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This site is a service of Publishers Lunch, the e-mail newsletter known as "publishing's essential daily read." Join the thousands of people who read Lunch every day.
editorial services, editor :
Linda Carbone

I'm a NONFICTION book editor with decades of experience getting manuscripts into publishable shape. I also write and edit book proposals.

Let me help you bring your manuscript to the next level or develop a winning book proposal. I have more than 30 years of in-house and freelance experience, including 7 as a Developmental Editor with Basic Books. I can zero in on the trouble spots and understand what your book needs to be publishable. I love working with first-time authors as well as veterans to make their books the best they can be.

In all nonfiction subject areas, I offer:

*Detailed manuscript critique
*Developmental editing
*Line editing
*Rewriting/book doctoring
*Proposal development

A recent rewrite made the New York Times best-seller list.

I am the co-author (with my husband, Ed Decker) of A Little Pregnant, a memoir that Phillip Lopate called "heartbreaking and hilarious...above all, a literary pleasure and a great read.” Read my personal essays and book reviews at

Among the authors I have worked with are psychiatrists, academics, doctors, journalists, memoirists, self-publishers, a college student, a Pulitzer Prize winner, a Nobel Prize winner, and a medicine woman. When appropriate, will assist in finding an agent.

years experience: 30+
Developmental editing, Proposal writing/editing, Book Doctor, Line-editing, Writing
Biography, Health, Memoir, Psychology, Parenting, Gender Studies, Social Science, Self-Help
For manuscript work:

"Linda Carbone performed small miracles."
— Mark Slouka, War of the Worlds: Cyberspace and the High-Tech Assault on Reality

"Linda Carbone, my editor, is more of a therapist than I am: She helps the person see their faults, points out where things can be improved, and leads them to make necessary changes. She brings order to the chaos, method to the madness, and endless expert guidance. I think she might be a genius."
— Pamela Milam, What Your Therapist Thinks About You

"You provided exactly the kind of editing I knew I needed. I can see the book that you're shaping. You are an uncommon editor, driven by the fact that you're also an uncommon person in that you have sensitivity, integrity, creativity, vision, and wisdom. All things from which a writer deeply benefits!"
— Michele Rosenthal, Before the World Intruded: A Memoir of Trauma, Survival, Identity, and the Pursuit of Joy

"Linda Carbone worked with me – tirelessly and nonjudgmentally – on line after line, note after note, chapter after chapter. Make no mistake: Linda whipped me into shape, and thank the gods for it."
— Kara Cooney, When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt

"I so love what you've done here. I am grateful to you for taking such good care of this precious 'baby.' I loved talking with you from our first conversation, and felt such a sense of peace knowing you were there with it (and me). I can't thank you enough for your care and sensitivity and thoughtfulness and wisdom. I hope we get to work together many more times!"
— Pam Allyn, Your Child's Writing Life

"You're a fantastic editor and lovely to work with. From the start, I considered myself lucky to have found you. I embraced every revision or rewrite you suggested. You genuinely cared for my project — something that was vitally important to me. I'm so grateful for the contribution you made to my book!"
— Eva James, Bullied by the Boss

"Since the publication of my memoir in 1996, I have heard from a steady flow of people across the country and around the world thanking me for what they found in its pages: a sensitive and enlightening story about growing up in an orphanage in the 1950s. Readers have been touched to the point of laughter as well as tears. For two decades, I felt proud but also guilty for receiving full credit for what Linda Carbone, my Developmental Editor at Basic Books, contributed to the book. So I tracked her down 20 years later. I had to let her know how grateful I still feel for her skill in transforming and polishing my manuscript, while keeping my voice intact. She is by far the best editor I have worked with, and I've published nearly forty books. Linda vastly improved the manuscript, sensitively reworking my memories into a moving and memorable book. I know she made a big difference in how it has been received, and I am greatly indebted to her."
— Richard McKenzie, The Home: A Memoir of Growing Up in an Orphanage

For proposals and queries:

"As a first-time author, getting published can be a daunting process. I spent years pouring my soul into my work and when I finally worked up the courage to send out queries and proposals, I received only rejections. I realized I needed help. Linda instantly understood my work. She was able to bring out the best in my material and shave off fat to produce a truly great proposal. Just a month after I first called Linda, I had an agent, and two months after that I sold my book to HarperCollins. This is a woman who makes dreams come true."
— Paul Rosolie, Mother of God: An Extraordinary Journey into the Uncharted Tributaries of the Western Amazon

"When my agent suggested that I contact Linda to help with my book proposal, I wasn’t sure. I had worked long and hard on it, and I felt it was as good as it could be. But Linda understood what was missing. Her version was sharp, clean, and to the point. And her knowledge of the publishing industry made the difference between more rejections and the book deal I was offered."
— Erik Vance, Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain's Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal

"Thank you so much for your amazing work on my proposal. You were spot-on about its potential, and I know you’ll be happy to hear that it sold. I could not have written such a winning proposal without you."
— Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D., A Disease Called Childhood: Why ADHD Became an American Epidemic

"Though generally prone to understatement, I can’t speak highly enough of the work Linda did to help me market my manuscript. She has a broad and deep knowledge of the industry and of what insiders look for — and don’t look for. And not only on a high level: we got into the weeds that separate an okay pitch from a truly effective one. She was prompt in turnaround times, and her thoughts were always well explained, never presented as 'this is just how it is.' Linda clearly loves books and helping writers — I hope to work with her again."
— Jeffrey Gross, How Not to Date a Writer: A Novel

From agents and editors:

"Linda Carbone is the best of the best in editing. I worked with her for years when I was editorial director of Basic Books, and she works her magic on manuscripts no matter what they need: line editing, conceptual reorganization, cutting, revision. There is no one better, smarter, kinder, or more helpful to the struggling author."
— Susan Rabiner, former editorial director of Basic Books, co-author of Thinking Like Your Editor, head of Susan Rabiner Literary Agency, Inc.

"We’ve represented Linda on several books — a memoir written with her husband and as book doctor on others — and she is a dream to work with: she delivers top-quality work, on time, and has a great sense of humor."
— James Levine, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency

"You are not only a gifted editor but a pleasure to work with. You’ve once again done a superb job for us. It’s always a pleasure to read your edits and refinements. I appreciate your impressive understanding and judgment and admire how, with a few skilled tweaks, writing can become so much more powerful while retaining its integrity. Once again I’m struck by your precision and flair with language and by how you excel at what you do."
— Susan Lee Cohen, Riverside Literary Agency

"Linda Carbone is a skilled and gifted book doctor who shows meticulous attention to detail, ease with challenging deadlines, and great flair as both a writer and an editor. A joy to work with!"
— Hilary Black, National Geographic Books

Basic Books, Feminist Press, Guilford Press, HarperCollins, National Geographic Books, Newmarket Press, Oxford University Press, Penguin, Workman, and many individual agents and authors.
Outsmarting the Sociopath Next Door: How to Protect Yourself Against a Ruthless Manipulator, Martha Stout (Harmony Books)

When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt, Kara Cooney (National Geographic Books)

Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain's Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal, Erik Vance (National Geographic Books)

Mother of God: An Extraordinary Journey into the Uncharted Tributaries of the Western Amazon, Paul Rosolie (HarperCollins)

A Disease Called Childhood: Why ADHD Became an American Epidemic, Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D. (Avery)

I have edited books by Paul Bloom, Stephen Carter, Lama Surya Das, Seth Godin, Alice Miller, Daphne Oz, Mark Slouka, and Martha Stout.
Panel Speaker, 2009 Writer's Digest Conference

My own book, A Little Pregnant: Our Memoir of Fertility, Infertility, and a Marriage (Atlantic Monthly Press), was a finalist for the Books for a Better Life Award and made More magazine's list of Top 10 Books on Relationships.

I have taught English as a Second Language in New York, England, Portugal, and Spain. Currently living in Portugal.

Master's in Women's Studies

Fluent in French