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)
Coming of Age
Contemporary Fiction
Historical Fiction
Humor & Comedy
Literary Fiction
Mystery & Crime
Thriller & Suspense
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 (over 17 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 10 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Dianne Victor
I would definitely hire Stephanie again for my next book!

Dianne Victor, June 2022

Dianne Victor
Stephanie. I’ve read your detailed Notes and (so far) six chapters of your Edits. I can see that I will read through both at least twice in order to let it all sink in and then create my notes on how I want to restructure/rewrite the characters as well as tackle the edits. I definitely have a lot of work ahead of me. Having said that, I want to say how unbelievably lucky I am to be faced with...
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Dianne Victor, December 2021

G Greenberg
I am thrilled that I found Stephanie to help me. As an inexperienced writer, I needed an honest, unbiased evaluation and some direction for my story-- that is exactly what I got. Stephanie picked apart my manuscript and gave me thorough feedback. She was delicate in telling me what needed to be changed and also complimentary when things were going well. She put a great deal of thought and ef...
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G Greenberg, November 2021

Steven Hutton
Stephanie provided me with an Editorial Letter and manuscript markup / developmental edit for my novel. (I liked the fact that she had written and published a number of novels herself.) Both of these elements were accomplished with promptness, thoroughness and insightfulness. She was very encouraging of those aspects of my work that functioned as I intended and very helpful with those aspects t...
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Steven Hutton, October 2021

Trina Rennie
It was a pleasure to have worked with Stephanie. I hired Stephanie for developmental edits. And it was the best financial decision I've made for my project. My money was well spent. I was unaware of how much work my project really needed. The dedication and time Stephanie put into my project were invaluable for my manuscript. She had provided so much detailed feedback! I am a new writer...
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Trina Rennie, October 2021

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