Rachel Kowal

Rachel Kowal - Editor

New York, NY, USA

Professional mystery and literary fiction editor of seven years available for proofreading, copy-editing, developmental editing, and more.

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Overview

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, developmental 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.
Languages
English (US)
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
Fiction
Coming of Age
Literary Fiction
Mystery & Crime
Short Story
Thriller & Suspense
Young Adult

Certifications

  • Copy-editing and proofreading course at NYU

Work experience

Managing Editor

Soho Press
September, 2012 – Present (over 7 years)

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.

Portfolio (17 selected works)

An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good

Helene Tursten

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 that will keep you laughing all the way to the retirement home.Ever since her darling father's untimely death when she was only eighteen... 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 that will keep you laughing all the way to the retirement home.Ever since her darling father's untimely death when she was only eighteen... read more

Cold Storage, Alaska (A Cold Storage Novel Book 2)

John Straley

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 where you just might catch a King Salmon if you’re zen enough to wait for it. Settled in 1935 by Norse fishermen who liked to skinny dip in ... 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 where you just might catch a King Salmon if you’re zen enough to wait for it. Settled in 1935 by Norse fishermen who liked to skinny dip in ... read more

The Second Biggest Nothing (A Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery)

Colin Cotterill

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, 1980: For a man of his age and in his corner of the world, Dr. Siri, the 76-year-old former national coroner of Laos, is doing remarkably w... 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, 1980: For a man of his age and in his corner of the world, Dr. Siri, the 76-year-old former national coroner of Laos, is doing remarkably w... read more

More Happy Than Not

Adam Silvera

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 after his father's suicide, it's been tough for sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again—but he's still gunning for it. With th... 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 after his father's suicide, it's been tough for sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again—but he's still gunning for it. With th... read more

Rainbirds

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 receives news of his sister’s violent death. Keiko was stabbed one rainy night on her way home, and there are no leads. Ren heads to Akakawa to... read more

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 receives news of his sister’s violent death. Keiko was stabbed one rainy night on her way home, and there are no leads. Ren heads to Akakawa to... read more

Forensic Songs: Stories

Mike McCormack

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 of the night to play a video game. Two rural guards ponder the security threat posed by the only man in Ireland not to have written his... 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 of the night to play a video game. Two rural guards ponder the security threat posed by the only man in Ireland not to have written his... read more

Morte (War with No Name)

Robert Repino

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 this war is the Colony, a race of intelligent ants who, for thousands of years, have been silently building an army that would forever e... 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 this war is the Colony, a race of intelligent ants who, for thousands of years, have been silently building an army that would forever e... read more

Don't Eat Me (A Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery)

Colin Cotterill

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 Paiboun, the 75-year-old ex-national coroner of Laos, may have more experience dissecting bodies than making art, but now that he’s managed... 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 Paiboun, the 75-year-old ex-national coroner of Laos, may have more experience dissecting bodies than making art, but now that he’s managed... read more

Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live

Peter Orner

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—everywhere he finds himself: a hospital cafeteria, a coffee shop in Albania, or a crowded bus in Haiti. The result is “a book of unlearn... 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—everywhere he finds himself: a hospital cafeteria, a coffee shop in Albania, or a crowded bus in Haiti. The result is “a book of unlearn... 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 autobiographical novel, told by J, a woman who lives in a glass tower on one of Miami Beach’s lush Venetian Islands. After decades of disas... read more

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 autobiographical novel, told by J, a woman who lives in a glass tower on one of Miami Beach’s lush Venetian Islands. After decades of disas... read more

Innocence; or, Murder on Steep Street

Heda Margolius Kovály

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 neighbor is spying for the government, or what one’s supposed friend will say under pressure to a State Security agent. A loyal Party member ... 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 neighbor is spying for the government, or what one’s supposed friend will say under pressure to a State Security agent. A loyal Party member ... 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 Haitian village to New York to be reunited with a mother she barely remembers. There she discovers secrets that no child should ever know, an... read more

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 Haitian village to New York to be reunited with a mother she barely remembers. There she discovers secrets that no child should ever know, an... read more

A Tree or a Person or a Wall: Stories

Matt Bell

“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 bring about the Second Coming. A man with rough hands locks a boy in a room with an albino ape. An apocalyptic army falls under a veil of fo... 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 bring about the Second Coming. A man with rough hands locks a boy in a room with an albino ape. An apocalyptic army falls under a veil of fo... 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 rumination on the hopeful power of story and a harrowing insight into modern America. It is a book you won’t soon forget.Seventeen-year-o... read more

"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 rumination on the hopeful power of story and a harrowing insight into modern America. It is a book you won’t soon forget.Seventeen-year-o... read more

Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know

Samira Ahmed

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 long defined by men. It’s August in Paris and 17-year-old Khayyam Maquet—American, French, Indian, Muslim—is at a crossroads. This holiday... 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 long defined by men. It’s August in Paris and 17-year-old Khayyam Maquet—American, French, Indian, Muslim—is at a crossroads. This holiday... 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 family and became engaged to Andrew, the father. Five months later, an ultrasound revealed that her child would be born with a constellation ... read more

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 family and became engaged to Andrew, the father. Five months later, an ultrasound revealed that her child would be born with a constellation ... read more

Winter Grave (An Embla Nyström Investigation)

Helene Tursten

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, suspicion falls on the last person she was seen with: the mentally disabled teenage boy who gave her a ride home after school. Complicating th... read 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, suspicion falls on the last person she was seen with: the mentally disabled teenage boy who gave her a ride home after school. Complicating th... read more

Rachel has 2 reviews

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

Alicia Sleyster Schmidt
I was very impressed with Rachel's work. She was professional, and worth every penny I spent. I would absolutely work with her again.

Alicia Sleyster Schmidt, March 2020


Elizabeth Wilkerson
Rachel was a joy to work with. I had a really tight turnaround time for a story edit. Rachel stepped up and went above and beyond in providing insightful comments (sprinkled with humor) and extensive notes. All in blazing fast speed. I lucked out in finding Rachel, and I look forward to working with her again!

Elizabeth Wilkerson, February 2020

Rachel Kowal
Thanks, Liz! I enjoyed working with you on your story. Please do feel free to reach out in the future.

Reply from Rachel Kowal

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