Marian Ryan

Marian Ryan – Editor

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


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!
Biographies & Memoirs Cooking, Food, Wine, & Spirits History Self-Help & Self-Improvement
Historical Fiction Literary Fiction Middle Grade Young Adult
English (UK) English (US)
  • Heritage Writer Award, George Mason University

Work experience


Aug, 2007 — Present

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.

Management Sciences for Health

Jan, 2002 — Jul, 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.

George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College

Aug, 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.

Harcourt Brace Publishers Children's Books Division

Jun, 1994 — Jul, 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.

Macmillan Publishing Company Children's Book Group

Jul, 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.


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 Magazin... 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 A... 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 ... 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 n... 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 si... 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 ... 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 Ohi... 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... 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 m... 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 B... 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 f... 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—essen... 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 whi... 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 o... 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 masterpie... 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 wine... 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 narcoti... 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 miss... read more

Marian has 4 reviews





Andrea N.

Andrea N.

Jul, 2022

Marian worked very flexibly and professionally under challenging circumstances and I wouldn't hesitate to work with her again and recommend her to other non-fiction writers.
Marian R.
Thank you, Andrea!
Vaidhy M.

Vaidhy M.

Mar, 2022

I am a first-time writer and I was fairly ignorant about the finer aspects of the craft; I sought the expertise of Marian to assess my work as a developmental editor. I am very satisfied with the feedback Marian provided. She not only went through my book with a fine-toothed comb to provide contextual comments, but she also tried to be a coach by providing me reading material and other refere...
Read more
Marian R.
Thank you, Vaidhy! It was my pleasure to work with you.
Romeo A.

Romeo A.

Jun, 2020

I can't say enough good things about Marian—she goes above and beyond. This is my 2nd time working with her, and my current essay wouldn't be nearly as refined w/o her sharp eye, keen sense of grammar (and manuals of style), and overall understanding (not only the subject matter, but also of what you're trying to achieve stylistically). She's incredibly smart and will catch even the slightest ...
Read more
Marian R.
Thanks for the kind words! Pleasure to work with you, Romeo.
Romeo A.

Romeo A.

Nov, 2019

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.

Professionals similar to Marian

Get a range of offers by requesting quotes from multiple professionals.

Miranda Summers-Pritchard

Miranda S.

A highly experienced proofreader, copy-editor and author. Specialism: Fiction. Genres: crime, historical, romantic saga, thriller.

Hitchin, UK

100% reply rate

View profile
Joseph Nassise

Joseph N.

I'm a New York Times bestselling author/editor specializing in genre fiction


100% reply rate

View profile
Nick Mould

Nick M.

Experienced proofreader and copyeditor formerly employed at OUP and Routledge. Interested in work in any subject, field or level of English.

Oxford, UK

100% reply rate

View profile