Karmen Wells

Karmen Wells - Editor

Winnipeg, MB, Canada

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

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Overview

“Karmen's enthusiasm for the books we publish and her passionate championship for our authors was inspiring. Her good humour and keen interest were greatly appreciated, and her intuition and well-rounded perspective of the publishing landscape make her a tremendous asset as an editor.”
- Iris Tupholme, SVP and Publisher of HarperCollins Canada


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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, Alison Taylor, and Beatrice MacNeil. 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 to 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. My goal is 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.

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--Testimonials--

“Karmen’s insightful and encouraging editorial input on my novel Worry, both as an assistant to my literary agent and then as an editor at HarperCollins Canada, 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 honestly, that sort of critique is utterly invaluable. AND she did it all in a super concise and personable manner. So, yeah--she's infuriatingly talented."
-
Mike Weir, author


“Karmen’s insight into the horror genre is immense. She helped me mine untapped wells of suspense that had been effectively sitting under my nose in my script. Working with the rules and situations that had already been established in the screenplay, she was able to find ways to significantly elevate the tension and further improve the story as a whole.”
- Skye Braband, screenwriter


Languages
English (CAN)
English (UK)
English (US)
Fiction
Contemporary Fiction
Horror
Plays & Screenplays
Psychological Thriller

Certifications

  • MA Journalism, Western University, 2014
  • Publishing Courses, Ryerson University, 2016

Work experience

Book & Screenplay Editor

Self-employed
October, 2019 – Present (8 months)

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
- query letter guidance

Assistant Editor

HarperCollins Canada
June, 2018 – August, 2019 (about 1 year)

- provided editorial reports to the publisher on agent submissions and new drafts from authors
- 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

Editor and Agent Assistant

The Rights Factory
February, 2018 – June, 2018 (4 months)

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

Editorial Intern

McClelland & Stewart, Penguin Random House Canada
January, 2017 – April, 2017 (3 months)

- reader reports on agent submissions and slush
- proofread and copyedit novels in production
- write cover copy

Editor

Western Report
September, 2013 – April, 2014 (7 months)

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

Portfolio (5 selected works)

Worry

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 is the fiercely protective mother of almost-four-year-old Fern. Together they visit a remote family cottage belonging to Stef, the woman... read more

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 is the fiercely protective mother of almost-four-year-old Fern. Together they visit a remote family cottage belonging to Stef, the woman... read more

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 town of Glenmor in Cape Breton, caring for her ailing parents and nursing her heartache. What no one knows is that Willow lost more than he... read more

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 town of Glenmor in Cape Breton, caring for her ailing parents and nursing her heartache. What no one knows is that Willow lost more than he... read more

Aftershock

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 finalist The Best Kind of PeopleShared trauma has driven them a world apart; they will need to find each other again to begin to heal Nightmare... read more

“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 finalist The Best Kind of PeopleShared trauma has driven them a world apart; they will need to find each other again to begin to heal Nightmare... read more

Africville

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 generations of one family bound together and torn apart by blood, faith, time and fate.A richly woven story, structured as a triptych, Africville ... read more

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 generations of one family bound together and torn apart by blood, faith, time and fate.A richly woven story, structured as a triptych, Africville ... read more

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, usually has the answers but she’s working on the other side of the world and talking to her on webcam just isn’t the same. Quinn find... read more

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, usually has the answers but she’s working on the other side of the world and talking to her on webcam just isn’t the same. Quinn find... read more

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