Emma Borges-Scott

Emma Borges-Scott – Editor

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


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.

Biographies & Memoirs Cooking, Food, Wine, & Spirits History Political Science & Current Affairs
Literary Fiction Short Story Women's Fiction Young Adult
English (US)
  • Iowa Arts Fellowship

Work experience

McCormick Literary

Mar, 2012 — Mar, 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.

The Iowa Writers' Workshop

Sep, 2008 — Jun, 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.

Atheneum (a division of Simon & Schuster)

Sep, 2001 — Jun, 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.


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 gla... 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 ... 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 pr... 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 po... 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, enlig... 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 thei... 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 h... 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... 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 who... 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 jewe... 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 goin... read more

Emma has 72 reviews





Freedom N.

Freedom N.

Mar, 2024

Emma provided honest and direct feedback which was both helpful and critical to my revision process. She was timely with her communications and provided much welcomed guidance navigating the editorial process as a new writer. Her experience and knowledge is apparent in her reflections and editorial comments, offering clear paths forward - particularly on structure, plot, and narrative arcs. I ...
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january H.

january H.

Mar, 2024

Emma was super easy to work with and gave a very thorough review of my work. She had great ideas on how to move my story forward (from a big picture view to a chapter-by-chapter view) along with the encouragement I needed to keep expanding the story itself. I appreciated her professionalism, her openness, her curiosity and her sincerity. I would recommend Emma to any writers looking for an in-...
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Willie C.

Willie C.

Feb, 2024

I'm writing a memoir and Emma is helping me enhance the structure with thought provoking questions. The advice is exactly what I've been looking for. Recommend!
Paula S.

Paula S.

Jan, 2024

Emma is a phenomenal editor who has your best interest at heart. She provides constructive criticism with hope and vision for your future as a writer. I greatly value her and appreciated the work she has done to date. I look forward to our future collaboration until my novel is completed. Paula Smith
Gabrielle H.

Gabrielle H.

Jan, 2024

Great feedback, and a pleasure to work with!

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