Making Words Count
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Susan Leon

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Susan Leon

My work as an independent editor allows me to do what I’ve always loved most –work closely with writers who bring me into an eclectic universe of ideas, stories, and narrative voices. I edit both fiction and nonfiction, performing manuscript evaluations, consultations, general editing, collaborations, and heavy re-writes. My industry experience includes the literary/business side (William Morris Agency) and (senior) editorial positions at Viking-Penguin, Scribner/Atheneum and William Morrow.

I came to publishing from academia (Columbia University President’s Fellow and doctoral candidate) which has helped me add structure, coherence and persuasion to my authors’ projects. American, European, and Jewish history (all facets), memoir, biography, narrative nonfiction, film and television history, politics, education, architecture, travel, parenting, lifestyles, and the outdoors are strong interest areas.

In fiction I enjoy many writing styles – well-crafted historicals; smart, resonant stories about how we live now; and affirmative reading experiences of all types. I have edited or ghostwritten New York Times and national bestsellers in the areas of memoir, women’s advice/inspiration, and suspense; and award-winning titles in such diverse categories as narrative nonfiction (medicine), law, the Holocaust, World War II, and mystery.

I especially enjoy working with new and emerging writers.   

Some authors I’ve worked are Diane Ackerman, Lady Antonia Fraser, Joy Fielding, Ursula Hegi, Harvey Fierstein, Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, historian Sir Martin Gilbert, Sarah Ban Breathnach, Larry Collins, First Amendment attorney Martin Garbus, Martha Frick Sanger, Kristine Carlson, Andrew Gross, Lucette Lagnado, philanthropist Daisy M. Soros, journalist and Columbia School of Journalism Dean Steve Coll, Princeton historian and CNN contributor Julian Zelizer, NYS Chief Judge Judith Kaye, Reba McIntyre, and many others.

I have been a featured panelist at Book Expo America speaking about the editor’s role for authors planning to self-publish.  

I welcome your inquiry.


Thanks for all you have given to this book. You have done an incredible job, and whatever success this book has I will credit to a large degree to you. I hope we find another one soon – you are so very good at this!
— Robert Miller, Publisher
Susan was wonderful to work with. She was precise in her critique and on target with her suggestions for revisions, both large and small. She was gentle with her commentary, although unafraid to give you her opinion straight on and never insisted that her idea was better than mine, which allowed me to make changes of my own, guided by her thoughts. She was also punctual; she finished the manuscript on the date we had set to work together. Susan was simply terrific. I can’t recommend her highly enough.
— Linda Gray Sexton