaegbu, Chimedum, Sjunneson, Elsa

Uncanny Magazine Issue 26: January/February 2019

Thomas, Lynne M, Wilde, Fran, Theodoridou, Natalia, Ahmad, Senaa, Dawson, Delilah S., Kushner, Ellen, Addison, Linda D., Sjunneson-Henry, Elsa, Nevala-Lee, Alec, Thomas, Michael Damian

Uncanny Magazine Issue 23: July/August 2018

Thomas, Lynne M. , Miller, Sam J., Szpara, K.M., Kalaw, R. K. , Sjunneson-Henry, Elsa , Rustad, A. Merc, Bolander, Brooke, Hvide, Brit E. B., Kowal, Mary Robinette, Thomas, Michael Damian

Rock Manning Goes for Broke

Anders, Charlie Jane

Blanca & Roja

McLemore, Anna-Marie

Uncanny Magazine Issue 37: November/December 2020

Liu, Ken, Zhang, Hal Y., Hvide, Brit E.B., Wells, Martha, Mandelo, Lee, Wiswell, John, Broaddus, Maurice, Thomas, Lynne M, Thomas, Michael Damian, Ohaegbu, Chimedum

Uncanny Magazine Issue 36: September/October 2020

Kingfisher, T., Mills, Samantha, Schneyer, Kenneth, Tidhar, Lavie, Brennan, Marie, Yu, James, Clark, P. Djèlí, Thomas, Lynne M., Thomas, Michael Damian, Ohaegbu, Chimedum

Uncanny Magazine Issue 35: July/August 2020

Reese, Jenn, Connolly, Tina, MacGriogair, M Evan, Onwualu, Chinelo, de Bodard, Aliette, Ness, Mari, Taylor, Jordan, Clark, P. Djèlí , Thomas, Lynne M., Thomas, Michael Damian

Elsa has 2 reviews

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

Jurgen Appelo
Elsa's feedback on the outline of my book was tough but fair and super-useful. I now know what I need to do to improve structure, plot, and characters. Also, I very much appreciate that Elsa was available to give feedback on an outline. Most other editors only want to offer feedback on completed manuscripts. I consider this a waste of everyone's time. Early strong feedback on an outline preven...
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Jurgen Appelo, February 2021


Tim Stapleton
Elsa was a pleasure to work with. She provided thorough, thoughtful, and insightful edits that improved the quality of my work, and got it back to me well ahead of schedule. I'd definitely hire her again.

Tim Stapleton, January 2021

Elsa Sjunneson
It was a pleasure working with you! Best of luck with your querying process!

Reply from Elsa Sjunneson

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