Jon Darga

Jon Darga - Editor

New York, NY, USA

I'm an agent at Aevitas and a former editor at Penguin Random House who's looking forward to helping you through any stage of your book.

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Overview

I'm an agent at Aevitas Creative Management and a former editor at Penguin Random House with experience editing across genres, from award-winning nonfiction (the revised and updated paperback for Sheri Fink's FIVE DAYS AT MEMORIAL; Holger Hoock's SCARS OF INDEPENDENCE; Damion Searls' THE INKBLOTS; Christian Di Spigna's FOUNDING MARTYR) to bestselling genre fiction (Krysten Ritter's BONFIRE) to celebrity memoir (Sarah McBride's TOMORROW WILL BE DIFFERENT) and poetry (Nico Tortorella's all of it is you.). You can find more details on the books I've edited below, and I'm happy to discuss or answer any questions about my involvement with them.

I'm here to help you develop your manuscript in any way that would be helpful, across any stage of development. I've provided longer editorial letters detailing a complete restructure and revision of a book. I've provided shorter editorial letters to accompany in-text comment bubbles about where character development or world-building could be fleshed out. I've done final passes of manuscripts making line-edits in track changes to make sure that the language is polished and sings. And everything in-between, including tweaking query letters and agent submissions. If you're unsure what stage your manuscript is in, I'd love to read it and have a conversation about what might best serve you and your manuscript.

Please note that my services as a freelance editor are separate from my day job -- that is, any project that I review or edit as a freelancer I cannot consider for representation in order to avoid any implied "pay for play." What I can do is give you an expert and insider perspective on how to optimize your manuscript or query materials to draw the attention of other agents!
Languages
English (US)
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
Entertainment
History
LGBTQ (non fiction)
Fiction
Fantasy
Literary Fiction
Mystery & Crime
Thriller & Suspense

Certifications

  • Columbia Publishing Course (2014)

Awards

  • Penguin Random House Recognition Award (2016 & 2018)

Work experience

Agent

Aevitas Creative Management
June, 2019 – Present (about 1 year)

Assistant Editor

Penguin Random House
February, 2015 – May, 2019 (about 4 years)

•Acquire books for Crown, a division of Random House
•Edit manuscripts, providing feedback both macro (editorial letters) and micro (line-editing documents)
•Reach out to potential authors and collaborate to develop book ideas for publication
•Provide feedback on every stage of publication, from cover design to marketing and publicity plans
•Evaluate proposals and draft rejection letters, acquisitions materials and P&Ls
•Liaise between authors, agents and in-house departments

Assistant to Executive Director of Foreign Rights

The Park Literary Group (now Park & Fine Literary and Media)
September, 2014 – February, 2015 (5 months)

•Evaluated submissions and manuscripts, providing rejection letters or editorial feedback as needed
• Wrote and edited pitches and copy
• Designed and compiled rights guides for book fairs

Portfolio (13 selected works)

La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World

Dianne Hales

From the New York Times bestselling author knighted by the President of Italy for her writing, a jubilant exploration of how Italy transformed the Western world's most vibrant passions -- from literature to art, music to movies. No country has matched Italy’s impact on culture. Just think of painting without Leonardo, opera without Verdi, fashion without Armani, food without the signature tast... read more

From the New York Times bestselling author knighted by the President of Italy for her writing, a jubilant exploration of how Italy transformed the Western world's most vibrant passions -- from literature to art, music to movies. No country has matched Italy’s impact on culture. Just think of painting without Leonardo, opera without Verdi, fashion without Armani, food without the signature tast... read more

Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution's Lost Hero

Christian Di Spigna

A rich and illuminating biography of America’s forgotten Founding Father, the patriot physician and major general who fomented rebellion and died heroically at the battle of Bunker Hill on the brink of revolutionLittle has been known of one of the most important figures in early American history, Dr. Joseph Warren, an architect of the colonial rebellion, and a man who might have led the countr... read more

A rich and illuminating biography of America’s forgotten Founding Father, the patriot physician and major general who fomented rebellion and died heroically at the battle of Bunker Hill on the brink of revolutionLittle has been known of one of the most important figures in early American history, Dr. Joseph Warren, an architect of the colonial rebellion, and a man who might have led the countr... read more

Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality

Sarah McBride

"A brave, powerful memoir." —PEOPLEA captivating memoir that will change the way we look at identity and equality in this country Before she became the first transgender person to speak at a national political convention in 2016 at the age of twenty-six, Sarah McBride struggled with the decision to come out—not just to her family but to the students of American University, where she was servin... read more

"A brave, powerful memoir." —PEOPLEA captivating memoir that will change the way we look at identity and equality in this country Before she became the first transgender person to speak at a national political convention in 2016 at the age of twenty-six, Sarah McBride struggled with the decision to come out—not just to her family but to the students of American University, where she was servin... read more

all of it is you.: poetry

Nico Tortorella

A debut poetry collection from actor Nico Tortorella exploring “all of it,” from the smallest cells in our bodies to the outer limits of our universe. Nico Tortorella's debut poetry collection presents a singular voice honed through years as an actor, podcaster, and advocate, one colored with love, wonder, and endless curiosity. But it is also more than just words on a page – it is a sensuous ... read more

A debut poetry collection from actor Nico Tortorella exploring “all of it,” from the smallest cells in our bodies to the outer limits of our universe. Nico Tortorella's debut poetry collection presents a singular voice honed through years as an actor, podcaster, and advocate, one colored with love, wonder, and endless curiosity. But it is also more than just words on a page – it is a sensuous ... read more

Bonfire: A Novel

Krysten Ritter

“A phenomenal, haunting debut.” —GILLIAN FLYNN, bestselling author of Gone Girl"I burned through Krysten Ritter's hugely accomplished debut. Bonfire is dark, disturbing, and compulsively readable."—RUTH WARE, bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 Nothing burns as bright as the truth.It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible... read more

“A phenomenal, haunting debut.” —GILLIAN FLYNN, bestselling author of Gone Girl"I burned through Krysten Ritter's hugely accomplished debut. Bonfire is dark, disturbing, and compulsively readable."—RUTH WARE, bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 Nothing burns as bright as the truth.It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible... read more

The Darker the Night, the Brighter the Stars: A Neuropsychologist's Odyssey Through Consciousness

Paul Broks

When celebrated neuropsychologist Paul Broks's wife died of cancer, it sparked a journey of grief and reflection that traced a lifelong attempt to understand how the brain gives rise to the soul. The result of that journey is a gorgeous, evocative meditation on fate, death, consciousness, and what it means to be human. The Darker the Night, The Brighter the Stars weaves a scientist’s understan... read more

When celebrated neuropsychologist Paul Broks's wife died of cancer, it sparked a journey of grief and reflection that traced a lifelong attempt to understand how the brain gives rise to the soul. The result of that journey is a gorgeous, evocative meditation on fate, death, consciousness, and what it means to be human. The Darker the Night, The Brighter the Stars weaves a scientist’s understan... read more

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

Sheri Fink

Pulitzer Prize winner Sheri Fink’s landmark investigation of patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina – and her suspenseful portrayal of the quest for truth and justice.In the tradition of the best investigative journalism, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs 5 days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the reader into the lives of those who struggled mig... read more

Pulitzer Prize winner Sheri Fink’s landmark investigation of patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina – and her suspenseful portrayal of the quest for truth and justice.In the tradition of the best investigative journalism, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs 5 days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the reader into the lives of those who struggled mig... read more

The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing

Damion Searls

An NPR Best Book of the YearA New York Post Best Book of the YearA Times Thought Book of the YearAn Irish Independent Best Book of the YearThe captivating, untold story of Hermann Rorschach and his famous inkblot test In 1917, working alone in a remote Swiss asylum, psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach devised an experiment to probe the human mind: a set of ten carefully designed inkblots. For years... read more

An NPR Best Book of the YearA New York Post Best Book of the YearA Times Thought Book of the YearAn Irish Independent Best Book of the YearThe captivating, untold story of Hermann Rorschach and his famous inkblot test In 1917, working alone in a remote Swiss asylum, psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach devised an experiment to probe the human mind: a set of ten carefully designed inkblots. For years... read more

Braving It: A Father, a Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey into the Alaskan Wild

James Campbell

The powerful and affirming story of a father's journey with his teenage daughter to the far reaches of Alaska Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, home to only a handful of people, is a harsh and lonely place. So when James Campbell’s cousin Heimo Korth asked him to spend a summer building a cabin in the rugged Interior, Campbell hesitated about inviting his fifteen-year-old daughter, Aid... read more

The powerful and affirming story of a father's journey with his teenage daughter to the far reaches of Alaska Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, home to only a handful of people, is a harsh and lonely place. So when James Campbell’s cousin Heimo Korth asked him to spend a summer building a cabin in the rugged Interior, Campbell hesitated about inviting his fifteen-year-old daughter, Aid... read more

Jon has 25 reviews

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

Pamela Sampson
I had an excellent experience with Jon. He delivers razor-sharp feedback and suggestions; he really knows his stuff. I highly recommend him.

Pamela Sampson, June 2020


Diane Black
Jon is truly exceptional! I had high expectations but he somehow managed to exceed them. He has a talent for seeing the big picture while at the same time not missing the smallest details. He gave me a lot to think about and he pointed out some things that are an absolute game changer!

Diane Black, June 2020


Marc Jameson
Jon reviewed my query letter. He gave me a wealth of thoughtful and practical advice that really improved the letter. He went above and beyond, working to understand my vision and to help me express it in a way that was both true to the work and attuned to the market. He answered my follow up questions and was always deliberate about the changes he proposed. Thanks a lot Jon.

Marc Jameson, May 2020


Sian Staley
What can I say about Jon? The fact that I chose him for three separate projects should speak loudly. I love his meticulousness, his eye for enhancing tension, his upbeat personality, and his investment in each project. I’m entirely grateful for this collaboration. He’s a wonderful editor and teacher. And what a fun journey!

Sian Staley, May 2020


Samantha Hartford
Jon was unfailingly upbeat and patient (despite the multitude of questions I had about developmental editing). He explained everything about the process and on top of that, his feedback about my work was very useful. Revision can be daunting, but Jon was incredibly supportive, and I'm happy with the way things turned out. Would highly recommend!

Samantha Hartford, April 2020

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