Making Wild Books, Movies, and Waves In the New Frontier

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Dear gang –

This one’s for the writers and small press publishers in the studio audience tonight, and all those at home, who’ve read my work and/or my thoughts on modern storytelling, and thought, “Jeez, I wish that John Skipp fellow would apply his fancy-pants editing skills to slicing the fat, focusing the moments, and amping the impact of MY new book!”

As fate would have it, I’m on temporary furlough from acquisition duties at Ravenous Shadows. We’re not buying any more new books at the moment (no, we will not approach 40 titles this year, but get ready for our launch of THE DARK on Oct. 16).

As a result -- and in order to keep fighting the good fight, with a roof over my head – my trouble-shooting six-guns of love are up for freelance editorial hire, as of right this very second.

What does this mean?

Well, if you’re a new writer who believes you’ve written something powerful, and maybe even important – which means, basically, ALL of you – but wants to take it to the highest possible level, I just might be the guy to help get you there. For a reasonable price.

At this point, rather than toot my own horn, I suspect some incredibly glowing testimonials might be in order, all volunteered by some of the very kind, immensely gifted authors I’ve edited and published over this past year.

“Having John Skipp edit my novel was like taking an intensive, masters level course in horror writing with the coolest, smartest, most talented professional in the business. If you ever are lucky enough to have the chance to work with Skipp, JUMP on it.” --Jan Kozlowski, author of DIE, YOU BASTARD! DIE!

"Skipp's a colossal editorial talent, in there at a particle level, knowing precisely the moves required to wring maximum emotion, resonance, depth, and entertainment value out of any piece of work. It would be an injustice to say he enhanced my book -- for he did more than that. He enhanced my discipline and self-awareness as a writer, and stretched me in ways that I didn't think possible." -- Eric Shapiro, author of THE DEVOTED

"John Skipp is a brilliant editor with laser-sharp eyes and a wealth of experience. Not only does he understand how fiction works, he knows how powerful your story can be. Hire him now, thank me later." - Peter Giglio, co-author of THE DARK

"John Skipp is not only one of the great writers of our generation, he is both mentor and a truly great editor to new and up-and-coming authors. He is an editor who truly 'gets' story, from the experimental to the traditional narrative. Skipp is the most valuable asset an author can get." – Laura Lee Bahr, author of HAUNT

“To say that working with John Skipp has been a dream come true would not only be a cliché, it would be an understatement. Skipp's editorial style is that of a high-end personal trainer. He pinpoints the areas of the work that need focus, tones everything up, and helps an author cut out every square inch of flab. John left me with a deeper understanding of pacing, and his influence had made me a much better writer.

“John's editorial insight is exceeded only by his interpersonal skills. Although we're located on opposite ends of the country, I never once sent an email that was not responded to within 24 hours. In most cases, an informative, encouraging response was at my inbox within a matter of minutes. He was a pleasure to work with, and my book was made innumerably better by his input.” – Adam Cesare, author of TRIBESMEN

THANKS, YOU GUYS! I loved working with you, too!

But like any gunslinger worth his weight in mayhem, I don’t risk my hide on every project that’s offered. So here are the three criteria I need you to take note of:


I’m not accepting embryonic manuscripts or pitches. You can’t afford my help in constructing your story from the ground up, and I don’t have that kind of time.

I’m here to fix existing works that are almost there, but need the extra firepower perspective it will take to authentically kick ass.

Works, in short, that I believe in. And believe I can truly help.

From there, please know: I have zero interest in overwhelming your voice, or turning it into my own. My job is to help you make sure you told the story you wanted to tell, the way you wanted to tell it. Focusing in on what you’re up to – from story to style to technique to intent – and getting that sucker nailed.


Not everybody responds to editing well. Nit-picking through your work is hard, and often hammering. There’s a lot of serious back-and-forth involved.

Bottom line: the most important elements in an author/editor relationship are trust, respect, and the ability to get along. Love and fun are right up there, too. But quite frankly, I love and enjoy a lot of people I could not possibly work with at the level of creative intimacy required to make a good book great.


Like any gun-for-hire, the words “for-hire” are the lynchpin. Flat out: I’m soliciting gigs because

a) It’s a skill I have
b) I love to work hard at things I believe in, and
c) I need the money.

There are lots of people on the open market who are willing to fiddle with your book with you, if you pay them enough. Maybe it’ll help. Maybe it won’t.

But if you know my work, you know what I bring to the table. You know what kind of attention to detail I apply to everything from character and story arc to action scenes and grand finales.

I’m not asking for insane rates. Just competitive ones. As shown below:

And just so you know, up front: I’m not gonna milk my hourly rates, find ways to drag things out indefinitely. I’m not a guru or a therapist, engaged in life-long exploration. I just wanna get in and out – with tactical precision, and tangible results – as quickly as possible. Earn my pay. Receive it. And ride off into the west.

So, in summation:

I am available, for a limited time. If you want to make your book kill, and think I could help, then now’s your big chance.

Drop me a private note here or on Facebook for further details, okay?

Yer gunslingin’ pal,


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