Karmen Wells

Karmen Wells – Editor

Previously of HarperCollins, working with Steven Hall, Jessica Westhead and more. I specialize in horror but bring confidence in all I edit.


“[Karmen] is a pro at recognizing and protecting the author's voice, one of the most vital aspects of editing.”

- Laurel Hightower, Bram Stoker-nominated author of Below and Crossroads


I had an amazing experience at HarperCollins Canada, providing editorial notes and championing many talented authors, including Steven Hall, Kate Eberlen, Dan Vyleta, Karen McBride, Jessica Westhead, Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott, Jeffrey Colvin, Owen Nicholls, and Alison Taylor. Working with both publishers and agents has groomed a fundamental understanding of what each is looking for and the best ways to entice them to read on. I'm thrilled to be able to use my editing skills and knowledge of the industry to help new authors develop their craft and elevate their work to a high standard.

As an editor, I prefer not to tell you what needs to change in your work, but rather I want to guide you to an understanding or spark an idea so that you can grow as a writer and continue to create better and better stories. Knowing what you did well is just as beneficial as knowing what needs to be improved, and you will hear both from me in my thorough editorial memos at each level of edit. I aim to guide writers to a polished manuscript or screenplay they can feel confident in bringing out into the world.

I'm most interested in working with my greatest love—the creepy, bizarre, and gory genre of horror! I'm a member of the Horror Writers Association and am passionate about assisting and promoting all writers whose stories confront the dark, bleak, and terrifying webs in the corners of our minds. But don't let that scare you off *wink* —I've worked with genres of all kinds, including character-driven literary and contemporary fiction, speculative fiction, and psychological thrillers.



“Karmen's intuition and well-rounded perspective of the publishing landscape makes her a tremendous asset as an editor.”

- Iris Tupholme, SVP and Publisher of HarperCollins Canada

“Karmen gives thoughtful, thorough, and personal feedback. She helped me dig deeper and was generous with her time and attention throughout the process. I absolutely hope to work with Karmen again in the future.”

- James Morosini, actor, filmmaker, writer of I Love My Dad, ScreenCraft Comedy Contest Winner

“Karmen’s insightful and encouraging editorial input was invaluable. Her suggestions vastly improved the story I was trying to tell, and her excitement about my work and faith in my abilities buoyed me up during the entire process. Any writer would be lucky to have her in their corner.”

- Jessica Westhead, author of Worry

"Karmen has an instinct for both character and craft that brings out the best a story can be. A total pro with a hard respect for the author's voice."

- Tim McGregor, author of Hearts Strange & Dreadful and Wasps in the Ice Cream

Contemporary Fiction Dystopian Horror Humor & Comedy Plays & Screenplays Post-Apocalyptic Psychological Thriller Steampunk
English (CAN) English (UK) English (US)
  • MA Journalism, Western University, 2014
  • Publishing Courses, Ryerson University, 2016

Work experience


Oct, 2019 — Present

I specialize in horror fiction but have worked with many genres, including literary fiction, science and speculative fiction, thrillers, and YA fantasy.
Editorial services include:
- manuscript evaluation
- substantive/structural editing
- proofreading and copyediting
- script consultation

HarperCollins Canada

Jun, 2018 — Aug, 2019 (about 1 year)

- provided editorial reports to the publisher on agent submissions and new drafts from authors
- assessed and line-edited fiction acquisitions
- provided editorial reviews to senior editors and championed talented authors such as Steven Hall, Kate Eberlen, Dan Vyleta, Karen McBride, Jessica Westhead, Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott, Jeffrey Colvin, Owen Nicholls, Alison Taylor, and Beatrice MacNeil
- launched titles to the sales, marketing, and publicity teams
- wrote cover copy and metadata
- liaised with authors, agents, freelancers, and other departments

The Rights Factory

Feb, 2018 — Jun, 2018 (4 months)

- edited manuscripts of clients
- evaluated manuscripts of potential clients through detailed editorial letters
- organized cross-country workshops

McClelland & Stewart, Penguin Random House Canada

Jan, 2017 — Apr, 2017 (3 months)

- curate titles best suited for IP development for film and TV
- pitch IP projects to production companies, studios, writers, directors, etc.

Western Report

Sep, 2013 — Apr, 2014 (7 months)

- assigned and edited weekly stories from journalism students
- wrote features stories
- copyedited and proofread final layout


The Final Women

Aujla, Pardeep

Future Skinny

Rosch, Peter

Maxwell's Demon

Steven Hall

This autumn, life is catching up with Thomas Quinn.Five years ago, his sometime friend Andrew Black wrote a mystery novel that sold a million copies and then disappeared. Now could it be that Quinn is being stalked by the hero of Black’s book? His wife, Imogen... read more

Jeffrey Colvin

For readers of Lawrence Hill and George Elliott Clarke, a ferociously talented writer makes his stunning debut with this richly woven tapestry. Set in the small Nova Scotia town of Africville, settled by former slaves, Jeffrey Colvin depicts several generation... read more

Alison Taylor

“Alison Taylor’s debut novel is a riveting exploration of two tough women, a mother and a daughter, on a separate but similar journey, to figure out who they want to be and how to love each other again.” —Zoe Whittall, author of Scotiabank Giller Prize finalis... read more

Jessica Westhead

A CBC BOOKS BEST FICTION BOOK OF THE YEARA riveting novel about a mother’s all-consuming worry for her child over forty-eight hours at a remote cottage with old friends and a mysterious neighbour, for fans of Little Fires Everywhere and Truly Madly GuiltyRuth ... read more

Hightower, Laurel


Pelayo, Cynthia

Earthly Bodies

Susan Earlam

It is 2058. Rebecca, a widow, receives an invitation to leave Earth and start over, but nature has evolved and is tagging along for the ride. Earthly Bodies is a dystopian eco-horror story that spans the ages, where strangers reveal their contribution to an ex... read more

Leunig, Christopher

The Girl He Left Behind

Beatrice MacNeil

Fifteen years ago, Willow Alexander was jilted at the altar by her high school sweetheart, Graham Currie, who left their wedding rehearsal the night before knowing he would not be returning the next day. Confused and devastated, Willow remains in the small tow... read more

Karmen has 30 reviews





Gregory A.

Gregory A.

Nov, 2023

Great experience. Karmen is intuitive and takes the time to understand my goals and offers strong advice on how to make them more evident in my writing.
brent D.

brent D.

Jul, 2023

Trust and Honesty. The most important thing to me, that you want in an editor, is honesty and a clear assessment. You don't want somebody who gives you what you WANT to hear, you need someone who gives you what you NEED to hear. Karmen gives you what you need to hear in a constructive, easygoing way. Her assessments are sharp-eyed, focused, and offer insightful questions that cut to the core...
Read more
Kat D.

Kat D.

Jun, 2023

Karmen gives valuable information and perspective. This is my first novel, so I truly appreciated her patience. She took time to thoroughly read the manuscript and could call attention to sections that needed refinement. She was available for questions after the edit to brainstorm which really helped. Thank you!
Will S.

Will S.

Jan, 2023

Karmen really helped me sculpt my story. Having implemented her suggestions I feel my piece now makes a lot more sense and I look forward to continuing to work with her to develop my manuscript.
Becks S.

Becks S.

Jan, 2023

Collaborating with Karmen was an absolute delight! Her astute and detailed editorial assessment helped me incredibly, both confirming points I knew that needed improvement but also pointing out some that I hadn't even thought about! Has put my novel in a much better position as a result and I'm very glad to have had Karmen's input. Thank you!!

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