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 18 reviews

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

Kipp Norman
I've worked with a handful of editors through Reedsy, always looking for editorial assessment on short fiction. Emma is, hands down, the best editor I've worked with. She's sensitive, smart, and adaptable. She has a horse sense for what the author wants to do, and, like a reiki healer (full disclosure: I've never seen one), an impossibly subtle way of providing the adjustments needed to get thi...
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Kipp Norman, June 2020


Don Cummins
Emma was amazing to work with. She helped me see a better version of my story and she helped me tell it by her edits, questions and her keen insight into what I was trying to communicate. She was a great listener, was punctual, and communicated clearly. I would definitely work with Emma again.

Don Cummins, May 2020


Rich Marcello
Emma was a pleasure to work with on my project. I highly recommend her.

Rich Marcello, May 2020


Terrence Dunn
Emma’s work on my novel was extraordinary: deeply thoughtful, constructively critical yet encouraging. She saw elements to my work that I could not see from my perspective and her insights were right on target. I understand where I need to go with it now and she has given me a blueprint of how to make it better. Excellent work. I am grateful. Terry Dunn

Terrence Dunn, May 2020


Jason  Arehart
Emma was fantastic to work with. She gave great feedback on my work, and she was equally helpful in pointing out my strengths and my weaknesses. She answered all of my questions in a quick and professional manner. I have no doubt my manuscript will be in much better shape because of her editorial notes.

Jason Arehart, May 2020

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Loma Halden

Friendly, efficient editor and researcher with a deep passion for books and authors. Reading is my pleasure as well as my profession.

London, United Kingdom

Heather Sangster

Expert copy editor and proofreader of literary fiction/non-fiction with the top trade publishers for 30 years. More track record below...

Toronto, ON, Canada

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