Maxwell P. Sinsheimer

Maxwell P. Sinsheimer – Editor

Nonfiction lit agent spanning food, science, history, memoir, social issues, and more. Former Oxford UP editor. 3x James Beard Award winner.

Overview

I founded a boutique literary agency in Washington, DC, representing adult nonfiction, with a particular interest in food, popular science, history, memoir, and social issues. I love narrative nonfiction, and have sold everything from a sake travelogue to a maritime adventure memoir. I've also sold cookbooks, advice books, and other forms of prescriptive nonfiction. Many of my books have a policy or advocacy angle.


Prior to founding my agency I was an editor at Oxford University Press managing their trade reference list. In that role I oversaw OUP's influential food and drink Companion series (The Oxford Companion to Beer, The Oxford Companion to Cheese, etc.), which has won or been nominated for James Beard, IACP, Gourmand, and other food writing awards. I love working with academics to help them translate their scholarship for general readerships.


Given my strong and wide-ranging track record as a literary agent, and my background as an editor at the world's top university press, I am well qualified to help you create an irresistible query letter and proposal for your smart nonfiction book, or to perform copyediting and developmental editing on your sample chapters or complete manuscript.


**Please note that I am a member of the Association of American Literary Agents (AALA), and pursuant to their updated Canon of Ethics there is a firewall between my freelance editing work and my agency work. I will not consider representing any book that I receive payment for editing or assessing. This is also not the right place to pitch me on representation; please see my agency website for submission guidelines.**

Services
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs Cooking, Food, Wine, & Spirits Health & Wellbeing History Political Science & Current Affairs Technology Travel True Crime
Languages
English (US)
Awards
  • James Beard Award for Writing & Literature
  • James Beard Award for Reference & Scholarship
  • James Beard Award for Beverage Without Recipes
Certifications
  • BA
  • MA

Work experience

Self-employed

Sep, 2016 — Present

Founded a boutique literary agency representing adult nonfiction.

Oxford University Press

May, 2012 — Jul, 2016 (about 4 years)

As a member of the acquisitions editorial team, I shaped departmental publishing priorities; conceived, commissioned, and developed four food and drink reference works averaging 250-350 contributors each; and served as the lead editor for the Encyclopedia of Social Work.

Published works (selected): James Beard Award-winning Oxford Companion to Cheese (2016), edited by Catherine Donnelly; James Beard Award-nominated Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets (2015), edited by Darra Goldstein; Savoring Gotham (2015), edited by Andrew F. Smith; James Beard Award-winning Soda Politics (2015), by Marion Nestle; and Garner’s Modern English Usage (2016), by Bryan Garner.

Oxford University Press

Nov, 2010 — May, 2012 (over 1 year)

As an Associate Editor I wrote approved proposals for seven Oxford Research Encyclopedias, with $1m+ in funding; served as the lead U.S. editor tasked with re-designing Oxford Reference, OUP’s largest content platform (2m+ A-Z entries); and managed the trade reference program, including a publishing partnership with the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Published works (selected): The Oxford Book of American Short Stories (2012), edited by Joyce Carol Oates; James Beard Award-nominated Oxford Companion to Beer (2011), edited by Garrett Oliver (more than 65k copies sold); The Encyclopedia of Country Music (2012), edited by the Country Music Hall of Fame; Sharp’s Dictionary of Power and Struggle (2011), by Nobel Peace Prize-nominated activist Gene Sharp; and the Atlas of the World (annual editions).

Oxford University Press

Oct, 2009 — Nov, 2010 (about 1 year)

I provided administrative support to the reference department and wrote a curriculum review that won approval for the A History of US textbook series to be taught in Virginia classrooms.

Portfolio

Legends of the Common Stream

Mitchell, John Hanson

Maxwell P. has 14 reviews

Professionalism

Quality

Value

Responsiveness

Candy P.

Candy P.

Apr, 2024

Pinned
Hiring Maxwell P. was the best decision, so much so that I rehired him for a second editing job. This was the first time I sought help from Reedsy’s editing services and have shared my positive experience with other writers. Initially, Max conducted an extensive edit on my memoir’s query letter and proposal, which included my first three chapters. I welcomed his straightforward manner to impro...
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Maxwell P. S.
I'm really touched by this thoughtful and kind review you left me. It was above and beyond! Your story is extremely powerful, and your writing voice was already well developed. So, while I think we...
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Suzanne S.

Suzanne S.

Mar, 2024

Pinned
If I could give 10 stars, I would. Max not only performed the work I requested -- to offer an overall critique of the project -- but he made line edits, and thoughtful comments throughout the proposal. And he did this in days. His work was so thorough and clear that I was able to quickly rewrite some sentences and rework a section. I would and will hire him again. Thank you so much, Max!
Maxwell P. S.
Aw, thank you so much for the lovely review, Suzanne! Yours was a particularly fun project to work on -- exceptionally well written, propulsive narrative, and very clearly ready to shop to publishe...
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Valerie W.

Valerie W.

May, 2023

Pinned
Max was wonderful to work with! I found his feedback incredibly useful, and I really believe it will help to take my book proposal and sample chapters to the next level. Max was professional, punctual, and easy to communicate with. He went above and beyond by offering me a Zoom call for further clarification that went way over time. It is clear he really cares about his clients and wants to see...
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Maxwell P. S.
Thank you Valerie! You were a pleasure to work with, and you asked some great questions on our follow-up call this morning. Good luck with your querying!
Bill A.

Bill A.

May, 2024

Max's input and preliminary rewrite of my query letter was done quickly and insightfully. before full review, he urged me to begin the rewrite myself using two excellent query letters as templates. On receiving my attempted rewrite he further refined the structure and content, such that the refinement itself was a valuable subject lesson. Overall, I have learned a lot from Max about writing q...
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Allie P.

Allie P.

May, 2024

I'm so thankful I found Max! He made thorough and thoughtful suggestions that elevated my book substantially! He was also so kind and encouraging, sandwiching his criticism in between nice comments. I loved working with him and would recommend to anyone looking to improve their work!
Maxwell P. S.
Thank you for this kind review, Allie! You did such a great job incorporating feedback, and I know your readers will benefit from your level-headed and engaging nutrition and health advice. Good luck!

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