Ryan Chapman

Ryan Chapman - Editor

Kingston, NY, USA

Novelist and fiction editor with a decade's experience in Big Five publishing. Plus three decades' experience noodling around with words.

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Overview

After a decade in book publishing and arts nonprofits I now write and edit full-time. If you're reading this and in need of a good book, custom demands I recommend my debut novel "Riots I Have Known," which Simon & Schuster published in May. (NPR, The Washington Post, and Esquire all said very nice things about it.)

In the past few years I've been fortunate to edit work by over fifty writers, many of them through Reedsy. I'm a thorough and generous reader, and I love nothing more than discovering a manuscript's latent strengths and hidden questions. Every fiction project is a unique puzzle; it's my job to help the writer solve it.

Due to my marketing experience I can provide insight into the publishing process from the business and audience side, which past clients have found valuable as they think about the marketplace aspect of their book.

A few testimonials from recent clients...
"Ryan is the sharpest editor I have ever worked with. His gift is his ability to articulate certain enigmatic qualities related to writing and art in ways that helped me revise my book and made it so much stronger. He is always patient and kind and this erases much of the vulnerability associated with being in the position of a writer whose work is being critiqued. I learned so much from Ryan about how my book was succeeding and what specific steps I needed to take to bring the rest of the book up to that level. He is both a talented writer and artist and a former industry professional and this combination makes him uniquely wonderful to work with."

“Ryan is wickedly smart and has an incredible knowledge of literature. He helped me fine-tune my manuscript and get it ready to send to agents, pointing out areas where it could be tightened, making suggestions, while understanding and respecting my artistic vision. He engages deeply with the work and is passionate about helping writers improve their craft. As an experienced author and industry professional, he offered invaluable advice and insight into the publishing world. I highly recommend him to anyone seeking intelligent, detailed feedback from someone with a keen aesthetic sensibility and a superior knowledge of what makes fiction work.”

"If I didn't love working with Ryan Chapman for his impeccable taste in literature alone, I'd love him for his generosity. I might have spent months (years?) twiddling my thumbs and grieving over my manuscript if not for Ryan, who rescued me from logorrhea and sloth. We young writers care deeply for our prose, but believe me, Ryan cares more. His care will redefine your work as much at the structural level as it will the beautiful minutiae of the sentence. In a single session, Ryan might cite Kazuo Ishiguro, Donald Antrim, Mariana Enríquez, Thomas Bernhard, and a half dozen other modern masters. (And he also has an essay for every situation! Whether you're having trouble with revision, miming the sentence structure of your favorite sour Austrians, or, perhaps, you find yourself downtrodden and full of despair—Ryan has an article for that.) His knowledge is vast; his interests are eclectic. Did I mention his novel is very good? Did I mention he's funny? You have every reason to hire him."
Languages
English (US)
Fiction
Contemporary Fiction
Cultural & Ethnic
Historical Fiction
Humor & Comedy
Literary Fiction
Short Story
Non-Fiction
Writing & Publishing

Awards

  • Longlisted for Center for Fiction's First Novel Award 2019
  • Webby Award Finalist, 2014 & 2015
  • Amazon Best of the Month - Featured Debut, May 2019

Work experience

Visiting Professor

Sewanee School of Letters
June, 2021 – Present (over 1 year)

Leads MFA fiction workshops for low-residency students at the University of the South.

Fiction Instructor

Catapult
August, 2019 – Present (about 3 years)

I teach a workshop course in craft fundamentals and first-person voice in fiction, with close readings of Paul Beatty, Thomas Bernhard, Hallie Butler, Sam Lipsyte, and others.

Director of Online Editorial & Audience Engagement

BOMB
August, 2014 – May, 2018 (over 3 years)

Oversaw marketing and digital editorial for Brooklyn-based arts nonprofit centered around longform conversations between artists, with 2M annual readers across print and digital.

Publishing Strategist

Freelance
May, 2013 – Present (over 9 years)

Conceived and led marketing campaigns for Michael Lewis’s "Flash Boys" (W. W. Norton) and Karen Russell’s digital novella "Sleep Donation" (Atavist Books).

I worked closely with PEN America on the 2017 and 2018 editions of their World Voices Festival of International Literature to bring new and larger audiences to their New York-based events.

I also created industry reports on literary fiction campaigns by small and medium-sized book publishers for a private client.

Director of Marketing

The Penguin Press
May, 2012 – May, 2013 (about 1 year)

Created innovative and publicity-generating campaigns for Thomas Pynchon, Nate Silver, and Zadie Smith, among others.

Online Marketing Manager

Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
July, 2007 – May, 2012 (almost 5 years)

Oversaw online campaigns and digital editorial site Works in Progress for Jonathan Franzen, President Jimmy Carter, Jeffrey Eugenides, Amelia Gray, and Michael J. Sandel, among others.

Portfolio (12 selected works)

Riots I Have Known

Ryan Chapman

“Dark, daring, and laugh-out-loud hilarious, Riots I Have Known is one of the smartest—and best—novels of the year.”—NPR“Chapman establishes himself as a master of wit, satire, and heart.”—Apple Books“[A] gritty, bracing debut.”—Esquire“Dazzling...Supremely mischievous and sublimely written.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)An unnamed Sri Lankan inmate has barricaded himself inside a prison ... read more

“Dark, daring, and laugh-out-loud hilarious, Riots I Have Known is one of the smartest—and best—novels of the year.”—NPR“Chapman establishes himself as a master of wit, satire, and heart.”—Apple Books“[A] gritty, bracing debut.”—Esquire“Dazzling...Supremely mischievous and sublimely written.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)An unnamed Sri Lankan inmate has barricaded himself inside a prison ... read more

Conversation Sparks: Trivia Worth Talking About

Ryan Chapman

Jump-start any conversation with this collection of over 350 fascinating, little-known facts. Hand-drawn speech bubbles and a charming conversationalist add personality to memorable tidbits on everything from the number of shipping containers lost at sea (about one per hour!) to now-retired Twinkie flavors (banana cream). Who knew that any month beginning on a Sunday will have a Friday the 13t... read more

Jump-start any conversation with this collection of over 350 fascinating, little-known facts. Hand-drawn speech bubbles and a charming conversationalist add personality to memorable tidbits on everything from the number of shipping containers lost at sea (about one per hour!) to now-retired Twinkie flavors (banana cream). Who knew that any month beginning on a Sunday will have a Friday the 13t... read more

Bomb: The Author Interviews

BOMB Magazine

Drawing on 30 years of BOMB Magazine, this anthology of interviews brings together some of the greatest figures of world literature for a brilliant and unforgettable collection of sharp, insightful and intimate author conversations. Here we have a conversation with Jonathan Franzen, still an unknown author, on the eve of the publication of The Corrections; and one with Roberto Bolaño, near the... read more

Drawing on 30 years of BOMB Magazine, this anthology of interviews brings together some of the greatest figures of world literature for a brilliant and unforgettable collection of sharp, insightful and intimate author conversations. Here we have a conversation with Jonathan Franzen, still an unknown author, on the eve of the publication of The Corrections; and one with Roberto Bolaño, near the... read more

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt

Michael Lewis

#1 New York Times Bestseller ― With a new Afterword"Guaranteed to make blood boil." ―Janet Maslin, New York TimesIn Michael Lewis's game-changing bestseller, a small group of Wall Street iconoclasts realize that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders. They band together―some of them walking away from seven-figure salaries―to investigate, expose, and reform the insidi... read more

#1 New York Times Bestseller ― With a new Afterword"Guaranteed to make blood boil." ―Janet Maslin, New York TimesIn Michael Lewis's game-changing bestseller, a small group of Wall Street iconoclasts realize that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders. They band together―some of them walking away from seven-figure salaries―to investigate, expose, and reform the insidi... read more

NW: A Novel

Zadie Smith

One of the New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2012 Set in northwest London, Zadie Smith’s brilliant tragicomic novel follows four locals—Leah, Natalie, Felix, and Nathan—as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. In private houses and public parks, at work and at play, these Londoners inhabit a complicated place, as beautiful as it is... read more

One of the New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2012 Set in northwest London, Zadie Smith’s brilliant tragicomic novel follows four locals—Leah, Natalie, Felix, and Nathan—as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. In private houses and public parks, at work and at play, these Londoners inhabit a complicated place, as beautiful as it is... read more

Freedom: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club)

Jonathan Franzen

#1 National BestsellerWinner of the John Gardner Fiction AwardA National Book Critics Circle Award FinalistA Los Angeles Times Book Prize FinalistIn his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises o... read more

#1 National BestsellerWinner of the John Gardner Fiction AwardA National Book Critics Circle Award FinalistA Los Angeles Times Book Prize FinalistIn his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises o... read more

Threats: A Novel

Amelia Gray

David's wife is dead. At least, he thinks she's dead. But he can't figure out what killed her or why she had to die, and his efforts to sort out what's happened have been interrupted by his discovery of a series of elaborate and escalating threats hidden in strange places around his home―one buried in the sugar bag, another carved into the side of his television. These disturbing threats may b... read more

David's wife is dead. At least, he thinks she's dead. But he can't figure out what killed her or why she had to die, and his efforts to sort out what's happened have been interrupted by his discovery of a series of elaborate and escalating threats hidden in strange places around his home―one buried in the sugar bag, another carved into the side of his television. These disturbing threats may b... read more

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail--but Some Don't

Nate Silver

"One of the more momentous books of the decade."—The New York Times Book ReviewNate Silver built an innovative system for predicting baseball performance, predicted the 2008 election within a hair’s breadth, and became a national sensation as a blogger—all by the time he was thirty. He solidified his standing as the nation's foremost political forecaster with his near perfect prediction of the... read more

"One of the more momentous books of the decade."—The New York Times Book ReviewNate Silver built an innovative system for predicting baseball performance, predicted the 2008 election within a hair’s breadth, and became a national sensation as a blogger—all by the time he was thirty. He solidified his standing as the nation's foremost political forecaster with his near perfect prediction of the... read more

The Marriage Plot: A Novel

Jeffrey Eugenides

A National Book Critics Circle Award FinalistNamed a Best Book of the Year byThe New York Times Book Review • NPR • The New Republic • Salon • The Seattle Times • Houston Chronicle • The Miami Herald • Publisher's Weekly "Remind[s] us with uncommon understanding what it is to be young and idealistic, in pursuit of true love, and in love with books and ideas."―Michiko Kakutani, The New York Tim... read more

A National Book Critics Circle Award FinalistNamed a Best Book of the Year byThe New York Times Book Review • NPR • The New Republic • Salon • The Seattle Times • Houston Chronicle • The Miami Herald • Publisher's Weekly "Remind[s] us with uncommon understanding what it is to be young and idealistic, in pursuit of true love, and in love with books and ideas."―Michiko Kakutani, The New York Tim... read more

Lowboy: A Novel

John Wray

Early one morning in New York City, Will Heller, a sixteen-year-old paranoid schizophrenic, gets on an uptown B train alone. Will is on a mission to save the world from global warming―to do it, though, he'll need to cool down his own body first. And for that he'll need one willing girl. Lowboy tells the story of Will's odyssey through the city's tunnels, back alleys, and streets in search of E... read more

Early one morning in New York City, Will Heller, a sixteen-year-old paranoid schizophrenic, gets on an uptown B train alone. Will is on a mission to save the world from global warming―to do it, though, he'll need to cool down his own body first. And for that he'll need one willing girl. Lowboy tells the story of Will's odyssey through the city's tunnels, back alleys, and streets in search of E... read more

Ryan has 25 reviews

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

DANIEL Roberts
Tremendously gifted editor. Ryan's insights were wonderful snd so very well-received.

DANIEL Roberts, September 2022


Stanley Enzweiler
Ryan was thoughtful, punctual, and had plenty of feedback to offer. I highly recommend him, and would work with him again.

Stanley Enzweiler, July 2022


mike sturdevant
I've worked with Ryan a few times now. He's a great professional who really knows what he's doing and what YOU'RE doing. In other words, he has a keen sense of staying true to your voice.

mike sturdevant, July 2022


Nicholas Zinni
As a brand new author, the prospect of writing and publishing a novel seemed to get more complicated and daunting as I went along. When I finished my first draft, I was completely unaware about whether I had the next great American novel, or whether I had a flaming pile of trash unworthy to even read the title. Unbearably anxious, I contacted Ryan to see what this editing process was all about....
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Nicholas Zinni, June 2022


mike sturdevant
I have worked with multiple professionals on Reedsy. Chapman was the most helpful by far. He is very bright and really knows the craft of writing. He is also an EXCELLENT reader, by which I mean he will really STUDY your manuscript. He'll become an expert in it. Super reasonable and courteous. You will definitely get your money's worth.

mike sturdevant, May 2022

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