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 assessments for 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's] feedback was not only helpful, logical, and nuanced, but is derived from a fundamental understanding of my plot, characters, and overall vision. AND she did it all in a super concise and personable manner. So, yeah—she’s infuriatingly talented.”

- Mike Weir, author

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


Future Skinny

Rosch, P.

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 C.

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 T.

“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 W.

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, L.


Pelayo, C.

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, C.

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 27 reviews





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!!
Charles C.

Charles C.

Jan, 2023

I found Karmen's insight to be extremely helpful and I have no doubt it will drastically improve my novel. She made it clear what I did well and what could could use improvement. I also appreciate the fact that she didn't rush through it, and took the time to put together a well thought out assessment of my work. I would highly recommend her for any kind of edits you are looking for.
Summer R.

Summer R.

Aug, 2022

My experience working with Ms. Wells was altogether a positive one. Though we had some delays due to life, on both ends, overall she came through with a thorough and upbeat assessment of my debut novel. My one complaint may be for the amount charged when adding additional word count to the original quote- a surplus of 16,000+ words netted me an extra 600$ to my quote, which was more than half o...
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Joe B.

Joe B.

May, 2022

Karmen is exceptional. She guides the writer to realize flaws and solutions in the manuscript on both a micro and macro level. She also possesses the intangible quality that is much harder to learn--good taste. She steered my novel in a direction that had never occurred to me and made the characters and narrative so much stronger for it. In many ways, it feels as if she were a co-writer. It pa...
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