William Boggess

William Boggess – Editor

I am a freelance editor with over a decade of experience working with major publishers, top literary agencies, and independent authors.


After getting my start in publishing at Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, I worked in New York publishing for 8 years, on both the editorial and agency side of the business. In editorial at Little, Brown and Company I was lucky to work on high quality fiction and nonfiction by authors such as Daniel Woodrell and Sam Kean, as well as acquiring US rights to the debut of future Booker Prize winner Paul Lynch. As a literary agent at Barer Literary (now part of The Book Group), I managed my own client list, including Garrard Conley's bestselling memoir Boy Erased, along with providing editorial services for nearly all of the agency’s clients, including novels by Paula McLain, Lily King, Celeste Ng, and Madeline Miller.

I went freelance in early 2015, and have since enjoyed the flexibility to work on many different kinds of books in different editorial capacities. As a freelancer, I split my time roughly 50/50 between editing for major publishers and working with independent authors at all different stages of their writing careers.

My strength is rolling up my sleeves with a manuscript and doing close, in-depth editorial work, whether that means full-on line editing or broader developmental editing. I am also happy to use my publishing expertise to consult on how best to pursue publication.

I'm comfortable with both fiction and nonfiction. Literary fiction is my main focus, though I'm always happy to dip into genre-crossover work as well. In nonfiction, I work with memoir, science, history, health, and various kinds of narrative and practical nonfiction.

I’m based in Durham, NC, where I live with my wife Lara, my son Quentin, and my dog Buff.

"William helped me shape Boy Erased into a book that would catch the attention of a Riverhead editor I continue to work with today. He helped me examine the scope of my memoir's vision, all the while helping to shape the tone and grammar of the story. He was absolutely essential to every step of the writing process."--Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased

"Adept and insightful, William is an editor any writer would be lucky to have on their side. His precise and surgical edits elevate my novel to a level I wouldn't have been able to achieve on my own. He is thorough and perceptive. The depth of his understanding of my work and goals is astonishing. Having worked with William, my novel found its perfect home at Europa Editions. This year, I returned to his expertise for my second novel. With any luck, I will be back with a third. William has me as a lifelong client." - Abbigail Rosewood, author of If I Had Two Lives.

Biographies & Memoirs History Music Sports & Outdoors
Historical Fiction Literary Fiction Mystery & Crime Thriller & Suspense
English (CAN) English (UK) English (US)

Work experience


Jan, 2015 — Present

As a freelancer, I've worked with several Big Five publishers to get books ready for market, including editing multiple New York Times bestsellers. I've also worked with countless authors who are on the road to publication, whether that means seeking an agent and pursuing traditional publishing options, or publishing independently.

Barer Literary, LLC (now part of The Book Group)

Jan, 2013 — Jan, 2015 (about 2 years)

As an agent at Barer Literary, I managed my own client list as well as providing editorial support for all of the agency's clients. Authors I worked with included Garrard Conley, Emma Rathbone, Megan Mayhew Bergman, Paula McLain, Lily King, Luis Urrea, and Celeste Ng.

Little, Brown and Company

Oct, 2010 — Dec, 2012 (about 2 years)

At Little, Brown I worked under two outstanding editors who taught me immeasurable amounts about how to improve both fiction and nonfiction on the page. I was also lucky that they valued my input and gave me space to do real editorial work alongside them. I was also acquiring my own list, including Paul Lynch's Red Sky in Morning. I worked with authors such as Daniel Woodrell, Edna O'Brien, Sam Kean, Annie Jacobsen, and Tom Wolfe.

Barer Literary, LLC

Sep, 2008 — Oct, 2010 (about 2 years)

At Barer Literary I was engaged in every step of the publishing process from start to finish. I provided editorial support for clients like Lauren Grodstein, Madeline Miller, Joshua Ferris, Helen Simonson, and Kathleen Kent.

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill

Jan, 2006 — Aug, 2008 (over 2 years)

At Algonquin, I learned my way around the query pile and started forming an idea of how the book industry works (and doesn't work!). It's where my passion for literature started to collide with my professional interests.


If I Had Two Lives

Abbigail N. Rosewood

This luminous debut novel follows a young woman from her childhood in Vietnam to her life as an immigrant in the United States – and her necessary return to her homeland.As a child, isolated f... read more
Developmental Editing
An exciting and too-little-known baseball story, the tale of the first team with African American players to win the World Series The integration of baseball is justly remembered through the p... read more
Developmental Editing
Boy Erased: A Memoir

Garrard Conley

The New York Times bestselling memoir about identity, love and understanding. Now a major motion picture starring Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, and Lucas Hedges, directed by Joel Edgerton. "Ev... read more
Developmental Editing
Developmental Editing
Did you know that blueberries can help you cope with the aftereffects of trauma? That salami can cause depression, or that boosting Vitamin D intake can help treat anxiety? When it comes to di... read more
Developmental Editing
The Water Museum: Stories

Luis Alberto Urrea

From one of America's preeminent literary voices comes a story collection that proves once again why the writing of Luis Alberto Urrea has been called "wickedly good" (Kansas City Star), "cinematic and charged" (Cleveland Plain Dealer), and "studded with delig... read more
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR, BOOKPAGE, AND SHELF AWARENESS • “Paula McLain is considered the new star of historical fiction, and for good reason. Fans of The Paris Wife will be captivated by Circling the Sun, whic... read more
A Friend of the Family

Lauren Grodstein

“Unfolds with suspense worthy of Hitchcock . . . Grodstein is a terrific storyteller.” —The New York Times Book Review Pete Dizinoff, a skilled and successful New Jersey internist, has a loving and devoted wife, a network of close friends, an impressive house,... read more
The definitive biography of a legendary athlete. The Shrug. The Shot. The Flu Game. Michael Jordan is responsible for sublime moments so ingrained in sports history that they have their own names. When most people think of him, they think of his beautiful shot... read more
Seventeen-time all-star; scorer of 81 points in a game; MVP; and a shooting guard second only to Jordan in league history: Kobe Bryant is one of basketball's absolute greatest players, a fascinating and complicated character who knew when he was a mere boy tha... read more
“A beautifully spun tale” set in a tiny town in Latvia—“an astonishing alchemy of history, romance, and fable” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review). Maris was born knowing things: His very large, very special ears enable him to hear the secrets of the dead, as wel... read more
These nine globe-trotting, unforgettable stories from Mia Alvar, a remarkable new literary talent, vividly give voice to the women and men of the Filipino diaspora. Here are exiles, emigrants, and wanderers uprooting their families from the Philippines to begi... read more
Navy SEAL Team Six commando Don Mann infuses his debut military thriller with the real-life details only a true insider can reveal. In the midst of a grueling training exercise, Thomas Crocker, USN, unearths a pocket of terrorism that leads straight from the s... read more
How history's only five-star admirals triumphed in World War II and made the United States the world's dominant sea power. Only four men in American history have been promoted to the five-star rank of Admiral of the Fleet: William Leahy, Ernest King, Chester N... read more
The untold story of Babe Ruth's Yankees, John McGraw's Giants, and the extraordinary baseball season of 1923. Before the 27 World Series titles -- before Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Derek Jeter -- the Yankees were New York's shadow franchise. They hadn't ... read more
Son of a Gun: A Memoir

Justin St. Germain

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PUBLISHERS WEEKLYIn the tradition of Tobias Wolff, James Ellroy, and Mary Karr, a stunning memoir of a mother-son relationship that is also the searing, unflinching account of a murder and its aftermathTombstone, Ariz... read more
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY TIME, PEOPLE, SALON, AND ESQUIRE“The Family Fang is a comedy, a tragedy, and a tour-de-force examination of what it means to make art and survive your family….The best single word descr... read more
For the first time in history, eradicating world poverty is within our reach. Yet around the world, a billion people struggle to live each day on less than many of us pay for bottled water. In The Life You Can Save, Peter Singer uses ethical arguments, illumin... read more
“A charming, comic, and ultimately poignant story about the creation of the most famous Christmas tale ever written. It’s as foggy and haunted and redemptive as the original; it’s all heart, and I read it in a couple of ebullient, Christmassy gulps.” —Anthony ... read more
An explosive look into the dawn of chemical warfare during World War I "A terrifying piece of history that almost no one knows." - Hampton Sides In 1915, when German forces executed the first successful gas attack of World War I, the world watched in horror as... read more
“At once a scholar’s homage to The Iliad and startlingly original work of art by an incredibly talented new novelist….A book I could not put down.”—Ann Patchett“Mary Renault lives again!” declares Emma Donoghue, author of Room, referring to The Song of Achille... read more
This new deluxe eBook edition features more than ninety additional pages of exclusive, author-approved annotations throughout the text, which contain new illustrations and photographs, to enrich your reading experience. You can access the eBook annotations wit... read more

Lily King

A New York Times BestsellerWinner of the 2014 Kirkus PrizeWinner of the 2014 New England Book Award for FictionA Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle AwardA Best Book of the Year for:New York Times Book Review, Time, NPR, Washington Post, Entertainmen... read more
The acclaimed debut novel by the author of Little Fires Everywhere. “A deep, heartfelt portrait of a family." — Alexander Chee, The New York Times Book Review“Wonderfully moving…A beautifully crafted study of dysfunction and grief." — The Boston Globe “Lydia i... read more
A tense, thrilling debut novel that spans two continents, from "a writer to watch out for" (Colum McCann).It's 1832 and Coll Coyle has killed the wrong man. The dead man's father is an expert tracker and ruthless killer with a single-minded focus on vengeance.... read more
Losing It: A Novel

Emma Rathbone

"Wise and witty... Losing It is cringingly insightful about sex and dating and all the ways we tie ourselves into knots over both." --The New York Times Book ReviewA hilarious novel that Maggie Shipstead calls "charming... witty and insightful," about a woman ... read more

William has 3 reviews





Lisa P.

Lisa P.

Aug, 2022

Where do I start? If it were available I'd give my collaboration with William 10 stars. Not only has the work exceeded my expectations, it is the hands down best edit I've ever received. And I'm a published author. William dove into the manuscript and by the time he came up for air he not only "got it," he improved it one hundred percent. He took the time to thoroughly get to know my characters...
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Tiziana D.

Tiziana D.

May, 2021

William is the best editor I have worked with. I hired him for an editorial assessment of my literary novel because I felt it had structural problems that needed to be addressed. He identified the issues clearly and proposed solutions that were insightful and effective. Most of all, it was clear that he had given a lot of thought to my novel and had understood the essence of what I was trying t...
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William B.
Thank you so much, Tiziana! It was a privilege to work with you and your novel, and I really enjoyed the process.
Mallory M.

Mallory M.

Apr, 2021

William is a friendly, honest, and extremely insightful editor. He delivered twelve pages of notes on my manuscript, and each of those twelve pages was extremely valuable. I plan on implementing almost all of his suggestions, and I'm confident that my manuscript will be much stronger after I do so. I can't sing his praises loudly enough!
William B.
Thanks Mallory! It was a blast working on such a finely crafted story, and I know the revision will be even stronger.

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