I have six years of experience editing fiction and nonfiction for the literary journals Gulf Coast and Hayden’s Ferry Review. At Gulf Coast, I edited prominent authors like Carmen Maria Machado, Brandon Taylor, Kristen Arnett, Jamel Brinkley, C Pam Zhang, and others. I hold an MFA in fiction and a PhD in Literature and Creative writing, and I have taught writing courses for the University of Houston, Arizona State University, the Inprint Foundation, and Catapult. My honors include fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Tin House Summer Workshop, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. My first novel, The Atmospherians, was published by Atria in May 2021 and was named a NY Times Editors' Choice.
I love working with writers at all levels. It would be an honor to bring my expertise as an editor, teacher, and writer to your current project. Prose manuscripts of all lengths are welcome, from short stories to full-length memoirs. I look forward to reading your work!
Tier 1: Manuscript Read and Consultation Letter.
Two thorough reads of the manuscript and a written response outlining major takeaways and big picture reactions. Written response includes ideas for revision and potential venues for publication.
Tier 2: Manuscript Read, Consultation Letter, and 30-minute Phone/Zoom/Text Chat.
Includes everything from Tier 1 plus a conversation between author and editor about the manuscript consultation letter, future revision strategies, and anything pertinent to the manuscript or revision process. Conversation will occur via a medium of the author’s choice.
Tier 3: Manuscript Read, Line Editing, and Consultation Letter.
Line edits and margin notes will be made on the manuscript. Margin notes will focus on craft elements of characterization, tone, language, setting, plot, and dialogue. Writer will also be given the chance to specify an area of focus for the margin notes—i.e., character over plot, language over setting. Includes written response outlining major takeaways and big picture reactions.
Tier 4: Manuscript Read, Line Editing, Consultation Letter, and 30-minute Phone/Zoom/Text Chat.
Everything from Tier 3 plus a 30-minute conversation with the editor.
“When it comes to editing, Isle is a real powerhouse. They were extremely careful with my story and worked tirelessly to craft the draft to its best possible shape. It was a genuine pleasure to receive their notes throughout the process. Every thoughtful comment that Alex provided helped make the story better - in the process, it made me a better writer.”
– Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things and With Teeth
“Isle McElroy is just the kind of reader and editor every writer dreams of working with—sharp, curious, patient, and alive to the needs and possibilities of a story. Isle was one of the first editors I worked with, and I found them to be a supportive and generous collaborator in the editorial process. They’re the real deal."
– Brandon Taylor, author of Real Life and Filthy Animals
"Isle is that best thing in an editor: a true collaborator. They read my work thoughtfully and respectfully, asking the right questions along the way. Never pushy, but always probing, Isle wanted exactly what I did - to make the work more brilliantly itself."
– C Pam Zhang, author of How Much of These Hills is Gold
"I feel lucky to have Isle McElroy as a reader of my work. Isle is not only widely read and possessed of a keen critical mind, but they are also generous and kind, able to provide feedback that both builds a writer up and unlocks a story’s utmost potential. And all this is delivered with a wit and sense of collaborative ease that makes the process feel enlivening."
– Mary South, author of You Will Never Be Forgotten
"What a gift it was to work with Isle. They asked all the right questions to help me elevate my work. I’m so grateful for Isle's perceptive guidance and their gentle encouragement to dive deeper into themes and ideas I hadn’t given myself permission to explore. They have a pretty special mind, and I was honored to be in conversation with them, untangling topics that are difficult to transfer to the page.”
– Devon Fredericksen, past client and author of How to Camp in the Woods