Marian Ryan

Marian Ryan - Editor

Berlin, Germany

Supportive, insightful editor. Extensive experience: Macmillan, S&S, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Ready to help you make your work shine.

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Overview

Since the 1990s I've cherished my part in bringing great books into the world, working with both veteran and emerging authors writing for readers of all ages and across the genre and subject spectrum. I have extensive editorial experience with publishers Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, both in-house and as a freelancer.

I see my role as helping you find the gems sprinkled throughout your manuscript and making them shine. I'll help you build skills while strengthening story arc and clarifying themes, optimizing structure and polishing your prose. I'm ready to help whether you'd like a big-picture review or want to make each line and paragraph the best they can be. I'm keen on memoir/biography and literary fiction, middle grade and young adult novels, and various researched nonfiction books - try me!
Languages
English (UK)
English (US)
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
Cooking & Food Wine & Spirits
History
Self-help & Self-improvement
Fiction
Historical Fiction
Literary Fiction
Middle Grade
Young Adult

Awards

  • Heritage Writer Award, George Mason University

Work experience

Editor and Writer

Self-employed
August, 2007 – Present (almost 13 years)

Critic, journalist, essayist, and occasional fiction writer with work published in Granta, the New York Times, Slate, Salon, Catapult, Literary Hub, San Francisco Chronicle, Slow Travel Berlin, the Mail on Sunday, AWP’s The Writer, Necessary Fiction, Cosmonauts Avenue, Quick Fiction, Columbia, and others. Co-editor and contributor to acclaimed city guide Slow Travel Berlin’s 100 Favourite Places.

Former managing editor, developmental editor, and copyeditor for Macmillan and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Former fiction editor, At Length magazine.

Copywriter, content writer, and editor for Form Magazine, Pfizer Germany, UNICEF, the Open University, Management Sciences for Health, JSI Research and Training Institute, FHI 360, Panagora, USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Water Integrity Network, Freie Universität, Africa Peace and Conflict Journal, and Sage Publications.

Managing Editor

Management Sciences for Health
January, 2002 – July, 2007 (over 5 years)

Managed editing, design, and production of all texts and communication materials for the company's Center for Pharmaceutical Management, which focused on strengthening public health systems and access to medicines in developing countries. Products included reports, Web copy, conference materials, brochures, posters, training manuals, course materials, and public health manual. Hired and managed in-house and freelance staff.

Writing Tutor and Adjunct Professor of English

George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College
August, 1997 – May, 2001 (over 3 years)

Tutored undergraduate and graduate students, providing feedback and guidance on writing assignments across a range of disciplines in the humanities and sciences. Taught English composition and introductory literature courses to undergraduates.

Assistant Managing Editor

Harcourt Brace Publishers Children's Books Division
June, 1994 – July, 1997 (about 3 years)

Managed editing and production cycle of books for young adults and middle grade readers, as well as picture books. Copyedited picture books and other shorter titles. Managed freelance copyeditors and proofreaders. Participated in hiring and supervising junior staff.

Copyeditor

Macmillan Publishing Company Children's Book Group
July, 1991 – May, 1994 (almost 3 years)

Managed copyediting and production cycle for all books for young readers under two imprints, including novels, nonfiction, and picture books. Hired and supervised freelance copyeditors and proofreaders. Responsible for copyediting shorter titles and promotional materials.

Portfolio (18 selected works)

The Queen of the Night

Alexander Chee

National BestsellerNew York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice | An Indie Next PickA Best Book of the Year from NPR, Boston Globe, Buzzfeed, Esquire, San Francisco Chronicle,Time Out, Self, Jezebel, The Portland Mercury, Electric Literature, and Entropy Magazine“It just sounds terrific. It sounds like opera.” —Joan Acocella, The New Yorker “Sprawling, soaring, bawdy, and plotted like a fine emb... read more

National BestsellerNew York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice | An Indie Next PickA Best Book of the Year from NPR, Boston Globe, Buzzfeed, Esquire, San Francisco Chronicle,Time Out, Self, Jezebel, The Portland Mercury, Electric Literature, and Entropy Magazine“It just sounds terrific. It sounds like opera.” —Joan Acocella, The New Yorker “Sprawling, soaring, bawdy, and plotted like a fine emb... read more

The Airmen and the Headhunters: A True Story of Lost Soldiers, Heroic Tribesmen and the Unlikeliest Rescue of World War II

Judith M. Heimann

A true story of downed B-24s in Japanese-occupied Borneo and a native tribe that “makes us—like the airmen—rethink our definitions of civilized and savage” (Entertainment Weekly). November 1944: Their B-24 bomber shot down on what should have been an easy mission off the Borneo coast, a scattered crew of Army airmen cut themselves loose from their parachutes—only to be met by loincloth-wearing... read more

A true story of downed B-24s in Japanese-occupied Borneo and a native tribe that “makes us—like the airmen—rethink our definitions of civilized and savage” (Entertainment Weekly). November 1944: Their B-24 bomber shot down on what should have been an easy mission off the Borneo coast, a scattered crew of Army airmen cut themselves loose from their parachutes—only to be met by loincloth-wearing... read more

Third Rail: An Eddy Harkness Novel (Eddy Harkness Novels)

Rory Flynn

“Third Rail gets off to a ripping start and never lets off the gas. Rory Flynn is a suspense writer to watch.”—Jess Walter, author of the best-selling Beautiful Ruins Harvard-educated Eddy Harkness was a rising star in an elite Boston Police Department narcotics unit—until he was blamed for the death of a Red Sox fan in the chaotic aftermath of a World Series win. Scapegoated and exiled, Harkn... read more

“Third Rail gets off to a ripping start and never lets off the gas. Rory Flynn is a suspense writer to watch.”—Jess Walter, author of the best-selling Beautiful Ruins Harvard-educated Eddy Harkness was a rising star in an elite Boston Police Department narcotics unit—until he was blamed for the death of a Red Sox fan in the chaotic aftermath of a World Series win. Scapegoated and exiled, Harkn... read more

The Battle for Wine and Love: or How I Saved the World from Parkerization

Alice Feiring

An “entertaining and passionate” connoisseur tours the vineyards of Europe and California, arguing for an old-fashioned appreciation of authenticity (The New York Times). The drastic effects that influential wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr. has had on the winemaking industry are best described as wine Parkerization. Many vintners are leaving old techniques behind and turning to chemistry and t... read more

An “entertaining and passionate” connoisseur tours the vineyards of Europe and California, arguing for an old-fashioned appreciation of authenticity (The New York Times). The drastic effects that influential wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr. has had on the winemaking industry are best described as wine Parkerization. Many vintners are leaving old techniques behind and turning to chemistry and t... read more

Lonelyhearts: The Screwball World of Nathanael West and Eileen McKenney

Marion Meade

A “breezily entertaining” look at the comic couple who hobnobbed with Dorothy Parker, S. J. Perelman, Bennett Cerf, and other luminaries of their day (The New York Times Book Review). Nathanael West—author, screenwriter, playwright—was famous for two masterpieces: Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust, which remains one the most penetrating novels ever written about Hollywood. He was als... read more

A “breezily entertaining” look at the comic couple who hobnobbed with Dorothy Parker, S. J. Perelman, Bennett Cerf, and other luminaries of their day (The New York Times Book Review). Nathanael West—author, screenwriter, playwright—was famous for two masterpieces: Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust, which remains one the most penetrating novels ever written about Hollywood. He was als... read more

Proof: The Science of Booze

Adam Rogers

Named a Best Science Book of 2014 by Amazon, Wired, the Guardian, and NBC Winner of the 2014 Gourmand Award for Best Spirits Book in the United States Finalist for the 2015 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award “Lively . . . [Rogers’s] descriptions of the science behind familiar drinks exert a seductive pull.” — New York Times Humans have been perfecting alcohol production for ten th... read more

Named a Best Science Book of 2014 by Amazon, Wired, the Guardian, and NBC Winner of the 2014 Gourmand Award for Best Spirits Book in the United States Finalist for the 2015 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award “Lively . . . [Rogers’s] descriptions of the science behind familiar drinks exert a seductive pull.” — New York Times Humans have been perfecting alcohol production for ten th... read more

Hero (The Woodcutter Sisters Book 2)

Alethea Kontis

Rough-and-tumble Saturday Woodcutter thinks she's the only one of her sisters without any magic—until the day she accidentally conjures an ocean in the backyard. With her sword in tow, Saturday sets sail on a pirate ship, only to find herself kidnapped and whisked off to the top of the world. Is Saturday powerful enough to kill the mountain witch who holds her captive and save the world from s... read more

Rough-and-tumble Saturday Woodcutter thinks she's the only one of her sisters without any magic—until the day she accidentally conjures an ocean in the backyard. With her sword in tow, Saturday sets sail on a pirate ship, only to find herself kidnapped and whisked off to the top of the world. Is Saturday powerful enough to kill the mountain witch who holds her captive and save the world from s... read more

Smile at Strangers: And Other Lessons in the Art of Living Fearlessly

Susan Schorn

“Eat, pray . . . kick ass. Delivered with self-deprecating candor, Schorn's life lessons learned at the dojo will resonate with anyone who's ever tried to remodel a house, raise kids, cope with a health crisis, navigate office politics or hyperventilated—essentially anyone who's ever been slammed on the mat while testing for the black belt of life. Like the fighter herself, you can't put this ... read more

“Eat, pray . . . kick ass. Delivered with self-deprecating candor, Schorn's life lessons learned at the dojo will resonate with anyone who's ever tried to remodel a house, raise kids, cope with a health crisis, navigate office politics or hyperventilated—essentially anyone who's ever been slammed on the mat while testing for the black belt of life. Like the fighter herself, you can't put this ... read more

The Konkans: A Novel

Tony D'Souza

“The saga of an Indian family steeped in tradition trying to find its niche in the suburbs of Chicago . . . Engrossing” (Booklist). “Funny and romantic and heartbreaking” (St. Petersburg Times), this novel is narrated by Francisco D’Sai, a firstborn son of a firstborn son—all the way back to the beginning of a long line of proud Konkans, the so-called “Jews of India,” who abandoned their Hindu... read more

“The saga of an Indian family steeped in tradition trying to find its niche in the suburbs of Chicago . . . Engrossing” (Booklist). “Funny and romantic and heartbreaking” (St. Petersburg Times), this novel is narrated by Francisco D’Sai, a firstborn son of a firstborn son—all the way back to the beginning of a long line of proud Konkans, the so-called “Jews of India,” who abandoned their Hindu... read more

Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children

Sara Zaske

An Entertaining, Enlightening Look at the Art of Raising Self-Reliant, Independent Children Based on One American Mom’s Experiences in GermanyAn NPR "Staff Pick" and One of the NPR Book Concierge's"Best Books of the Year" When Sara Zaske moved from Oregon to Berlin with her husband and toddler, she knew the transition would be challenging, especially when she became pregnant with her second ch... read more

An Entertaining, Enlightening Look at the Art of Raising Self-Reliant, Independent Children Based on One American Mom’s Experiences in GermanyAn NPR "Staff Pick" and One of the NPR Book Concierge's"Best Books of the Year" When Sara Zaske moved from Oregon to Berlin with her husband and toddler, she knew the transition would be challenging, especially when she became pregnant with her second ch... read more

The Song of the Quarkbeast (The Chronicles of Kazam Book 2)

Jasper Fforde

Magic has been in a sad state in the Ununited Kingdom for years, but now it’s finally on the rise, and boneheaded King Snodd IV knows it. If he succeeds at his plot, the very future of magic will be at risk! Sensible sixteen-year-old Jennifer Strange, acting manager of Kazam Mystical Arts Management and its unpredictable crew of sorcerers, has little chance against the king and his cronies—but... read more

Magic has been in a sad state in the Ununited Kingdom for years, but now it’s finally on the rise, and boneheaded King Snodd IV knows it. If he succeeds at his plot, the very future of magic will be at risk! Sensible sixteen-year-old Jennifer Strange, acting manager of Kazam Mystical Arts Management and its unpredictable crew of sorcerers, has little chance against the king and his cronies—but... read more

T-backs, T-shirts, Coat, and Suit

E.L. Konigsburg

Going to Peco, Florida, for the summer to stay with Bernadette is not Chloe's first choice. Or her second or her third. It's her only choice. She has to leave town because of the hair contract. If she didn't sign it, her friends would shun her; if she did sign it, anytime any one of them had a bad hair day it would mean total immersion in the local pool for all of them, Chloe included. Chloe n... read more

Going to Peco, Florida, for the summer to stay with Bernadette is not Chloe's first choice. Or her second or her third. It's her only choice. She has to leave town because of the hair contract. If she didn't sign it, her friends would shun her; if she did sign it, anytime any one of them had a bad hair day it would mean total immersion in the local pool for all of them, Chloe included. Chloe n... read more

House Under Snow Pa (Harvest Book)

Jill Bialosky

A novel by an acclaimed American poet, House Under Snow is a story of mothers and daughters, of sexual identity, of a family slowly disintegrating after the premature death of its patriarch. Anna Crane, soon to be married, reflects back on her childhood in Ohio during the 1960s and '70s with her two sisters and her charismatic, self-destructing mother. Evoking the claustrophobia of small-town ... read more

A novel by an acclaimed American poet, House Under Snow is a story of mothers and daughters, of sexual identity, of a family slowly disintegrating after the premature death of its patriarch. Anna Crane, soon to be married, reflects back on her childhood in Ohio during the 1960s and '70s with her two sisters and her charismatic, self-destructing mother. Evoking the claustrophobia of small-town ... read more

Dearest (The Woodcutter Sisters)

Alethea Kontis

“A fabulous fairy-tale mashup that deserves hordes of avid readers. Absolutely delectable.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review of award-winning series debut Enchanted Readers met the Woodcutter sisters (named after the days of the week) in Enchanted and Hero. In this delightful third book, Alethea Kontis weaves together some fine-feathered fairy tales to focus on Friday Woodcutter, the kind and l... read more

“A fabulous fairy-tale mashup that deserves hordes of avid readers. Absolutely delectable.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review of award-winning series debut Enchanted Readers met the Woodcutter sisters (named after the days of the week) in Enchanted and Hero. In this delightful third book, Alethea Kontis weaves together some fine-feathered fairy tales to focus on Friday Woodcutter, the kind and l... read more

Claudia Silver to the Rescue: A Novel

Kathy Ebel

“A sharply drawn debut about a tart-tongued Gen-Xer trying to make it in Manhattan. May remind you of HBO’s Girls.” —People Estranged from her Brooklyn family and fired from her job for impropriety, Claudia Silver is having a rough time. So when her younger sister comes to her, urgently in need of help, Claudia wants nothing more than to be the savior she herself so desperately needs. Unfortun... read more

“A sharply drawn debut about a tart-tongued Gen-Xer trying to make it in Manhattan. May remind you of HBO’s Girls.” —People Estranged from her Brooklyn family and fired from her job for impropriety, Claudia Silver is having a rough time. So when her younger sister comes to her, urgently in need of help, Claudia wants nothing more than to be the savior she herself so desperately needs. Unfortun... read more

The First

Sara Zaske

Cassie Craig is not the chosen one. Not even Close.She's just an ordinary, 15-year-old California girl with a few problems. She talks too much. She has a crush on a guy in her school. She worries about her dad who is a Marine in Afghanistan.Then, there's her new friend, Violet Starkey. The weirdest girl in school, Violet comes from a group of magical people who claim to be the first on earth.W... read more

Cassie Craig is not the chosen one. Not even Close.She's just an ordinary, 15-year-old California girl with a few problems. She talks too much. She has a crush on a guy in her school. She worries about her dad who is a Marine in Afghanistan.Then, there's her new friend, Violet Starkey. The weirdest girl in school, Violet comes from a group of magical people who claim to be the first on earth.W... read more

A Long, Long Time Ago & Essentially True

Brigid Pasulka

PEN/Hemingway Award Winner: A “gorgeous” novel weaving together stories of Poland past and present in one whimsically romantic epic (Chicago Tribune). On the eve of World War II, in a small Polish village, a young man nicknamed the Pigeon falls in love with a girl fabled for her angelic looks. To build a place in Anielica’s heart, he transforms her family’s modest hut into a beautiful home. Bu... read more

PEN/Hemingway Award Winner: A “gorgeous” novel weaving together stories of Poland past and present in one whimsically romantic epic (Chicago Tribune). On the eve of World War II, in a small Polish village, a young man nicknamed the Pigeon falls in love with a girl fabled for her angelic looks. To build a place in Anielica’s heart, he transforms her family’s modest hut into a beautiful home. Bu... read more

The Best of Times: America in the Clinton Years

Haynes Johnson

The Best of Times--the '90s were indeed the best of times. Unprecedented wealth and the breathtaking progress of science and technology ushered in the Internet and the deciphering of the genome. Promises abounded, but a deepening sense of unease hovered over America as the worst of times seemed to be upon us as well-gossip, scandal, and a frenzied media like nothing ever seen before. Based on ... read more

The Best of Times--the '90s were indeed the best of times. Unprecedented wealth and the breathtaking progress of science and technology ushered in the Internet and the deciphering of the genome. Promises abounded, but a deepening sense of unease hovered over America as the worst of times seemed to be upon us as well-gossip, scandal, and a frenzied media like nothing ever seen before. Based on ... read more

Marian has 1 review

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

Romeo Alaeff
Marian was incredibly generous with her cogent insights. Her feedback helped me take my story—concept, structure, and content—to the next level. Working with her gave me the confidence and clarity I needed to understand the strong and weak areas of my work, as well as what I needed to do next. Highly recommended.

Romeo Alaeff, November 2019

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