About

I’m the author of the novel Written Out (2019) and the bestselling writing guide How Not to Write a Novel, as well as other titles, which you can see 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, my writing has been on The Awl, Splitsider, Vulture, 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, like Kensington and Walker, and Amazon imprints, like Thomas & Mercer, Montlake, and 47North. I’ve also helped many authors who have published their books independently.

A good editor leads a writer to the best version of her manuscript. He observes and notes, questions, teases, and nudges, then maybe nudges again. A great editor does so with kindness, humor, respect and the faith that the project, with patience and careful attention, will become what it needs to be. Howard Mittelmark is that kind of editor. With intelligence and grace, Howard led me to better, stronger versions of the stories I submitted.

Lisa Unger, New York Times and international bestselling author

I’ve been going through the book and making corrections, edits, etc, and I just want to say that it feels not like it’s been edited but as though it’s just come back from a long vacation, exercising and eating right, living its best life. It’s just a better, healthier, happier book. You did an amazing job. Thank you.

Benjamin Harnett

As a confident writer and editor with many years of experience myself, I sent Howard Mittelmark an early draft of my manuscript, unsure of how he might advise me. I was stunned and gratified by how carefully Howard read my work, how thoughtful and insightful his comments were, and how he was able to point out my blind spots with tact and graciousness. My advice to anyone would be to queue up and avail yourself of Howard’s expertise and insight.

Anonymous, author of Becoming Duchess Goldblatt

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.

Jennifer Scanlon, author of Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown, the Woman Behind Cosmopolitan Magazine and Until There is Justice: The Life of Anna Arnold Hedgeman

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. 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 six 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.

Stacy Horn, author of  Damnation Island, Imperfect Harmony, Waiting For My Cats To Die, The Restless Sleep, Unbelievable, and Cyberville

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. 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