Stephanie Lehmann

Stephanie Lehmann - Editor

New York, NY, USA

A decade of experience as in-house editor at a literary agency. Published novelist. Obsessed with plot, structure, and character motivation.

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For over a decade, I was an agent and in-house editor at the Elaine Koster Literary Agency, where we represented authors such as Khaled Hosseini (THE KITE RUNNER) and David Ebershoff (THE DANISH GIRL). I helped many of our authors revise their manuscripts in preparation for submission to publishers. "Stephanie is wise, funny and one of the nicest people in New York. She not only made LAW OF ATTRACTION a better book, she made me a better writer." --ALLISON LEOTTA

My taste leans toward upmarket commercial fiction -- especially coming-of-age, thrillers, mysteries, historicals, and, I must admit, stories where the main character is a woman. I love a good plot, and I love to help authors puzzle out how to fix a plot that isn't working. As a member of the Historical Novel Society, I've given conference presentations on structuring a novel, identifying theme, and the challenges of creating a heroine when women are missing from history.

As a published novelist and writing workshop instructor, I'm extremely aware of the perils involved with exposing your work. Feedback from an objective person who is not trying to protect your ego -- or destroy your ego -- is key. I aim for honesty tempered with sensitivity. My greatest pleasure is to come up with insights that will inspire you.

My focus will depend on your needs. Perhaps you're struggling with the conception of the book as a whole in terms of plot, backstory, and theme. Perhaps you can need more granular assistance with craft issues such as point of view, prose, dialogue, voice, character, setting, and description. Maybe you're grappling with all of the above.

As a book coach, I'm available to work with you over a sustained period of time on a regular basis. This approach works particularly well if you need motivational support. We can arrange a schedule to fit your needs.

Is the manuscript ready to go? Are you looking for a literary agent? Years of reading submissions at the agency make me an expert on the art of the query letter. I know exactly what goes into a good one.

Everyone attempting to write a full-length manuscript faces three particularly daunting obstacles: 1) Starting the book 2) Sticking with the book 3) Finishing the darn thing. No matter where you are in the process, I can help. When you're ready, I'm here.
English (US)
Biographies & Memoirs
Coming of Age
Contemporary Fiction
Historical Fiction
Humor & Comedy
Mystery & Crime
Psychological Thriller
Women's Fiction


  • New York University MA in English/Creative Writing

Work experience

Instructor of Novel Writing Workshop and Humor Class

September, 2015 – April, 2020 (over 4 years)

I've also taught at the Fairfield County Writer's Studio, Mediabistro, and Salon.


Elaine Koster Literary Agency
September, 2005 – Present (almost 16 years)

I have over a decade of experience as an associate at the Elaine Koster Literary Agency, where we represented over a hundred authors. I helped many of our clients with manuscript revisions as they prepared to submit work to editors and publishers. I also represented a small roster of my own authors with a focus on women's fiction, young adult, mysteries and thrillers.

Portfolio (21 selected works)

How to Make a Life: A Novel

Kraut, Florence Reiss

Trace Evidence: A Novel

Becka, Elizabeth

Diamond (The Divas)

Murray, Victoria Christopher

The Dowry Bride

Bantwal, Shobhan

Carnal Knowledge

Hodgson, Charles

Girl of the Moment

Zindel, Lizabeth

Georgia's Kitchen

Nelson, Jenny

Diamonds Take Forever

Jiji, Jessica

Torn to Pieces

McDonnell, Margot

Unknown Means

Elizabeth Becka

Those Across the River

Buehlman, Christopher

The Forbidden Daughter

Bantwal, Shobhan

The Full Moon Bride

Bantwal, Shobhan

Stephanie has 5 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Sarah Cohen
Stephanie understood a book that many wouldn't have and delivered critique with enough praise that I could swallow it (after eating a lot of sugar.)

Sarah Cohen, March 2021

Sallie Rose
I found my session with Stephanie extremely helpful. She was full of tips and suggestions on how to approach the American market with my novel. She seemed to be a font of knowledge and her extensive experience in the field shone through in her advice. I would heartily recommend her.

Sallie Rose, March 2021

Tommy Cramer
As a first-time writer, I was looking for someone professional and thorough to edit my book. I was also, admittedly, a bit apprehensive about the process. Not only was Stephanie's feedback very detailed and thought-provoking, it was presented very clearly and humanely. Hiring Stephanie was money very well spent.

Tommy Cramer, January 2021

Justine A
I couldn't have asked for a better experience. Stephanie is not only professional, she paid a great deal of respect to my work and gave it a great deal of attention. Her level of expertise is abundantly clear in every aspect of how she edited my work and provided feedback. I truly appreciated how thorough Stephanie was in considering every element of my manuscript, from the heart of the story t...
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Justine A, January 2021

J. Kay Tolman
I am pleased by Stephanie's generosity and professionalism. Her feedback was much needed, probably even sooner in the novel-writing process. There is much food for thought in her evaluation. Her opinions are informed, supported, and clearly stated. Importantly, her advice will either guide or inform important revisions.

J. Kay Tolman, January 2021

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