Kudos! Against great odds, you’ve given birth to art! Now what?
That is, do you desire a comprehensive and empathetic appraisal of your manuscript with clear and inspiring directions toward improving it? That is, are you ready to bring your literary art to its fully realized form?
I’m here for you! Widely published by some the country’s leading periodicals, I have twenty-plus years editing experience, with proven results in both fiction and nonfiction. Ready to help you in your vital creative endeavor, I offer scrupulous formal, structural, and line-by-line editing and feedback on book-length projects in all genres, e.g., fiction, poetry, nonfiction, hybrid, experimental, and cross-disciplinary writing. See testimonials from some of my clients, below!
A bit more about me: I’m publishing editor of Big Other, an award-winning online arts and culture magazine published since 2009 that features writing by Pulitzer Prize winners Rae Armantrout and Forrest Gander, National Book Award winners Daniel Borzutzky and Arthur Sze, Grand Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy Samuel R. Delany, and a host of other stellar writers.
Some of the writing I’ve edited/published in Big Other has been subsequently anthologized in The Best Small Fictions 2020 and 2021, Best Microfiction 2021, and Wigleaf‘s “Top Fifty 2020”; and has been subsequently published by Bellevue Literary Press, Black Square Editions, BlazeVOX, BOA Editions, C&R Press, Coffee House Press, Copper Canyon Press, Driftwood Press, Dzanc Books, Four Way Books, Marsh Hawk Press, New Directions, Omnidawn, Pelekinesis, Persea Books, Ravenna Press, Rescue Press, Roof Books, Sonder Press, the University of Arizona Press, Vegetarian Alcoholic, and Wesleyan University Press.
For rates and further information, feel free to email me at email@example.com. Looking forward to hearing more about you and to reading your writing!
Ready, write, flow!
“I worked with John Madera a few years ago on a novel I was stuck on. I gave him a fifty-page chunk to read. He replied with detailed feedback about the piece as a whole, along with some fine-grained edits that added to the clarity and consistency of the prose. He was able to spell out what the manuscript was doing and what its major themes were—all this still mysterious to me after several years of trying to complete the thing. He pinpointed its challenges, allowing me to go back into my revisions much more effectively. After working with John, I became calmer and clearer about what I was doing, and was able to let the manuscript speak for itself. It’s difficult to find someone who gives feedback that makes this much of a difference. John’s clear eyes and insight are invaluable.”
—Angela Woodward, author of Natural Wonders, Origins and Other Stories, The Human Mind, and End of the Fire Cult
“John Madera helped me to edit my novel manuscript, Dragonfly Blue, in a way that was thoughtful, generous, and kind—and unusually astute. Because I am a poet and not really a fiction writer, I needed the assistance of someone who understands fiction that is not necessarily written in a popular vein. The first thing John asked me is what mattered to me: fiction as art or fiction for the marketplace, and I answered, ‘fiction as art.’ He then critiqued the novel with his ear and eye attuned to the places where I had failed to make necessary connections between events or left crucial things missing in the development of characters. He paid attention to the music of language, the most important factor I consider when writing anything. I had worked with other editors on this first novel of mine and the other editors did help me, but none of them paid attention to the poetry of fiction in the way that John did. And he also helped to school me in the process of finding an agent, something I knew nothing about. I wholeheartedly recommend John Madera as a manuscript editor. I should also add that my impression is that he can help with any kind of fiction, as he has many years of experience in the literary world, is enormously widely well-read, and himself writes in multiple genres.”
—Gillian Cummings, author of My Dim Aviary and The Owl was a Baker’s Daughter
“John Madera has been a tremendous help for me as a writer. For years, I submitted to magazines, presses, and competitions only to find rejection or worse—silence. That made me feel small and invisible and frustrated. Somehow I discovered John Madera. He read my manuscript, talked with me on the phone, and provided quality feedback that resulted in what felt like progress. I spent a couple more months in the ‘woodshed’ revising based on John’s notes before sending manuscripts out again. Since working with John, my work has appeared in PANK and has been shortlisted for Dzanc’s 2019 Novella Prize and the Key West Literary Seminar’s Emerging Writer’s Award. Besides his advice, John has pointed me in the direction of new books, authors, and presses. I’m grateful for his advice and camaraderie. John has helped me grow as a writer, reader, and literary citizen.”
“John Madera is an original. He sees each writer for the artist they are, not for the “market” they will sell in. This is a very important distinction, for it means he really sees you, your path, and the way you are trying to tell a story. And yet, no surprise, through this approach, he helps to bring clarity to your writing in a way that enables readers to connect with it. And this is all we can really ask for: to believe we have done our best to tell a story.
My latest book, The True, is a complicated book blending many genres. I asked John to look at it to help prepare for its publication (which had been moved up). He jumped in, gave it more than his eye, and spent time talking with me about the work as a whole. With a depth lacking these days, he directly engaged the elements that inspired the style of the book. The fact that our conversation led to a very informed conversation about jazz was even more of a testimony to him.
And so what did he do? He not only suggested phrasing and words, but he matched the intensity of the structure with even more suggestions about how to make it bolder: more like my voice. A good editor does not change you, they help to resonate back what you are already doing that’s exciting, or needs more attention. Because John knows the vast canon of global literature, he’s able to reconnect you with/connect you with where you are in the conversation. This is an enormous gift.
I recommend John very, very highly, so bring your best to the table—grow along with the process and find comfort working with someone who really loves writing and writers, and wants you to be the artist that you are.”
—Sarah Kornfeld, author of What Stella Sees and The True