WHO AM I?
I’ve got almost two decades of 360-degree publishing experience, having started and run two critically acclaimed houses: Bleak House Books and Tyrus Books. I’ve written about the publishing industry for a variety of websites and have been a featured speaker at many writing conferences. I was named to Publishers Weekly’s “Fifty Under Forty” list. Books from Bleak House and Tyrus have received dozens of starred reviews in trade publications, have been finalists for nearly all crime fiction awards (including Edgar Award finalists in three categories in 2008, the only time a small press has accomplished that feat), have won the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, have achieved USA Today bestselling status, and were selected as an Okra Pick from SIBA.
In 2011 I sold Tyrus Books to F+W Media. In 2016, Tyrus Books was sold by F+W Media to CBS/Simon & Schuster.
In 2017 Simon & Schuster’s Gallery imprint took possession of the Tyrus Books’ catalog and I took possession of my garden. After a few months of pulling weeds and taking care of things on my To Do List, I’m ready to help authors with their projects.
For a longer bio, click here.
Who are You?
You’re a writer who is serious about making your book the best it can be. You’re willing to let go of ego during the editorial process to hear feedback and understand that an editor is there to assist.
What IS MY SPECIALTY?
Commercial, Literary, and Crime Fiction. I will look at non-fiction on a project-by-project basis.
What services do I provide?
Partial Manuscript Critique – I’ll gladly read the first 10, 25, 50, 100 pages to let you know how effective they are at grabbing the reader’s attention. You will receive an editorial letter that addresses the overarching issues with special attention paid to pace, style, characterization, and plot. We’ll have a discussion about my notes and what they mean for your project.
Full Manuscript Critique – I’ll read your whole book and provide the same type of feedback provided in the description above. Obviously, the more of your book I have, the more comprehensive the feedback. With a read of the entire manuscript I’ll be able to discuss pacing, style, characterization, and plot, but I’ll also be able to tell you how well it all comes together. Many potentially great books fall apart at the end; don’t let yours be one of them.
Developmental Editing – We’ll lace up the work boots and make it the best it can be. Not only will I give you the overview critique above, but I’ll also mark up your book on a page-by-page basis with specific and detailed notes, pointing out sentences that don’t click, sections that drag, and also, what makes your book special.
Query Letter Consultation – Yes, they’re a pain. No, they’re not easy. But writing a great query letter is essential for getting the attention of your dream agent or publisher. How do I know? Because I’ve read through thousands of them over the years. I know what caught my attention. I also know what turns people off from reading another word.
General Consulting – Have questions about the process? Need to make sense of all the insider language? Want to talk about the intricacies of the publishing world? Curious about implementing social media to build your brand? I’ve spent almost two decades having to understand all angles of the industry and can help you make sense of it. Let’s talk.
No Residency, Non-Accredited MFA Program – Want the wholly encompassing experience of an MFA program but don’t have $30,000? I’ve got an option for you targeted towards your inner writer and your inner adventurer. Here’s how it goes–we’ll talk for a few weeks on the phone, I’ll learn about your project and your goals. And then I’ll build a road trip based on what I think would best serve you. We’ll travel together, stopping to visit noteworthy people and places in America to help you better realize your story and your writing purpose. When I drop you off, you’ll go work on your project. You can send me your work as you are writing and I’ll be there to discuss it from Word One until The End. You get all the best parts of the MFA experience on a hyper-personalized and more economical basis.
Teaching and Speaking – I’ve spoken at dozens of writing conferences (Crimebake, Willamette Writers, Sleuthfest, Grub Street, and others) and universities across the country including, giving the keynote at the Writer’s Digest conference. I’m available to lead workshops, listen to queries, and answer questions about publishing in small group settings.
Coaching – Need somebody to hold you accountable? Want to have a sounding board who can help you with a mixture of artistic understanding and necessary honesty? I’ll be there.
“Ben LeRoy is that rarest of things–an editor who understands his writers’ intentions even better than they do–which means he isn’t just an editor but an accomplice, a facilitator, and, at times, a magician. Working with Ben not only made SMALL TREASONS a better book; it made me a better writer. His editorial guidance has been–and remains–one of the treasures of my writing life.”
– Mark Powell, author of Small Treasons (a SIBA Okra selection)
“Long story short, there are few individuals I’ve spent so little face-to-face time with who have had more of an impact on my life. From the notes on RUTHLESS that made all the difference in helping me get an agent and a Big Five publishing contract to serendipitously inspiring my stand-up comedy, I owe a lot to Ben LeRoy. He’s one of the good ones, you guys.”
– Carolyn Lee Adams, author of Ruthless
“Ben LeRoy is the standard by which all my future editors will be judged. He’s exactly what writers need: soft and gentle with his criticism, hard and heavy with his encouragement, completely devoid of ego, and committed to the writer’s vision rather than his own. He’s exactly what readers need: intensely aware of how stories and the emotions underlying those stories work, unafraid to work with writers until the work is something that will sell, and abounding with solid instincts about how to keep the pages turning. Those traits combined with his extensive years as an industry insider and his willingness to give his writers the “keys to the kingdom” when discussing the labyrinthine world of publishing makes him the perfect person to make any of us better at our craft while also making us more marketable in a competitive industry.”
– Matthew Hefti, author of A Hard & Heavy Thing
“Ben Leroy’s knowledge of the writing world is encyclopedic. He knows authors, agents, editors, publishers, and publicists, but most of all he knows books. His passion for great literature is a rare thing in this modern world, and his excitement for the written word is infectious. As an editor, he will sit on the phone with you and talk through an entire manuscript. He takes diligent notes, asks profound questions, and challenges you to complete your best work.”
–Peter Brown Hoffmeister, author of Graphic the Valley and Too Shattered for Mending
“Ben LeRoy gets writers. He knows story. He understands character and human connection. And most importantly, he goes with his gut. That’s how he built two successful publishing companies. That’s how he shepherds books like mine through the process of becoming the best they can be. The guy’s got vision. Ben LeRoy changed my life. If you’re smart, you’ll let him change yours.”
– Joe Nelms, author of The Last Time I Died & Formerly Fingerman
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