Emma Dries

Emma Dries - Editor

Editor, teacher & writer. I've worked with bestselling and award-winning authors at Alfred A. Knopf, Doubleday and Ecco Books

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Overview


"Emma is diligent and attentive, with the ability to be at once ruthless and gentle. This sounds a contradiction in terms, but is precisely what one wants in an editor. She’s a pleasure to work with, and the work itself is always the better for it." — Rumaan Alam, author of National Book Award Finalist Leave the World Behind

I am an editor, writer and teacher with a broad range of experience: I cut my teeth editing best-selling and award-winning authors at Alfred A. Knopf, Doubleday and Ecco Books. I have an M.F.A in Fiction from Johns Hopkins University, where I also taught fiction and poetry to undergraduates.


My experience on all sides of the creative process has led me to an editorial philosophy that prioritizes guiding authors to the best version of the story they want to tell. My role as an editor is not to shoehorn your work, but rather to help you, the author, bridge the gap between vision and execution, to help illuminate what might be buried just beneath the surface. I know that the best editorial feedback takes into consideration the overall arc of the book and its project, while also caring for the small parts—the words, the phrases, the sentences—that make up the greater whole.


I have experience with a wide range of genre—literary, upmarket and commercial fiction, graphic novels, short stories, history, narrative nonfiction, current events and essays. I have worked with authors at every step of the editorial process, and can provide services ranging from manuscript evaluation, to developmental editing, to line editing.

Languages
English (US)
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
Humanities & Social Sciences
Nature
Political Science & Current Affairs
Fiction
Contemporary Fiction
Science Fiction
Short Story
Women's Fiction

Certifications

  • Master of Fine Arts in Fiction

Work experience

Fiction & Poetry Instructor

Johns Hopkins University
September, 2018 – April, 2021 (over 2 years)

• Teach a seminar of 15-30 undergraduates per semester using a curriculum I created, based on the standard departmental syllabus, which introduces students to the building blocks of creative writing.

Freelance Editor

Self-employed
June, 2017 – Present (about 5 years)

Assistant Editor to Editorial Director & Vice President

Ecco Books, HarperCollins
August, 2016 – August, 2018 (about 2 years)

• Worked with Editorial Director to launch and handle multiple titles each season, while building my own acquisitions list. Contributed to editorial and author meetings. Managed submissions, read incoming fiction and drafted rejections. Composed catalog and flap copy, utilizing specific keywords in metadata to help drive traffic.
• Composed editorial letters and line edited authors, including Ben Fountain, Alissa Nutting, Eleanor Henderson, Louisa Hall, Rumaan Alam.

Editorial Assistant

Alfred A. Knopf & Doubleday Books, Penguin Random House
May, 2015 – August, 2016 (over 1 year)

• Assisted two senior editors, publishing on the Knopf, Doubleday and Pantheon lists. Handled up to nine titles a season. Attended and contributed to editorial and author meetings. Read and reported on incoming fiction and nonfiction. Composed catalog and flap copy.
• Composed editorial letters and line edited authors, including Dave Eggers, Peter Heller, Katherine Heiny, Michael Finkel, Kory Stamper.

Editorial Contractor to Senior Vice President & Publisher

Flatiron Books, Macmillan
September, 2014 – December, 2014 (3 months)

Portfolio (13 selected works)

The House of Impossible Beauties

Joseph Cassara

NAMED A RECOMMENDED BOOK OF 2018 BY Buzzfeed • The Wall Street Journal • The Millions • Southern Living • Bustle • Esquire • Entertainment Weekly • Nylon • Mashable • Libary Journal • Thrillist“Cassaras’s propulsive and profound first novel, finding one’s home in the world—particularly in a subculture plagued by fear and intolerance from society—comes with tragedy as well as extraordinary pers... read more

NAMED A RECOMMENDED BOOK OF 2018 BY Buzzfeed • The Wall Street Journal • The Millions • Southern Living • Bustle • Esquire • Entertainment Weekly • Nylon • Mashable • Libary Journal • Thrillist“Cassaras’s propulsive and profound first novel, finding one’s home in the world—particularly in a subculture plagued by fear and intolerance from society—comes with tragedy as well as extraordinary pers... read more

That Kind of Mother

Rumaan Alam

NAMED A RECOMMENDED BOOK OF 2018 BY:Buzzfeed • The Boston Globe • The Millions • InStyle • Southern Living • Vogue • Popsugar • Kirkus • The Washington Post • Library Journal • Real Simple • NPR“With his unerring eye for nuance and unsparing sense of irony, Rumaan Alam’s second novel is both heartfelt and thought-provoking.” — Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires EverywhereFrom the bestselling a... read more

NAMED A RECOMMENDED BOOK OF 2018 BY:Buzzfeed • The Boston Globe • The Millions • InStyle • Southern Living • Vogue • Popsugar • Kirkus • The Washington Post • Library Journal • Real Simple • NPR“With his unerring eye for nuance and unsparing sense of irony, Rumaan Alam’s second novel is both heartfelt and thought-provoking.” — Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires EverywhereFrom the bestselling a... read more

Beautiful Country Burn Again

Ben Fountain

In a sweeping work of reportage set over the course of 2016, New York Times bestselling author Ben Fountain recounts a surreal year of politics and an exploration of the third American existential crisis Twice before in its history, the United States has been faced with a crisis so severe it was forced to reinvent itself in order to survive: first, the struggle over slavery, culminating in the... read more

In a sweeping work of reportage set over the course of 2016, New York Times bestselling author Ben Fountain recounts a surreal year of politics and an exploration of the third American existential crisis Twice before in its history, the United States has been faced with a crisis so severe it was forced to reinvent itself in order to survive: first, the struggle over slavery, culminating in the... read more

Word by Word

Kory Stamper

“We think of English as a fortress to be defended, but a better analogy is to think of English as a child. We love and nurture it into being, and once it gains gross motor skills, it starts going exactly where we don’t want it to go: it heads right for the goddamned electrical sockets.” With wit and irreverence, lexicographer Kory Stamper cracks open the obsessive world of dictionary writing, ... read more

“We think of English as a fortress to be defended, but a better analogy is to think of English as a child. We love and nurture it into being, and once it gains gross motor skills, it starts going exactly where we don’t want it to go: it heads right for the goddamned electrical sockets.” With wit and irreverence, lexicographer Kory Stamper cracks open the obsessive world of dictionary writing, ... read more

The Imagineers of War

Sharon Weinberger

The definitive history of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon agency that has quietly shaped war and technology for nearly sixty years.Founded in 1958 in response to the launch of Sputnik, the agency’s original mission was to create “the unimagined weapons of the future.” Over the decades, DARPA has been responsible for countless inventions and technologies that extend ... read more

The definitive history of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon agency that has quietly shaped war and technology for nearly sixty years.Founded in 1958 in response to the launch of Sputnik, the agency’s original mission was to create “the unimagined weapons of the future.” Over the decades, DARPA has been responsible for countless inventions and technologies that extend ... read more

Queen of Bebop

Elaine M. Hayes

Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2017Washington Post Best Book of 2017Amazon Editors' Top 100 Pick of the YearAmazon Best Humor and Entertainment Pick of the YearBooklist Top Ten Arts BookQueen of Bebop brilliantly chronicles the life of jazz singer Sarah Vaughan, one of the most influential and innovative musicians of the twentieth century and a pioneer of women’s and civil rightsSarah Vaughan,... read more

Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2017Washington Post Best Book of 2017Amazon Editors' Top 100 Pick of the YearAmazon Best Humor and Entertainment Pick of the YearBooklist Top Ten Arts BookQueen of Bebop brilliantly chronicles the life of jazz singer Sarah Vaughan, one of the most influential and innovative musicians of the twentieth century and a pioneer of women’s and civil rightsSarah Vaughan,... read more

Celine

Peter Heller

From the best-selling author of The Dog Stars and The Painter, a luminous, masterful novel of suspense--the story of Celine, an elegant, aristocratic private eye who specializes in reuniting families, trying to make amends for a loss in her own past. Working out of her jewel box of an apartment at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, Celine has made a career of tracking down missing persons, and s... read more

From the best-selling author of The Dog Stars and The Painter, a luminous, masterful novel of suspense--the story of Celine, an elegant, aristocratic private eye who specializes in reuniting families, trying to make amends for a loss in her own past. Working out of her jewel box of an apartment at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, Celine has made a career of tracking down missing persons, and s... read more

Bowlaway

Elizabeth McCracken

A sweeping and enchanting new novel from the widely beloved, award-winning author Elizabeth McCracken about three generations of an unconventional New England family who own and operate a candlepin bowling alleyFrom the day she is discovered unconscious in a New England cemetery at the turn of the twentieth century—nothing but a bowling ball, a candlepin, and fifteen pounds of gold on her pers... read more

A sweeping and enchanting new novel from the widely beloved, award-winning author Elizabeth McCracken about three generations of an unconventional New England family who own and operate a candlepin bowling alleyFrom the day she is discovered unconscious in a New England cemetery at the turn of the twentieth century—nothing but a bowling ball, a candlepin, and fifteen pounds of gold on her pers... read more

Census

Jesse Ball

NAMED A RECOMMENDED BOOK OF 2018 BY The New York Times • The Chicago Reader • Nylon • The Boston Globe • The Huffington Post • The Rumpus • The AV Club • Southern Living • The Millions • Buzzfeed • Esquire • Publishers WeeklyA powerful and moving new novel from an award-winning, acclaimed author: in the wake of a devastating revelation, a father and son journey north across a tapestry of towns... read more

NAMED A RECOMMENDED BOOK OF 2018 BY The New York Times • The Chicago Reader • Nylon • The Boston Globe • The Huffington Post • The Rumpus • The AV Club • Southern Living • The Millions • Buzzfeed • Esquire • Publishers WeeklyA powerful and moving new novel from an award-winning, acclaimed author: in the wake of a devastating revelation, a father and son journey north across a tapestry of towns... read more

Emma has 1 review

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

Pauls Toutonghi
Emma was wonderful to work with. I was (well, and remain) an anxious mess -- and she worked through it with calm and professionalism. Her letter was very detailed. It identified problems and offered some specific suggestions to fix them. The deeper structural problems she identified are obviously harder to fix, and kind of baked into the project -- so it's not a panacea -- but anything fixab...
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Pauls Toutonghi, September 2021

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