I’m the author of the novel Age of Consent (Penguin/NAL, 2007), and co-author, with Sandra Newman, of UK-bestseller How Not To Write A Novel: 200 Mistakes To Avoid At All Costs If You Ever Want To Get Published. You can see other titles here.
I’ve reviewed books for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Kirkus Reviews. I’ve also published articles and essays in The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, The San Francisco Chronicle, The International Herald Tribune, The Village Voice, Mystery Scene, Writer’s Digest, and The New York Review of Science Fiction, as well as various business and art magazines. More recently, I’ve written for The Awl, Splitsider, and cnn.com.
I’ve worked on books for most of the major publishers in New York, including Viking, Penguin, HarperCollins, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, and Random House (combine as necessary to accommodate mergers or other developments), as well as smaller, independent houses and various Amazon imprints. I’ve also helped many authors who have published their books independently. Though I don’t really do this anymore, I used to work as a collaborator and ghostwriter, and had two books on the New York Times bestseller list.
Howard Mittelmark is an extraordinary editorial resource. His notes were so insightful and so dead-on that they led to a fairly substantial rewrite of my entire manuscript. They turned what I had not realized was an unfocused attempt to write two separate novels jumbled together into a far better and more viable book. When the rewrite was done, he line-edited the entire manuscript. Howard brought the gems in my writing forward, leaving the muck that surrounded them behind. I fully believe that I would never have sold my novel without his incredible help and tutelage. His criticisms are not for the faint of heart, but for anyone who wants to improve the quality of a piece of writing (including the grammar and syntax) I can’t imagine a better editor. I recommend him very highly.
Stu Strumwasser, author of The Organ Broker, a finalist for the 2015 Hammett Prize for excellence in crime writing
I sent Howard a couple of chapters of my manuscript to see how he’d read it, what he’d recommend, and how he approached his work and mine. We then talked by phone, and the most remarkable thing happened: in describing me as a writer he more or less described me as a person. I knew then that he understood what I was hoping to do and could see how my strengths could be harnessed, my weaknesses tackled. Howard’s wit is as sharp as his editing pencil, which for me made the working relationship doubly pleasurable. He’s an avid reader, a careful critic, an imaginative editor—an exceptional resource.
I worked with Howard over the course of several drafts of my first novel. He showed me what was wrong but he didn’t fix it, he taught me how to fix it myself. As each new draft was completed he read it with a fresh eye, adapting his recommendations to my evolving skill. He didn’t give false praise, which I didn’t need, but he gave real encouragement, which I did. He told me straight up when I should just hit delete and when I should keep working on an idea. He gave his experienced perspective while somehow still seeing the story from my point of view. He was conscientious about his time and told me when I needed to go away and work on my own. Plus, he patiently put up with my crazy. (Oh, and he’s tallish, which is an excellent quality to find in an editor.) Howard was exactly who I needed, and I’m proud of my finished book because of the guidance and input that he gave me. I can’t wait to send him the draft of my next book.
Deborah Rix, author of External Forces
Howard Mittelmark is more than an editor, or even a coach. He’s a book midwife — guiding, cajoling, reacting, and providing thoughtful companionship along the way. He improved both my written work and my skills as a writer immeasurably. No one I’ve recommended him to has ever been less than delighted!
Ev Ehrlich, author of Grant Speaks and Big Government
I’ve published five books and I run everything I write by Howard Mittelmark. He will find what I missed and fix it–and he’ll do it without crushing my confidence. Finding someone who will do the former is great, but someone who can do both is a godsend. Editors are buying less, magazine and newspaper space has shrunk, and competition is fierce. In this market you want to make sure that anything you submit for publication is perfect.
Stacy Horn, author of Imperfect Harmony, Waiting For My Cats To Die, The Restless Sleep, Unbelievable, and Cyberville
Howard Mittelmark uses his pen with the precision a skilled surgeon uses his scalpel. He leaves everything essential intact. He is intelligent and creative, and makes suggestions with consideration and without being overbearing. Even more important, he helped me keep my voice, while helping me with pacing and storyline. Howard Mittelmark is a master craftsman. He makes me a better storyteller, and his editing made my stories better reads.
Carol Gino, author of The Nurse’s Story, Rusty’s Story, and Then An Angel Came.
Howard Mittelmark was like the relief pitcher who wins the game. On very short notice, he took over the editing of my book and made the story flow. Under great pressure, as the corrections were needed within a week, he masterfully revised my work. With his vast knowledge of numerous topics, he was able to meticulously repair the manuscript’s flaws and improve its historical context, which produced a more exciting read.
Valerie Ogden, author of BLUEBEARD – Brave Warrior, Brutal Psychopath
For me, the jump from food and travel journalism to thriller writing was not effortless. The first draft of my first novel had many strengths, but the book felt stodgy and overwritten. Howard cut about 20,000 words from an almost 140,000 word text. His edit pulled the story’s skeleton forward out of the murk, but it was also effectively a textbook in How to Write a Novel. Howard taught me about my tendency toward self-indulgence, my compulsion to overpack a story with numbing detail, and about the myriad little redundancies and lazy constructions which choked the narrative flow. My second draft was a lot stronger, and the third better still. By my second book, all of his lessons had taken root; I’m now on my third, and everything Howard has taught me has become completely engrained. I remain eternally grateful for his help, and for his example.
Jonathan Hayes, author of Precious Blood and A Hard Death