My name is Michael Signorelli. I am an independent editor and ghostwriter, ready to write your proposal, edit your manuscript, or prepare your book for publication. I help projects at many stages of their development--whether you have a concept, a book proposal, or a full manuscript--and will identify and provide the kind of editorial engagement most suited to your publishing goals.
For many years, I worked as an editor at HarperCollins Publishers and as a senior editor at Henry Holt & Company. Some of my favorite projects include the New York Times bestselling and Man Booker Prize-longlisted novel The North Water by Ian McGuire (adapted into a limited series by AMC), the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning biography Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous by Christopher Bonanos, the Phi Beta Kappa Award-winning memoir Archaeology from Space by Sarah Parcak, and the Commonwealth Book Prize-winning novel The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell. I have edited the work of Nicola Barker, Philip Caputo, Dennis Cooper, Dan Chaon, Woody Guthrie, Catherine Ryan Howard, Lisa O'Donnell, Sarah Parcak, Charlie Smith, Justin Taylor, Simon Van Booy, James Wade, Marilyn Yalom, and many others. And as an independent editor, I have worked with dozens of clients to elevate their fiction and nonfiction, book proposals and manuscripts.
Finding how and why your book works, how and why it doesn't, and what you can do about it, is what I love to do. Please tell me more about your project by filling out the contact form below, and I will respond to you soon.
I offer in-depth and actionable editorial analysis at every stage of a project’s development. Whether you’re drafting your proposal, searching for narrative structure, or looking for the final key edits that will help your story fall into place, I provide clear and specific guidance in keeping with the aims of your project. I am also available for ghostwriting projects. Please send me a message below to discuss what kind of service makes the most sense for you.
"When I met Michael, I’d been struggling with my novel for five years. I’d written thousands of words and hundreds of pages, but kept finding myself in the same dead end. I was lost. Michael took the pages I sent him, read them with a keen eye, and helped me declutter my mind and refocus my story. Chapter by chapter, he helped me with everything from big picture concepts to line-level edits. His mastery of story pacing, world building, and character development taught me so much about novel writing and gave my book an urgency, momentum, and texture I’d been struggling to find for years.
At all times, he’s thinking like an editor, an agent, and a writer, and he uses this experience and expertise to guide the decisions you make about your story. And his feedback is always delivered in a clear and constructive way.
More than just giving me answers, Michael gave me tools. He helped me sharpen the instincts I needed to become a better writer. He’s a natural teacher and collaborator, and I would absolutely recommend him to anyone who feels lost in this process."
—Kenny Porpora, author of The Autumn Balloon
"Michael Signorelli is an editing genius. He was recommended by an A List literary agent and tasked to help me reduce my hefty 175,000 first draft down to 125,000 words. No small feat. Not only did he successfully guide me to the goal, he did so without shorting important story elements. And even more, we succeeded while retaining my ability to add and amplify additional story points he identified in our dialogue. The final product was a leaner, meaner and immensely more readable legal thriller.
Michael is just as adept at line editing as he is at refining narrative structure. He possesses all the traits and judgment you would desire in an editor. It’s difficult to capture in a few sentences the depths and insight of his editing skills.
Many editors may possess the needed professional skill but few possess Michael’s ability to deliver constructive criticism without infringing on the author’s territory (after all, 'it’s my baby.') Often an observation or a question from Michael would trigger an eureka moment for me. Eureka moments are the adrenaline of writing. They pave the way to the joy and bliss we crave and need as writers. As Master Yoda would say, 'Luminous beings are we … not this crude matter.'
Michael charts the path to get you there. Michael treads with the best of the best. One would be wise to walk with him."
“Michael is one of those rare editors who can take a good book and make it a great one. I have worked with him on collections of short stories, and literary novels—one of which became a bestseller. He studied what it was I was trying to do, then helped me do it better, with kind, encouraging, and effective editorial feedback. If you're willing to work, Michael will take you to the next level.”
—Simon Van Booy, author of The Illusion of Separateness
“From the moment I started working with Michael, he ‘got’ me and what I could achieve with my book. He isn’t afraid to give tough love to push you to be a better writer—and the quality of my latest book reflects that honesty. I’ll forever be grateful for his mad editing skills, kindness, and belief in what I could achieve. He sees what can be, not what is. That’s a rarity.”
—Dr. Sarah Parcak, author of Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past
“There are two qualities I look for in an editor: topsight and an ear for the rhythm of a sentence. Michael asks excellent questions that not only reflect a thorough understanding of a novel's structure and aims—any good editor can identify a weakness and apply pressure. What distinguishes his questions is their answerability. He has a great gift for seeing a book from above and asking big, answerable questions that advance the story. On a line-by-line level, Michael has an ear for dialogue and can see how sound shapes character. Working with him was a pleasure and made my novel significantly better.”
—Will Chancellor, author of A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall
“Michael’s work with my novel was so deep, keen, and creative, I asked him why he wasn’t writing his own books—he clearly had the heart and talent. He said he loves editing more. And that’s what I experienced: An inspired, egoless editor who loves what he does. I had an ally who helped me improve my story and moved me forward as a writer. Another way to say it: I trusted Michael with my weird, ungainly, 400-page baby, and he godfathered it into the world.”
—Dennis Mahoney, author of Bell Weather
“I loved working with Michael. He was enthusiastic about my book from the day he acquired it. When I (finally) turned in the manuscript, I remember saying to myself ‘I think there's a weak section in here, but let's see what Mike says’; he zeroed in exactly that spot and counseled me about how to fix it. After the editing work was done and the business of marketing began, I could not have asked for a better advocate. If you have the opportunity to work with him on your book, you should.”
—Christopher Bonanos, author of Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous