Jerry Gross, freelance editor

jerry gross

A fiction and nonfiction generalist editor for over forty years, I do in-depth, problem-solving editorial critiques. Other editorial services include cutting, restructuring, rewriting, and line editing. I also develop, critique and edit fiction and nonfiction proposals. My editorial suggestions point out what works in the manuscript, and offer solutions to any problems I see. My comments are made in the margins of the manuscript, and then recapped in an accompanying report. I encourage questions and comments after the author receives the critique. My goals are to help the author write to the best of his or her ability, teach writing skills valuable not only for the current manuscript but for those to come, and to make the manuscript as effective and salable as possible.

I edit and critique all areas of mainstream fiction except category romances, westerns, Science Fiction and Fantasy and children’s books. I edit and critique all areas of nonfiction except finance, sports, religion and inspiration.

FICTION AREAS IN WHICH I SPECIALIZE: Commercial mainstream novels, historicals, YA fiction with a male protagonist, literary novels, gay fiction, mysteries, thrillers, espionage, adventure and other genres of male-oriented escape fiction.

NONFICTION AREAS: Memoirs, the art and craft of editing, writing and publishing, popular health, medicine, psychology, personal relationships, business psychology, politics, history, social issues, movies, TV, theater, print and other mass media.

I am the editor of EDITORS ON EDITING: WHAT WRITERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WHAT EDITORS DO. Grove-Atlantic published the completely revised third edition of EOE in 1993. First published in 1962, it has become the standard work on trade book editing in our country, used in publishing, editing and creative writing courses and at writers’ conferences. In 1991 the book was published in Chinese in China and Taiwan, and is used to train editors at the Chinese Publishing Institute.

CAREER HISTORY: VP and Editorial Director of Paperback Library; VP and Editorial Director of Warner Books, VP and Associate Editor in Chief of New American Library, Editor in Chief of Everest Books, Senior Editor of Dodd, Mead & Company. During my career I created the Gothic Romance and Regency Romances as paperback categories (which endure to this day), created the first TV/Paperback tie-ins, and introduced Edgar Cayce and Georgette Heyer to paperbacks.

WRITER’S CONFERENCE APPEARANCES: When not editing and critiquing, I create and give presentations on editing and writing and publishing at writers’ conferences and universities.


“Your ability to see weaknesses and your suggestions for correcting them were invaluable to us….Your fine-tuning of expression page by page was always helpful and we always took your advice.

“Years of editing experience were obvious in each suggestion you made. You quickly saw flaws where we had seen none! You got under the skin of each of our characters, giving us ideas on their development all throughout. The book is a much better book because of your thoughtful advice. You are a pleasure to work with, and we both appreciate your being so quick to respond to all of our queries.

“We both look forward to the publication of the manuscript, and to working with you again, should we attempt another one.”
— Elizabeth Shannon and William Rademaekers

“I am writing to tell you what a pleasure our association has been for me…. I, personally, am most impressed by the way in which you have worked with me in the critique of my novel…. As one who has edited academic journals, I know the difference between an editor who forces the prose to form to his or her style and an editor who teases the best from the author’s work. Surely you belong to that latter group, one who reads between the lines to determine the author’s intent and to help him or her to that level; e.g. moving a chunk of paragraphs to an eminently better place in a chapter that I’d not seen despite multiple previous rewrites. Your suggestions about the structure of the novel, i.e. characterization, conflict, suspense, resolution, etc., have been invariably insightful and imaginative, our discussions, like brainstorming sessions, always left me exhilarated rather than despairing of finding my way…. Today I feel as though I’ve had a wonderful graduate course in novel writing. Thank you for that.

“Now, seven months into our relationship, four of which were intensive work on the book, I’m also pleased to consider you a friend as well as mentor, editor and muse. For more reasons than I have mentioned here, I’m truly pleased to know you will help me with my next book later this year.”— Jim Duggins

“Your professional honesty made my manuscript much better, and I can’t thank you enough for making my book the best it could possibly be….Your pleasant personality is a great balance to your cogent editing.  I hope we get an opportunity to work together again.”— Peter M. Dunne

“I am writing to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed working with you over the past year and to thank you for all your help and advice….What I found most noteworthy, and particularly helpful, was your willingness to spend time with me to answer my questions and to kick around ideas. You were expansive with your comments and I never felt rushed when we spoke.  Indeed you were happy to take as much time with me as I needed and you were genuinely interested in my project.  I am grateful for your candor  when critiquing my manuscript and vetting my ideas.

“So, again thank you and, if you wish, you’re welcome to share this letter with your prospective clients.”— William G. Byrnes

“Jerry Gross was essential to the success of my novel.  During the months I worked with Jerry Gross, he challenged me to re-examine my characters at every level of the plot  and story….He asked provocative questions that pushed my imagination and writing skills to new levels….I cannot recommend Jerry Gross highly enough.  He is magnificent to work with and really cared about my work.”— John M. Weiskopf



TEL: (914) 271-8705