Lisa Kaufman

Lisa Kaufman - Editor

New York, NY, United States

Editor & book consultant with 30 + years' experience working for major trade publishers in NYC. Narrative nonfiction is my forte.

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Overview

Drawing on thirty years’ experience as a book editor and marketing executive for major trade book publishers in New York, and a decade-plus teaching creative writing, I help writers shape ideas and words for maximum impact. Editorial services include proposal and manuscript evaluation, developmental and line editing, and proposal development. I also work with writers at earlier stages of book development to provide guidance and advice, elicit and shape material, and coach progress.

Authors with whom I've worked to craft compelling books for general readers include investigative journalists, historians, psychologists, doctors, professors, and public figures; among them are former Washington Post executive editor Len Downie Jr., renowned psychologist and author Irvin Yalom, actor/comedian Richard Lewis, musician Joe Jackson, former White House presidential spokesman Scott McClellan, journalists Letty Cottin Pogrebin and Lynn Povich, and global public health pioneer Paul Farmer.

My approach to editing and content development is informed by my expertise in book marketing. I know what publishers look for in acquiring books, what they need to sell them to colleagues and consumers, and how to help authors develop book proposals and manuscripts that deliver.
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
Health & wellbeing
History
Humanities & Social Sciences
Political Science & Current Affairs
Psychology

Work experience

Freelance Editor and Book Marketing Consultant

Self-Employed
December, 2014 – Present (over 5 years)

I provide a full range of editorial and marketing services to book publishers, literary agents, and individual authors, including manuscript and proposal evaluation, proposal development, conceptual and structural editing, line editing, and writing instruction/ coaching.

Clients include Basic Books, Bold Type/Nation Books, PublicAffairs, Portfolio/Current, DaCapo Lifelong, Running Press, and Seal Press; authors developing books for SoundsTrue, Cambridge University Press, and Skyhorse; as well as PR firm RFBinder, the Open Society Institute, the Center for the Study of Affect Regulation, All In Solutions Counseling Center, The Narrative Trust, and individual agents and authors.

V.P. Marketing Director & Senior Editor

PublicAffairs
September, 1997 – November, 2014 (about 17 years)

I helped to found and provided creative direction for this 'small but noisy' independent nonfiction trade book publishing company for 17 years, while also acquiring and editing books. Books I've acquired and/or edited have been New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and regional bestsellers; and winners of and finalists for the Overseas Press Club, Helen Bernstein, Ralph Gleason, Action Against Hunger, Harry Chapin, and Books for a Better Life awards; among others.

Senior Editor

Carol Publishing Group
November, 1996 – June, 1997 (7 months)

Acquiring editor for a now-defunct, pop-culture-oriented publisher. Specialized in self-help, spirituality, quiz books and travel guides.

Senior Manager, Advertising & Promotion

Viking Penguin
July, 1992 – August, 1995 (about 3 years)

Managed copywriting for and production of all annual catalogs, consumer ads, and promotional materials for Viking and Penguin imprints, and cover copywriting for all Penguin paperbacks. Wrote Penguin Classics reading group guides cited by booksellers as the best available from any publisher (Publishers Weekly).

Editor

Viking Penguin
September, 1988 – April, 1990 (over 1 year)

Acquired and edited books in diverse genres for both hardcover and paperback imprints, with particular responsibility for mysteries. Some of my favorites: Feature Filmmaking at Used Car Prices (in print for 20+ years in two editions) by indie filmmaker Rick Schmidt and Rock Critic Murders by Austin-based rock guitarist Jesse Sublett.

Associate Editor

Viking Penguin
May, 1986 – September, 1988 (over 2 years)

Editorial Assistant to the Associate Publisher

Random House
December, 1984 – May, 1986 (over 1 year)

Worked on books including ABC news anchor Sam Donaldson's "Hold on, Mr. President!" Alan Dershowitz's "Reversal of Fortune: Inside the von Bulow Case," and "Torture in Brazil", a report by the Archdiocese of Sao Paulo.

Project Assistant to James A. Michener

University of Texas
November, 1982 – December, 1984 (about 2 years)

Assisted the internationally bestselling author during the writing of his novel Texas.

Portfolio (23 selected works)

In That Time: Michael O'Donnell and the Tragic Era of Vietnam

Daniel H. Weiss

Through the story of the brief, brave life of a promising poet, the president and CEO of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art evokes the turmoil and tragedy of the Vietnam War eraIn That Time tells the story of the American experience in Vietnam through the life of Michael O'Donnell, a promising young poet who became a soldier and helicopter pilot in Vietnam. O'Donnell wrote with great sensit... read more

Through the story of the brief, brave life of a promising poet, the president and CEO of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art evokes the turmoil and tragedy of the Vietnam War eraIn That Time tells the story of the American experience in Vietnam through the life of Michael O'Donnell, a promising young poet who became a soldier and helicopter pilot in Vietnam. O'Donnell wrote with great sensit... read more

The Compatriots: The Brutal and Chaotic History of Russia's Exiles, Émigrés, and Agents Abroad

Andrei Soldatov, Irina Borogan

The authors of The Red Web examine the shifting role of Russian expatriates throughout history, and their complicated, unbreakable relationship with the mother country---be it antagonistic or far too chummy.From the time of the tsars to the waning days of Communist regime, Russian leaders tried to control the flow of ideas by controlling its citizens' movements. They believed strict limits on ... read more

The authors of The Red Web examine the shifting role of Russian expatriates throughout history, and their complicated, unbreakable relationship with the mother country---be it antagonistic or far too chummy.From the time of the tsars to the waning days of Communist regime, Russian leaders tried to control the flow of ideas by controlling its citizens' movements. They believed strict limits on ... read more

The Invention of Yesterday: A 50,000-Year History of Human Culture, Conflict, and Connection

Tamim Ansary

A sweeping global human history that describes the separate beginnings of the world's major cultural movements - Confuscianism, Islam, Judeo-Christianity and Nomadism - and the dramatic, sometimes ruinous, sometimes transformative effects of their ever closer intertwinement that is the defining feature of our world today.Forty thousand years ago, the human species existed as thousands of small... read more

A sweeping global human history that describes the separate beginnings of the world's major cultural movements - Confuscianism, Islam, Judeo-Christianity and Nomadism - and the dramatic, sometimes ruinous, sometimes transformative effects of their ever closer intertwinement that is the defining feature of our world today.Forty thousand years ago, the human species existed as thousands of small... read more

Illegal: How America's Lawless Immigration Regime Threatens Us All

Elizabeth F. Cohen

A political scientist explains how the American immigration system ran off the rails -- and proposes a bold plan for reform Under the Trump administration, US immigration agencies terrorize the undocumented, target people who are here legally, and even threaten the constitutional rights of American citizens. How did we get to this point? In Illegal, Elizabeth F. Cohen reveals that our current ... read more

A political scientist explains how the American immigration system ran off the rails -- and proposes a bold plan for reform Under the Trump administration, US immigration agencies terrorize the undocumented, target people who are here legally, and even threaten the constitutional rights of American citizens. How did we get to this point? In Illegal, Elizabeth F. Cohen reveals that our current ... read more

What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception

Scott McClellan

In the bestselling book that provoked a media sensation, former White House press secretary Scott McClellan takes readers behind the scenes of the presidency of George W. Bush. Scott McClellan was one of a few Bush loyalists from Texas who became part of his inner circle of trusted advisers, and remained so during one of the most challenging and contentious periods of recent history. Drawn to ... read more

In the bestselling book that provoked a media sensation, former White House press secretary Scott McClellan takes readers behind the scenes of the presidency of George W. Bush. Scott McClellan was one of a few Bush loyalists from Texas who became part of his inner circle of trusted advisers, and remained so during one of the most challenging and contentious periods of recent history. Drawn to ... read more

How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick

Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Everyone knows someone who's sick or suffering. Yet when a friend or relative is under duress many of us feel uncertain about how to cope.Throughout her recent bout with breast cancer, Letty Cottin Pogrebin became fascinated by her friends' and family's diverse reactions to her and her illness: how awkwardly some of them behaved; how some misspoke or misinterpreted her needs; and how wonderful... read more

Everyone knows someone who's sick or suffering. Yet when a friend or relative is under duress many of us feel uncertain about how to cope.Throughout her recent bout with breast cancer, Letty Cottin Pogrebin became fascinated by her friends' and family's diverse reactions to her and her illness: how awkwardly some of them behaved; how some misspoke or misinterpreted her needs; and how wonderful... read more

Detroit Hustle: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Home

Amy Haimerl

Journalist Amy Haimerl and her husband had been priced out of their Brooklyn neighborhood. Seeing this as a great opportunity to start over again, they decide to cash in their savings and buy an abandoned house for 35,000 in Detroit, the largest city in the United States to declare bankruptcy.As she and her husband restore the 1914 Georgian Revival, a stately brick house with no plumbing, no h... read more

Journalist Amy Haimerl and her husband had been priced out of their Brooklyn neighborhood. Seeing this as a great opportunity to start over again, they decide to cash in their savings and buy an abandoned house for 35,000 in Detroit, the largest city in the United States to declare bankruptcy.As she and her husband restore the 1914 Georgian Revival, a stately brick house with no plumbing, no h... read more

The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease

Marc Lewis

The psychiatric establishment in the Western world has unanimously branded addiction a brain disease. And the idea that an addict has an incurable illness, as opposed to a contemptible moral weakness, has served an historically important role in changing how addiction is understood, researched, and treated throughout the world. But as renowned developmental neuroscientist and recovered addict ... read more

The psychiatric establishment in the Western world has unanimously branded addiction a brain disease. And the idea that an addict has an incurable illness, as opposed to a contemptible moral weakness, has served an historically important role in changing how addiction is understood, researched, and treated throughout the world. But as renowned developmental neuroscientist and recovered addict ... read more

Your Healthy Pregnancy with Thyroid Disease: A Guide to Fertility, Pregnancy, and Postpartum Wellness

Dana Trentini, Mary Shomon

At minimum, 27 million Americans have thyroid disease. Despite being the majority of thyroid sufferers, women rarely know that thyroid problems increase their risk of pregnancy complications, including infertility, preeclampsia, miscarriage, premature delivery, and low birth weight. This awareness gap affects patients and doctors, who know little about the ramifications of an undiagnosed or un... read more

At minimum, 27 million Americans have thyroid disease. Despite being the majority of thyroid sufferers, women rarely know that thyroid problems increase their risk of pregnancy complications, including infertility, preeclampsia, miscarriage, premature delivery, and low birth weight. This awareness gap affects patients and doctors, who know little about the ramifications of an undiagnosed or un... read more

Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong

Robert Bryce

In the face of today's environmental and economic challenges, doomsayers preach that the only way to stave off disaster is for humans to reverse course: to de-industrialize, re-localize, ban the use of modern energy sources, and forswear prosperity. But in this provocative and optimistic rebuke to the catastrophists, Robert Bryce shows how innovation and the inexorable human desire to make thi... read more

In the face of today's environmental and economic challenges, doomsayers preach that the only way to stave off disaster is for humans to reverse course: to de-industrialize, re-localize, ban the use of modern energy sources, and forswear prosperity. But in this provocative and optimistic rebuke to the catastrophists, Robert Bryce shows how innovation and the inexorable human desire to make thi... read more

The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace

Lynn Povich

It was the 1960s--a time of economic boom and social strife. Young women poured into the workplace, but the "Help Wanted" ads were segregated by gender and the "Mad Men" office culture was rife with sexual stereotyping and discrimination.Lynn Povich was one of the lucky ones, landing a job at Newsweek, renowned for its cutting-edge coverage of civil rights and the "Swinging Sixties." Nora Ephr... read more

It was the 1960s--a time of economic boom and social strife. Young women poured into the workplace, but the "Help Wanted" ads were segregated by gender and the "Mad Men" office culture was rife with sexual stereotyping and discrimination.Lynn Povich was one of the lucky ones, landing a job at Newsweek, renowned for its cutting-edge coverage of civil rights and the "Swinging Sixties." Nora Ephr... read more

Haiti After the Earthquake

Paul Farmer

“Paul Farmer, doctor and aid worker, offers an inspiring insider's view of the relief effort.”—Financial Times “The book's greatest strength lies in its depiction of the post-quake chaos In the book's more analytical sections the author's diagnosis of the difficulties of reconstruction is sharp.” —Economist “A gripping, profoundly moving book, an urgent dispatch from the front by one of our fi... read more

“Paul Farmer, doctor and aid worker, offers an inspiring insider's view of the relief effort.”—Financial Times “The book's greatest strength lies in its depiction of the post-quake chaos In the book's more analytical sections the author's diagnosis of the difficulties of reconstruction is sharp.” —Economist “A gripping, profoundly moving book, an urgent dispatch from the front by one of our fi... read more

The Summer of Beer and Whiskey: How Brewers, Barkeeps, Rowdies, Immigrants, and a Wild Pennant Fight Made Baseball America's Game

Edward Achorn

Chris von der Ahe knew next to nothing about base¬ball when he risked his life's savings to found the franchise that would become the St. Louis Cardinals. Yet the German-born beer garden proprietor would become one of the most important—and funniest—figures in the game's history.Von der Ahe picked up the team for one reason—to sell more beer. Then he helped gather a group of ragtag professiona... read more

Chris von der Ahe knew next to nothing about base¬ball when he risked his life's savings to found the franchise that would become the St. Louis Cardinals. Yet the German-born beer garden proprietor would become one of the most important—and funniest—figures in the game's history.Von der Ahe picked up the team for one reason—to sell more beer. Then he helped gather a group of ragtag professiona... read more

Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes

Tamim Ansary

We in the west share a common narrative of world history. But our story largely omits a whole civilization whose citizens shared an entirely different narrative for a thousand years.In Destiny Disrupted, Tamim Ansary tells the rich story of world history as the Islamic world saw it, from the time of Mohammed to the fall of the Ottoman Empire and beyond. He clarifies why our civilizations grew ... read more

We in the west share a common narrative of world history. But our story largely omits a whole civilization whose citizens shared an entirely different narrative for a thousand years.In Destiny Disrupted, Tamim Ansary tells the rich story of world history as the Islamic world saw it, from the time of Mohammed to the fall of the Ottoman Empire and beyond. He clarifies why our civilizations grew ... read more

Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being

Brian R Little

In the past few decades, personality psychology has made considerable progress in raising new questions about human nature—and providing some provocative answers. New scientific research has transformed old ideas about personality based on the theories of Freud, Jung, and the humanistic psychologies of the nineteen sixties, which gave rise to the simplistic categorizations of the Meyer-Briggs ... read more

In the past few decades, personality psychology has made considerable progress in raising new questions about human nature—and providing some provocative answers. New scientific research has transformed old ideas about personality based on the theories of Freud, Jung, and the humanistic psychologies of the nineteen sixties, which gave rise to the simplistic categorizations of the Meyer-Briggs ... read more

Your Pregnancy, Your Way: Everything You Need to Know about Natural Pregnancy and Childbirth

Allison Hill

As an OB/GYN, Dr. Allison Hill has delivered thousands of babies; as a mom, she's given birth to her own two children. Hill has a unique perspective on the many questions moms have surrounding pregnancy and childbirth-especially when it comes to "going natural." Drawing on her twenty years of expertise as well as current medical data, she weighs the pros and cons of the range of options availa... read more

As an OB/GYN, Dr. Allison Hill has delivered thousands of babies; as a mom, she's given birth to her own two children. Hill has a unique perspective on the many questions moms have surrounding pregnancy and childbirth-especially when it comes to "going natural." Drawing on her twenty years of expertise as well as current medical data, she weighs the pros and cons of the range of options availa... read more

Real Impact: The New Economics of Social Change

Morgan Simon

Impact investment--the support of social and environmental projects with a financial return--has become a hot topic on the global stage; poised to eclipse traditional aid by ten times in the next decade. But the field is at a tipping point: Will impact investment empower millions of people worldwide, or will it replicate the same mistakes that have plagued both aid and finance?Morgan Simon is ... read more

Impact investment--the support of social and environmental projects with a financial return--has become a hot topic on the global stage; poised to eclipse traditional aid by ten times in the next decade. But the field is at a tipping point: Will impact investment empower millions of people worldwide, or will it replicate the same mistakes that have plagued both aid and finance?Morgan Simon is ... read more

Re-Engineering Humanity

Brett Frischmann, Evan Selinger

Every day, new warnings emerge about artificial intelligence rebelling against us. All the while, a more immediate dilemma flies under the radar. Have forces been unleashed that are thrusting humanity down an ill-advised path, one that's increasingly making us behave like simple machines? In this wide-reaching, interdisciplinary book, Brett Frischmann and Evan Selinger examine what's happening... read more

Every day, new warnings emerge about artificial intelligence rebelling against us. All the while, a more immediate dilemma flies under the radar. Have forces been unleashed that are thrusting humanity down an ill-advised path, one that's increasingly making us behave like simple machines? In this wide-reaching, interdisciplinary book, Brett Frischmann and Evan Selinger examine what's happening... read more

I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy's Golden Era

William Knoedelseder

Now a Showtime original seriesIn the mid-1970s, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Andy Kaufman, Richard Lewis, Robin Williams, Elayne Boosler, Tom Dreesen, and several hundred other shameless showoffs and incorrigible cutups from across the country migrated en masse to Los Angeles, the new home of Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. There, in a late-night world of sex, drugs, dreams and laughter, they crea... read more

Now a Showtime original seriesIn the mid-1970s, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Andy Kaufman, Richard Lewis, Robin Williams, Elayne Boosler, Tom Dreesen, and several hundred other shameless showoffs and incorrigible cutups from across the country migrated en masse to Los Angeles, the new home of Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. There, in a late-night world of sex, drugs, dreams and laughter, they crea... read more

A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations

Robert Bryce

In the ancient world it was guns, germs, and steel that determined the fates of people and nations; now, more than ever, it is electricity.Global demand for power is doubling every two decades, but electricity remains one of the most difficult forms of energy to supply and do so reliably. Today, some three billion people are still living in places where per-capita electricity use is less than ... read more

In the ancient world it was guns, germs, and steel that determined the fates of people and nations; now, more than ever, it is electricity.Global demand for power is doubling every two decades, but electricity remains one of the most difficult forms of energy to supply and do so reliably. Today, some three billion people are still living in places where per-capita electricity use is less than ... read more

More than Ready: Be Strong and Be You . . . and Other Lessons for Women of Color on the Rise

Cecilia Munoz

Advice and inspiration for women of color seeking new heights of influence, from the top Latinx advisor to President Obama Women of color are becoming more visible and more powerful than ever, achieving higher levels of success and blazing new paths for future generations. These women are pioneers, finding their own way in otherwise white-dominated arenas. As the first Latinx to direct nationa... read more

Advice and inspiration for women of color seeking new heights of influence, from the top Latinx advisor to President Obama Women of color are becoming more visible and more powerful than ever, achieving higher levels of success and blazing new paths for future generations. These women are pioneers, finding their own way in otherwise white-dominated arenas. As the first Latinx to direct nationa... read more

Overcoming Overwhelm: Dismantle Your Stress from the Inside Out

Samantha Brody ND

Do more. Be more. Try harder. It's the battle cry of our culture —and it's making millions of us sick, tired, and frustrated. Why? According to Dr. Samantha Brody, "We simply can’t solve stress and overwhelm by doing more and more of what we’ve been doing."With Overcoming Overwhelm, this pioneering naturopathic physician offers an alternative. In this step-by-step guide, she helps us restore b... read more

Do more. Be more. Try harder. It's the battle cry of our culture —and it's making millions of us sick, tired, and frustrated. Why? According to Dr. Samantha Brody, "We simply can’t solve stress and overwhelm by doing more and more of what we’ve been doing."With Overcoming Overwhelm, this pioneering naturopathic physician offers an alternative. In this step-by-step guide, she helps us restore b... read more

Lisa has 6 reviews

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

Melanie Chartoff
I feel very fortunate to have found Lisa through Reedsy. Not only did she “get” my humor and help me avert some of the pitfalls my project might face, she is warm, witty and compassionate. She is cannier than your average editor, I’d postulate, with a lot of worldly wisdom to share from many aspects of the publishing industry as well as the psychology of relationships. Highly recommended!

Melanie Chartoff, March 2020

Lisa Kaufman
Awww Melanie thank you. You were a dream client; it was so much fun working together.

Reply from Lisa Kaufman


Polly Scott
Lisa helped me take my book from a jumbled lump of words to a book with a structure and flow. I would recommend her to anyone! I'm so grateful for how she helped me shape my book! She met deadlines, her edits made sense and added value to my book.

Polly Scott, August 2019

Lisa Kaufman
Polly, thanks. You were a dream client: clear-eyed in your vision of what you wanted your book to be and what help you needed to get it there; responsive to and appreciative of my work, and insp...
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Reply from Lisa Kaufman


Antonio M Thewissen
I had a great experience working with Lisa. I took virtually all of her corrections and I definitely got more value than I was initially expecting. She made re-think some critical elements of my manuscript and I ended up with a much better book. I would definitely work with her again.

Antonio M Thewissen, July 2018

Lisa Kaufman
Antonio is an editor's dream: flexible, responsive, appreciative, and a good writer to begin with! Good luck, Antonio. Let me know when you find a publisher!

Reply from Lisa Kaufman


Antonio M Thewissen
Lisa delivered on time and with great quality. She communicated prior, during and after the engagement regarding timelines, clarifications and next steps. The level of editing I received was more and better than what I was expecting, so I would definitely use Lisa's services again in the future. Highly recommended!

Antonio M Thewissen, February 2018

Lisa Kaufman
Thanks Antonio! I appreciated your patience and good will, and hope you make good progress with your book--til next time!

Reply from Lisa Kaufman


Jason Klatt
Lisa over delivered in every aspect of the project. If you're looking for a thoughtful and experienced editor to help refine your work into something amazing, Lisa is your gal. A+.

Jason Klatt, December 2017

Lisa Kaufman
Thanks, Jason! It was lovely working with you.

Reply from Lisa Kaufman

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