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.


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.**

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

Work experience


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.


Legends of the Common Stream

Mitchell, John Hanson

Maxwell P. has 10 reviews





Jana S.

Jana S.

Feb, 2024

I needed direction on a piece I wrote and am very glad I found Maxwell. He gave me a constructive honest appraisal, and I was able to use his advice and improve my work. I will not hesitate to book his services again in the future. The price was right, and he was responsive and thorough.
Maxwell P. S.
I’m glad I’ll have the opportunity to work with you again, Jana. It was a pleasure collaborating on your prologue and setting early direction for your book!
Helene H.

Helene H.

Aug, 2023

Maxwell did an excellent job helping me write my query letter. His comments were to the point, his responses to my remarks were timely and helpful. It was time well spent, and I am sure my query letter is much more effective now that it is done.
Maxwell P. S.
I really enjoyed working with you, Helene, and am so glad my feedback on your query letter was helpful. Good luck!!
Valerie W.

Valerie W.

May, 2023

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!
James P.

James P.

Oct, 2022

Max did such a great job! I was very nervous about Reedsy because I know nothing about the publishing world, but Max was a better copy editor than I could have dreamed of. He recognized the strengths and weaknesses of my manuscript and gave me detailed, concrete suggestions to make it better. His editing suggestions are meticulous. I cannot recommend him highly enough and would work with hi...
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Geoff D.

Geoff D.

Sep, 2022

Max was terrific to work with. His insight enabled me to edit my manuscript to my much greater satisfaction. I would highly recommend Max to anyone wishing to work with a very professional, smart, and competent editor.
Maxwell P. S.
I really appreciate this kind feedback, Geoff! I'm glad I got the chance to work with you, and would enjoy working with you on another project down the line. In the meantime, good luck with the pub...
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