Nicole James

Nicole James - Editor

Westport, CT, USA

With 18 yrs of experience working with bestselling authors, I offer comprehensive edits and industry insights on fiction and nonfiction.

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As both a literary agent with my own agency, and as a freelance editor, I have collaborated with several New York Times and international bestsellers across all genres for nearly two decades. I have done intensive editing with my clients' manuscripts from polishing a novel where only minor notes are needed to a complete overhaul pre-submission. I have also built non-fiction proposals from the ground up starting with just a kernel of an idea, and have revised proposals that needed a whole new direction. In addition I've done intensive book doctoring including re-writes, and I am available for ghostwriting.

My list and expertise is extremely broad: I've created proposals for prescriptive nonfiction, "big think" books, and memoir. I've edited big thrillers and commercial and literary novels as well as young adult fiction at all stages.

My close proximity to the publishing industry (i.e.- I know how hard it is to get published!) can provide crucial insight as far as what a project needs for utmost success. I'm extremely comprehensive, organized, and communicative with my clients. I can also give a decent pep talk when called for!

I'm in this business because I love storytelling and I love to bring ideas to life. Collaboration is a very rewarding part of my job. I'd love to connect on your project and help you accomplish your goals.

Note: I do not represent projects that I freelance edit but I am happy to help guide writers to representation.
English (US)
Biographies & Memoirs
Health & Wellbeing
Parenting & Families
Self-Help & Self-Improvement
Contemporary Fiction
Historical Fiction
Literary Fiction
Thriller & Suspense

Work experience

Literary Agent/Freelance editor

January, 2021 – Present (over 1 year)

I specialize in both commercial and literary fiction, as well as a wide range of nonfiction. As an agent, I am proud to represent a list of award winning, national and international bestselling authors. In addition I provide freelance editorial work for aspiring writers and published authors who I do not represent.

I approach the business with boldness, thoughtfulness, out-of-the-box thinking, and dogged hard work to maximize each client's potential.

Literary Agent

Chalberg & Sussman
December, 2013 – January, 2021 (about 7 years)

• Sold commercial and literary fiction and non-fiction across all ages to the big five publishers and beyond
• Solicited new clients and independently developed projects from the ground up
• Negotiated all domestic deals and contracts independently; oversaw all details of foreign deals
• Provided collegial support to the agency on negotiating deal/contract points, editorial feedback, and general client management

Literary Agent/Foreign Rights Director

The Aaron Priest Literary Agency
September, 2004 – December, 2013 (about 9 years)

Foreign Rights Director/Literary Agent
• Managed and sold the foreign rights to Aaron Priest’s entire client list, including international bestselling authors David Baldacci, Robert Crais, and Greg Iles. Client list also included an active backlist of 35 years, including Robert James Waller and Erma Bombeck
• Wrote all pitch letters and held all foreign meetings, negotiated and structured seven and eight-figure deals, negotiated all contracts, oversaw worldwide marketing campaigns, corresponded with sub-agents, created rights lists, attended rights fairs, oversaw each client’s career in all foreign territories
• Solely represented the domestic and international rights to one’s own growing client list
• Attended to all permission requests for the office’s entire list

Portfolio (19 selected works)


Asher, Diana Harmon


Cadenhead, MacKenzie

Sally's Bones

Cadenhead, MacKenzie, Spookytooth, T.S.

Knitting for Little Sweethearts

Hjelmås, Hanne Andreassen, Steinsland, Torunn

172 Hours on the Moon

Johan Harstad, Tara Chace

Sally's Bones

Cadenhead, MacKenzie, Spookytooth, T.S.

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