Emma Borges-Scott

Emma Borges-Scott - Editor

Los Angeles, CA, USA

Dedicated, creative editor with an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and years of experience at a top New York City literary agency.

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Overview

I’m a freelance editor based in Los Angeles, California. I received an MFA in Fiction from The Iowa Writers’ Workshop (2010), where I was the recipient of an Iowa Arts Fellowship, and spent eight years working in top New York City publishing houses and literary agencies.

In 2019 I made the decision to return to my home state of California and go out on my own, so that I could put all of my time and focus into working directly with writers. My time on both sides of the desk--as a writer and an agent--informs my approach to editing work.

During my time in publishing, after short stints at an independent publisher (Overlook Press) and Simon & Schuster’s literary children’s imprint (Atheneum), I found my home at the boutique literary agency McCormick Literary (formerly McCormick & Williams). During my time at McCormick Literary, I edited books and nonfiction proposals across an array of genres, including literary and commercial fiction, young adult fiction, memoir, narrative nonfiction, and food.

The books I’ve worked on have been named to “Best of the Year” lists by The New York Times, The New Yorker, NPR, Library Journal, the New York Public Library, and Harper’s Bazaar; been on New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post bestseller lists; and been shortlisted for and won prestigious awards.

I take great pleasure in helping identify the unique merits of a work and collaborating with writers to hone their art into its ideal version, and I can offer valuable insight into the commercial potential of a book or idea, and how to position your project to attract publishers.

I hope you'll consider working with me as your editor.

Languages
English (US)
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
Cooking, Food, Wine, & Spirits
History
Political Science & Current Affairs
Fiction
Literary Fiction
Short Story
Women's Fiction
Young Adult

Awards

  • Iowa Arts Fellowship

Work experience

Literary Agent

McCormick Literary
March, 2012 – March, 2019 (about 7 years)

I began at McCormick Literary, (formerly McCormick & Williams) in 2012, first working as a manuscript reader, then editorial assistant, before becoming a literary agent in my own right. McCormick Literary represents a wide range of distinguished authors, including critically acclaimed novelists, bestselling writers of children's literature, and award-winning journalists, essayists, and memoirists. Their authors have won or been shortlisted for many prestigious awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, the MacArthur "Genius Grant," the Man Booker Prize, and the PEN America Award.

As a literary agent, I sought out and cultivated talented writers, serving as their champions throughout their careers. I worked in a hands on manner in the editorial process of novels, nonfiction book proposals, short stories, essays, and articles before and after selling them to top publishers and journals. I also gained insight into publishing trends and what makes a commercially successful work in a wide range of genres.

MFA Candidate

The Iowa Writers' Workshop
September, 2008 – June, 2010 (over 1 year)

As a graduate (MFA in Fiction, 2010) of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, I have an extensive background in editing literary fiction including short fiction, and assessing MFA program applications.

Intern

Atheneum (a division of Simon & Schuster)
September, 2001 – June, 2002 (9 months)

I worked as an editorial intern at Simon & Schuster's awards driven, literary children's imprint, Atheneum, gaining insight into the acquisition, editorial and production process for picture books, middle grade books, and YA novels.

Portfolio (11 selected works)

The Make-or-Break Year: Solving the Dropout Crisis One Ninth Grader at a Time

Emily Krone Phillips

A Washington Post BestsellerAn entirely fresh approach to ending the high school dropout crisis is revealed in this groundbreaking chronicle of unprecedented transformation in a city notorious for its “failing schools” In eighth grade, Eric thought he was going places. But by his second semester of freshman year at Hancock High, his D’s in Environmental Science and French, plus an F in Mr. Cas... read more

A Washington Post BestsellerAn entirely fresh approach to ending the high school dropout crisis is revealed in this groundbreaking chronicle of unprecedented transformation in a city notorious for its “failing schools” In eighth grade, Eric thought he was going places. But by his second semester of freshman year at Hancock High, his D’s in Environmental Science and French, plus an F in Mr. Cas... read more

We the Animals

Justin Torres

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE In this groundbreaking debut, Justin Torres plunges us into the chaotic heart of one family, the intense bonds of three brothers, and the mythic effects of this fierce love on the people we must become. "We the Animals is a dark jewel of a book. It’s heartbreaking. It’s beautiful. It resembles no other book I’ve read.”—Michael Cunningham "A miracle in concentrated pa... read more

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE In this groundbreaking debut, Justin Torres plunges us into the chaotic heart of one family, the intense bonds of three brothers, and the mythic effects of this fierce love on the people we must become. "We the Animals is a dark jewel of a book. It’s heartbreaking. It’s beautiful. It resembles no other book I’ve read.”—Michael Cunningham "A miracle in concentrated pa... read more

Permanent Record

Mary H. K. Choi

From the New York Times bestselling author of Emergency Contact, which Rainbow Rowell called “smart and funny,” comes an unforgettable new romance about how social media influences relationships every day.On paper, college dropout Pablo Rind doesn’t have a whole lot going for him. His graveyard shift at a twenty-four-hour deli in Brooklyn is a struggle. Plus, he’s up to his eyeballs in credit ... read more

From the New York Times bestselling author of Emergency Contact, which Rainbow Rowell called “smart and funny,” comes an unforgettable new romance about how social media influences relationships every day.On paper, college dropout Pablo Rind doesn’t have a whole lot going for him. His graveyard shift at a twenty-four-hour deli in Brooklyn is a struggle. Plus, he’s up to his eyeballs in credit ... read more

The Turner House

Angela Flournoy

“Flournoy’s knockout debut is one of those books that should, by rights, be described as the Great American Novel.” — NPR A New York Times Notable Book Named a Best Book of the Year byO, The Oprah Magazine * Entertainment Weekly * NPR * Essence * Men’s Journal * Buzzfeed * Bustle * Time Out * Denver Post * Publishers Weekly * Kirkus Reviews * BookPage * Literary Hub * Kobo * The Week “A page-t... read more

“Flournoy’s knockout debut is one of those books that should, by rights, be described as the Great American Novel.” — NPR A New York Times Notable Book Named a Best Book of the Year byO, The Oprah Magazine * Entertainment Weekly * NPR * Essence * Men’s Journal * Buzzfeed * Bustle * Time Out * Denver Post * Publishers Weekly * Kirkus Reviews * BookPage * Literary Hub * Kobo * The Week “A page-t... read more

The Lifeboat: A Novel

Charlotte Rogan

The sinking of an ocean liner leaves a newly married woman battling for survival in this powerful debut novel. Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow. She is also on trial for her life.In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying her and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a life... read more

The sinking of an ocean liner leaves a newly married woman battling for survival in this powerful debut novel. Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow. She is also on trial for her life.In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying her and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a life... read more

The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us

Paul Tough

The best-selling author of How Children Succeed returns with a devastatingly powerful, mind-changing inquiry into higher education in the United States Does college work? Does it provide real opportunity for young people who want to improve themselves and their prospects? Or is it simply a rigged game designed to protect the elites who have power and exclude everyone else? For many of us, our ... read more

The best-selling author of How Children Succeed returns with a devastatingly powerful, mind-changing inquiry into higher education in the United States Does college work? Does it provide real opportunity for young people who want to improve themselves and their prospects? Or is it simply a rigged game designed to protect the elites who have power and exclude everyone else? For many of us, our ... read more

Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget

Sarah Hepola

*A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER* For Sarah Hepola, alcohol was "the gasoline of all adventure." She spent her evenings at cocktail parties and dark bars where she proudly stayed till last call. Drinking felt like freedom, part of her birthright as a strong, enlightened twenty-first-century woman. But there was a price. She often blacked out, waking up with a blank space where four hours should be... read more

*A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER* For Sarah Hepola, alcohol was "the gasoline of all adventure." She spent her evenings at cocktail parties and dark bars where she proudly stayed till last call. Drinking felt like freedom, part of her birthright as a strong, enlightened twenty-first-century woman. But there was a price. She often blacked out, waking up with a blank space where four hours should be... read more

Fiction Ruined My Family

Jeanne Darst

"Beautifully paced . . . heartbreaking and hilarious."—USA Today Augusten Burroughs meets Mary Karr: a deeply funny and wickedly entertaining family memoir. The youngest of four daughters in an old, celebrated St. Louis family-- of prominent journalists and politicians on one side, debutantes and equestrians on the other-- Jeanne Darst grew up hearing stories of past grandeur. And the message ... read more

"Beautifully paced . . . heartbreaking and hilarious."—USA Today Augusten Burroughs meets Mary Karr: a deeply funny and wickedly entertaining family memoir. The youngest of four daughters in an old, celebrated St. Louis family-- of prominent journalists and politicians on one side, debutantes and equestrians on the other-- Jeanne Darst grew up hearing stories of past grandeur. And the message ... read more

Now and Again

Charlotte Rogan

A provocative novel about the fallout from a search for truth by the author of the national bestseller The Lifeboat.For Maggie Rayburn--wife, mother, and secretary at a munitions plant--life is pleasant, predictable, and, she assumes, secure. When she finds proof of a high-level cover-up on her boss's desk, she impulsively takes it, an act that turns her world, and her worldview, upside down. ... read more

A provocative novel about the fallout from a search for truth by the author of the national bestseller The Lifeboat.For Maggie Rayburn--wife, mother, and secretary at a munitions plant--life is pleasant, predictable, and, she assumes, secure. When she finds proof of a high-level cover-up on her boss's desk, she impulsively takes it, an act that turns her world, and her worldview, upside down. ... read more

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

Ayana Mathis

A New York Times Notable BookAn NPR Best Book of the YearA Buzzfeed Best Book of the YearIn 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd, swept up by the tides of the Great Migration, flees Georgia and heads north. Full of hope, she settles in Philadelphia to build a better life. Instead she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment, and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins ar... read more

A New York Times Notable BookAn NPR Best Book of the YearA Buzzfeed Best Book of the YearIn 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd, swept up by the tides of the Great Migration, flees Georgia and heads north. Full of hope, she settles in Philadelphia to build a better life. Instead she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment, and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins ar... read more

Chihuly

Illuminated by Dale Chihuly’s mesmerizing glass sculptures, this beautiful book presents the artist’s most recent nature-inspired work. It’s been over a decade since New York City hosted a new Dale Chihuly exhibition. Featuring the artist’s latest, dynamic glass sculptures on display at The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), this book proves that it was worth the wait. Filled with panoramic vis... read more

Illuminated by Dale Chihuly’s mesmerizing glass sculptures, this beautiful book presents the artist’s most recent nature-inspired work. It’s been over a decade since New York City hosted a new Dale Chihuly exhibition. Featuring the artist’s latest, dynamic glass sculptures on display at The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), this book proves that it was worth the wait. Filled with panoramic vis... read more

Emma has 26 reviews

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

Daniel Victor
Emma's insightful and thorough feedback on my short story was immensely valuable. Her written and verbal comments were articulate and comprehensive, and her suggested edits helped me to improve the piece substantially. She is also a pleasure to work with.

Daniel Victor, May 2021


Ron Felt
Back and forth communications with Emma could not have been more fluent. Her thoughtful messages in the weeks before our collaboration led me to believe that I had much to gain from her expertise. Upon receiving her markups, I saw that every hope I had placed in her skills was fulfilled. Over & over, I wanted to praise her for insights that are beyond everything I hoped for when I searched for ...
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Ron Felt, April 2021


Nick Peet
This was my second time coming back to Emma. Her notes are always so spot on, honest and meticulous. She went over my 70,000 word working novel with a superhuman level of care and attention. Her ideas and suggestions couldn't be more in line with what I know has to be done on my next draft. I want to be Emma when I grow up.

Nick Peet, April 2021


Whitney Durmick
Emma performed an editorial review on my manuscript. She compassionately told me what I needed to hear and articulated the tangible areas of improvement that I sensed but couldn't quite see. I appreciate that she took care to answer my questions and address my concerns with clear, actionable advice. Her judgment is sound, her advice is consistent, and her approach is kind. I believe followin...
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Whitney Durmick, March 2021


Pearl Solas
Emma copyedited my novel, and I cannot recommend her highly enough. Her suggestions were thoughtful and surgical, and they improved the project immeasurably. Throughout our work together, I appreciated Emma's professionalism and punctuality. After she completed the copy edit, I hired Emma to prepare a jacket description, and I was blown away by the results. Emma is a talented expert. I am grate...
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Pearl Solas, March 2021

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