Larissa Melo Pienkowski

Larissa Melo Pienkowski - Editor

Philadelphia, PA, USA

Queer Latine book editor, lit agent, and sensitivity reader with expertise in Own Voices literary fiction, genre fiction, MG, YA, and more.

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Overview

Hello and welcome! As a literary agent* and professional book editor, I bring years of expertise to both the craft of writing and the publishing industry as a whole. Within an editorial capacity, I have worked with traditionally and self-published authors—as well as publishers like Macmillan; St. Martin’s Press; Tor Books; Tor Teen; Soho Press; Sourcebooks; Little, Brown; Hub City Press; And Other Stories; Dottir Press; Barefoot Books; and others—across all book genres, though I do have a soft spot for literary fiction, light fantasy and magical realism, queer and non-Western horror, romance, women’s fiction, new adult, and middle-grade and YA fiction.

Prior to working in publishing, I earned my undergraduate degree in Social Work and Sociology at Simmons College, where I also wrote and performed poetry and edited a number of literary magazines. After earning my MA in Publishing and Writing from Emerson College, I began my career by working with the likes of Beacon Press, Barefoot Books, and Dottir Press, and I went on to develop years of experience in acquisitions, editorial, production, publicity, and marketing.

Across all genres: I offer authors and publishers:
• editorial assessments
• developmental editing
• copyediting
• sensitivity reading for certain identities and experiences
• proofreading for authors planning to self-publish already-copyedited manuscripts
• query letter reviews
• nonfiction book proposal reviews

As the daughter of Brazilian and Polish immigrants, a proud member of #LatinxinPub, and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I am especially committed to uplifting and preserving BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, disabled, neurodivergent, and other historically excluded voices and experiences in publishing, and I am passionate about editing books that authentically represent traditionally marginalized characters and experiences.

My experience as a former social worker informs much of my approach to editing, as I focus on illuminating different experiences with compassion, reverence, self-determination, and integrity. After I receive your query, I will work with you to learn more about your editorial needs and establish whether I will be a good fit for your work.

NEW! I offer all returning clients a 15% discount on future editorial services. For authors who would like to bundle more than one full editorial service at a time (e.g., booking a developmental edit and copyedit under the same agreement), I offer a 15% discount on the price of the second/last service. I prioritize flexibility when meeting authors’ needs, so please don't hesitate to ask about your options!

*Please note: I cannot offer literary representation to anyone with whom I work in an editorial capacity due to ethical and personal concerns.
Languages
English (US)
Fiction
Coming of Age
Contemporary Fiction
Cultural & Ethnic
LGBTQ Fiction
Literary Fiction
Middle Grade
Romance
Women's Fiction

Certifications

  • MA in Publishing and Writing, Emerson College
  • BSW in Social Work and Sociology, Simmons University

Awards

  • Bookbuilders of Boston Scholarship Recipient, 2019

Work experience

Literary Agent

Jill Grinberg Literary Management
April, 2020 – Present (about 2 years)

Assistant Publisher

Dottir Press
August, 2018 – Present (almost 4 years)

Fiction Editor

Hub City Press
December, 2020 – Present (over 1 year)

Freelance Editor

Tessera Editorial
January, 2020 – Present (over 2 years)

Freelance Editor

Self-employed
May, 2015 – Present (about 7 years)

Portfolio (36 selected works)

Winter's Orbit

Maxwell, Everina

Permafrost

Baltasar, Eva, Sanches, Julia

Must Love Books

Robinson, Shauna

The Crocodile Bride

Pedersen, Ashleigh Bell

Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness (Ordinary Terrible Things)

Anastasia Higginbotham

Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness is a a picture book that invites white children and parents to become curious about racism, accept that it's real, and cultivate justice. “Quite frankly, the first book I’ve seen that provides an honest explanation for kids about the state of race in America today.” ―Elizabeth Bird, librarian NAMED ONE OF SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL'S BEST BOOKS OF 2018 “A much-n... read more

Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness is a a picture book that invites white children and parents to become curious about racism, accept that it's real, and cultivate justice. “Quite frankly, the first book I’ve seen that provides an honest explanation for kids about the state of race in America today.” ―Elizabeth Bird, librarian NAMED ONE OF SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL'S BEST BOOKS OF 2018 “A much-n... read more

Now That We're Men: A Play and True Life Accounts of Boys, Sex & Power

Following up Slut, her explosive 2015 play and guidebook for combating sexism and sexual violence, Katie Cappiello turns her perceptive eyes and ears to the lived experiences of young men as they try on sexuality and masculinity. Compassionate and piercingly insightful, this play and guidebook razes rape culture, interrogates traditional notions of masculinity, and breeds accountability―withou... read more

Following up Slut, her explosive 2015 play and guidebook for combating sexism and sexual violence, Katie Cappiello turns her perceptive eyes and ears to the lived experiences of young men as they try on sexuality and masculinity. Compassionate and piercingly insightful, this play and guidebook razes rape culture, interrogates traditional notions of masculinity, and breeds accountability―withou... read more

What If My Dog Had Thumbs?

Mike Perry

Readers who have entertained existential questions about their pets will appreciate the absurd brainstorm. —PUBLISHERS WEEKLYLaugh out loud with Emmy-winning illustrator and author Mike Perry in this silly, whimsical children’s book that will send imaginations soaring.What would it be like if our narrator’s dog had thumbs? Would she still be lots of fun, or would she sometimes feel glum? Writt... read more

Readers who have entertained existential questions about their pets will appreciate the absurd brainstorm. —PUBLISHERS WEEKLYLaugh out loud with Emmy-winning illustrator and author Mike Perry in this silly, whimsical children’s book that will send imaginations soaring.What would it be like if our narrator’s dog had thumbs? Would she still be lots of fun, or would she sometimes feel glum? Writt... read more

Wakeful Night: A Structured Reflection On Loss and Illumination

Nicole Skibola

Nicole Skibola was 32 and a lawyer working in the New York start-up world when she received a diagnosis for a rare endometrial cancer. That surreal moment marked the beginning of a race to save eggs, to operate, and to mourn the loss of her reproductive organs. Echoing the urgency of diagnosis and treatment were the messages from everyone to move on, be grateful, resettle into the person she w... read more

Nicole Skibola was 32 and a lawyer working in the New York start-up world when she received a diagnosis for a rare endometrial cancer. That surreal moment marked the beginning of a race to save eggs, to operate, and to mourn the loss of her reproductive organs. Echoing the urgency of diagnosis and treatment were the messages from everyone to move on, be grateful, resettle into the person she w... read more

Ready, Set, Go!: Sports of All Sorts

Cortright, Celeste, Engel, Christiane

Dance Like a Leaf

Irving, A. J., Navarro, Claudia

A Place to Stay: A Shelter Story

Gunti, Erin, Meza, Esteli

IntersectionAllies: We Make Room for All

Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council, Carolyn Choi

The brainchild of three women-of-color sociologists, IntersectionAllies is a smooth, gleeful entry into intersectional feminism. The nine interconnected characters proudly describe themselves and their backgrounds, involving topics that range from a physical disability to language brokering, offering an opportunity to take pride in a personal story and connect to collective struggle for justic... read more

The brainchild of three women-of-color sociologists, IntersectionAllies is a smooth, gleeful entry into intersectional feminism. The nine interconnected characters proudly describe themselves and their backgrounds, involving topics that range from a physical disability to language brokering, offering an opportunity to take pride in a personal story and connect to collective struggle for justic... read more

Banshee

Rachel DeWoskin

In Banshee, Samantha Baxter―wife, mother, poetry professor―learns she has breast cancer and then ruins her own life. Tumbling through a catastrophic midlife crisis, she gives herself permission to partake in behaviors she’s observed in her male colleagues, including having an affair with a student her daughter’s age, ranting at board meetings, and telling her poetry students what she really th... read more

In Banshee, Samantha Baxter―wife, mother, poetry professor―learns she has breast cancer and then ruins her own life. Tumbling through a catastrophic midlife crisis, she gives herself permission to partake in behaviors she’s observed in her male colleagues, including having an affair with a student her daughter’s age, ranting at board meetings, and telling her poetry students what she really th... read more

Send Pics

Lauren McLaughlin

At first glance, the sleepy suburb of Jonesville, Massachusetts doesn't seem to have much going on. The teens at Jonesville High are itching for more, ready to escape the confines of suburbia and the cliché of classroom cliques⁠...but there's more to the story behind closed doors. Town darling and star athlete Tarkin Shaw reveals himself to be a predator who has used his privilege to prey upon... read more

At first glance, the sleepy suburb of Jonesville, Massachusetts doesn't seem to have much going on. The teens at Jonesville High are itching for more, ready to escape the confines of suburbia and the cliché of classroom cliques⁠...but there's more to the story behind closed doors. Town darling and star athlete Tarkin Shaw reveals himself to be a predator who has used his privilege to prey upon... read more

A Rhyme & a Reason

Ik Jagait

After his separation from his childhood sweetheart Mahi, the headstrong but heartbroken Indo, gets involved with Jasleen, the free-spirited daughter of a wealthy, domineering family. But just as their relationship begins to blossom, an unexpected turn of events brings chaos into their lives and intertwines Indo's past with his present.

After his separation from his childhood sweetheart Mahi, the headstrong but heartbroken Indo, gets involved with Jasleen, the free-spirited daughter of a wealthy, domineering family. But just as their relationship begins to blossom, an unexpected turn of events brings chaos into their lives and intertwines Indo's past with his present.

Tick Tock: Essays on Becoming a Parent After 40

Breitbart, Vicki, Bauer-Maglin, Nan

Pass with Care

Cooper Lee Bombardier

In this funny, lyrical, and piercingly insightful collection of essays and poems, trans writer, artist, and activist Cooper Lee Bombardier explores his experiences of gender and sexuality against the backdrop of early '90s, punk-fueled San Francisco queer culture.

In this funny, lyrical, and piercingly insightful collection of essays and poems, trans writer, artist, and activist Cooper Lee Bombardier explores his experiences of gender and sexuality against the backdrop of early '90s, punk-fueled San Francisco queer culture.

The Hill

Bryan, Ali

Quake: A Novel

Jónsdóttir, Auður, Matich, Meg

The Visitors

Stevens, Jessi Jezewska

Larissa has 28 reviews

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

Sabine Cherenfant
It was a pleasure working with Larissa. She is very thorough and cheerful. Her suggestions were very pertinent. I was struggling with implementing a love story in the novel, and I found the solution for it because of her notes and suggestions.

Sabine Cherenfant, June 2022

Larissa Melo Pienkowski
Thank you so much for your kind words, Sabine! I look forward to hopefully working with you again in the future.

Reply from Larissa Melo Pienkowski


Nancy Agabian
Larissa is a dedicated book professional. I asked her to write Back Cover Copy for my novel. Her marketing language is strong while also being literary. I appreciate her particular expertise in working with feminist books.

Nancy Agabian, April 2022

Larissa Melo Pienkowski
Thank you, Nancy! It was a pleasure working with you.

Reply from Larissa Melo Pienkowski


Valerie Kapp
Larissa has been very gracious in offering her experience and expertise to me on my writing journey. I appreciate her work and it has help me grow as a writer.

Valerie Kapp, April 2022

Larissa Melo Pienkowski
Thank you so much, Valerie!

Reply from Larissa Melo Pienkowski


Jo Mizuno
I was very happy with Larissa Melo Pienkowski's work on my novel. I reached out because I wanted someone to do a thorough read-through and tell me what worked and what didn't work about my novel. My writing group has considered parts of it, but not the whole thing. Larissa replied to my initial inquiry with follow-up questions that helped her figure out what I was looking for in editorial ser...
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Jo Mizuno, March 2022

Larissa Melo Pienkowski
Thank you for entrusting me with your work, Jo! I look forward to working together again in the future.

Reply from Larissa Melo Pienkowski


Alexander Casey
Larissa was absolutely wonderful to work with. From the first contact, she was easy to talk to, inviting, and excited about the work. I appreciated most of all the way she catered the edits to what I was specifically worried about rather than a one size fits all edit. She cut right to the heart of what I needed and certainly delivered when it was all through. Her feedback went above and beyond...
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Alexander Casey, January 2022

Larissa Melo Pienkowski
Thank you so much for your kind words, Alexander! Loved working with you and would love to do so again in the future. :)

Reply from Larissa Melo Pienkowski

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