Rachel Kowal

Rachel Kowal – Editor

Professional mystery and literary fiction editor of eight years available for proofreading, copyediting, line editing, and more.


I've edited dozens of critically acclaimed books in a variety of genres for both Soho Press, where I've worked as the managing editor since 2012, and for other publishers and individuals. Before that, I worked at the infamous Strand Bookstore in New York for four years, where I spent my days surrounded by amazing works of literature. As an editor of seven years, I know when to gently push a writer to dig deeper and when to step back and let their prose and individual style shine. I'd love to help craft your story and bring it to a wider audience.

I specialize in mysteries, literary novels, memoirs, short stories, and YA books, and I provide services in proofreading, copy-editing, line editing, and more. If you aren't sure which of these things may be best for your project, don't hesitate to drop me a note and tell me about what you're working on and where you are in the process. Then, together, we can talk about how I can be most helpful. I look forward to hearing from you.
Biographies & Memoirs
Coming of Age Literary Fiction Mystery & Crime Thriller & Suspense Young Adult
English (US)
  • Copy-editing and proofreading course at NYU

Work experience

Soho Press

Sep, 2012 — Present

As the managing editor, I'm the bridge between editorial and production, and I have a number of responsibilities in each department. I edit 3-4 novels a year, manage our production schedule, oversee our freelance proofreaders and copy editors, write book copy, work closely with authors, input interior changes in inDesign, inspect epubs, and more.


In this thrilling mystery set in rural Sweden, Detective Inspector Embla Nyström must solve a murder case and find two missing children before the small town takes matters into their own hands. When a little girl disappears a few weeks before Christmas, suspic... read more
Poor Your Soul

Mira Ptacin

Poor Your Soul—moving, wise, and passionately written—is a beautiful reflection on sexuality, free will, and the fierce bonds of family.At twenty-eight, Mira Ptacin discovered she was pregnant. Though it was unplanned, she embraced the idea of starting a famil... read more
Told in alternating narratives that bridge centuries, the latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Samira Ahmed traces the lives of two young women fighting to write their own stories and escape the pressure of cultural expectations in worlds too lo... read more
Opioid, Indiana

Brian Allen Carr

"Full of gorgeous language and wild insights."—Nick FlynnSet in the beleaguered heart of Indiana’s opioid crisis, Brian Allen Carr’s timely and tender novel about a teen struggling to find his place in the world—and come up with $800 rent—is at once a moving r... read more
“Blurs the often fine lines between literary and genre fictions, allegory and horror, magical realism and bizarro . . . An unforgettable reading experience” (The New York Journal of Books). A nineteenth-century minister builds an elaborate motor that will brin... read more
Breath, Eyes, Memory

Edwidge Danticat

The 20th anniversary edition of Edwidge Danticat's groundbreaking debut, now an established classic--revised and with a new introduction by the author, and including extensive bonus materialsAt the age of twelve, Sophie Caco is sent from her impoverished Haiti... read more
This rediscovered masterpiece captures a chilling moment in the stifling early days of Communist Czechoslovakia. 1950s Prague is a city of numerous daily terrors, of political tyranny, corruption and surveillance. There is no way of knowing whether one’s neigh... read more
Nine Island

Jane Alison

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2016“Nine Island is a crackling incantation, brittle and brilliant and hot and sad and full of sideways humor that devastates and illuminates all at once.” —Lauren Groff, author of Fates and FuriesNine Island is an intimate aut... read more
A National Book Critics Circle Award finalist in Criticism “Stories, both my own and those I’ve taken to heart, make up whoever it is that I’ve become,” Peter Orner writes in this collection of essays about reading, writing, and living. Orner reads—and writes—... read more
Between getting into a tangle with a corrupt local judge, and discovering a disturbing black-market business, Dr. Siri and Inspector Phosy have their hands full in the thirteenth installment of Colin Cotterill's quirky, critically acclaimed series.Dr. Siri Pai... read more
After the “war with no name” a cat assassin searches for his lost love in Repino’s strange, moving sci-fi epic that channels both Homeward Bound and A Canticle for Lebowitz.The “war with no name” has begun, with human extinction as its goal. The instigator of ... read more
This story collection by a Man Booker Prize nominee “effortlessly weaves Raymond Carver’s lucidity together with Franz Kafka’s otherworldly absurdity” (Library Journal, starred review). Amid much hollow laughter, a prisoner is drawn from his cell in the middle... read more

Clarissa Goenawan

Set in an imagined town outside Tokyo, Clarissa Goenawan’s dark, spellbinding literary debut follows a young man’s path to self-discovery in the wake of his sister’s murder. Ren Ishida has nearly completed his graduate degree at Keio University when he receive... read more
In his twisty, gritty, profoundly moving New York Times bestselling-debut—also called “mandatory reading” and selected as an Editors' Choice by the New York Times—Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx.In the months af... read more
In this dark, quirky fourteenth Dr. Siri Paiboun mystery set in Communist Laos in the early '80s, a death threat sends Dr. Siri down memory lane, from Paris in the ’30s to war-torn Vietnam in the ’70s, to figure out who's trying to kill him now. Vientiane, 198... read more
An offbeat, often hilarious crime novel set in the sleepy Alaskan town of Cold Storage from the Shamus Award winning author of the Cecil Younger series. Cold Storage, Alaska, is a remote fishing outpost where salmonberries sparkle in the morning frost and wher... read more
Maud is an irascible 88-year-old Swedish woman with no family, no friends, and... no qualms about a little murder. This funny, irreverent story collection by Helene Tursten, author of the Irene Huss investigations, features two-never-before translated stories ... read more

Rachel has 12 reviews





Mark C.

Mark C.

Apr, 2023

I've worked with a number of copy editors over the years and I can say that Rachel's work was absolutely top tier. She is thorough, knowledgeable, tactful but honest, and prompt. I recommend her unreservedly and would definitely work with her again.
Maryellen K.

Maryellen K.

Aug, 2022

Rachel was very helpful through my final round of edits after I received feedback from an agent. She was timely and helpful— she read both my old manuscript and my updated manuscript to see everything I had changed! I recommend Rachel for any editing or revision process for authors.
Jack L.

Jack L.

Jan, 2022

It was a real pleasure working with Rachel on my latest book. She was super professional and proactive all the way through. Rachel’s edit was full of ideas and suggestions, none of which felt like teacherly scolding :) It all felt more like a happy collaboration with someone who I’d be happy to have a drink with and talk about literature and criminal activity. A good thing since the book is abo...
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Nikki S.

Nikki S.

Oct, 2021

Rachael was easy to work with. She knows a lot about Chicago Manual of Style, which I greatly appreciated. She definitely left me with more knowledge and some style things to think about!
Chris O.

Chris O.

Jun, 2021

Rachel is a delight to work with. We actually worked on two items (a query letter and line editing of a mystery novel). Rachel met or preceded her deadlines, provided clear feedback, and reminded me why hiring an editor is better than relying on one's self to do all the proofing. (Note: I do have a degree in English and use Grammarly to help spot mistakes. Neither are a replacement for a season...
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