"Leslie Wells has an excellent sensibility, edits with great diligence, and has an uncanny ability to hit deadlines. I know that when she's handling a project, I don't have to worry—she will make it the best it could possibly be."
— Mauro DiPreta, Senior VP, Executive Editor, William Morrow Group, HarperCollins
"Leslie helped me cut out the flab to find the beating heart of my story. Her edits were drastic, but necessary. She explained why certain characters had to go, how to pick up the pace when the story dragged, and why the ending had to be completely re-written. And best of all, she held my hand the entire time! Her edits took my manuscript from 'promising' to 'publishable'!"
— Lori Kaufmann, author of Daughter of Jerusalem (forthcoming from Delacorte/Random House)
"I would have had no way of knowing when I jumped off a cliff all by myself on July 6, 2016, that the television world dynamic would change forever. The issue of sexual harassment in the workplace was once again in the forefront, and who would ever believe that in the 21st century every woman still had a story. But they did – and I started hearing from them – and deciding I had to write about them. I was lucky enough to work with Leslie, a seasoned editor who cared deeply about the subject matter. This was a fast-paced edit, and Leslie was on top of everything from start to finish. I valued her insights and suggestions to push the book to the next level. As we often said to one another, my book Be Fierce was not just a book, but a movement. I hope you will join us in being fierce together to empower girls and women all around the world!"
— Gretchen Carlson, author of Be Fierce, television news anchor and one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People in the World
"Leslie Wells possesses a deep, refined and highly attuned understanding of all aspects of writing–from the plot and construction of a book to the precision of a sentence. She is truly a writer's editor, who knows how to work closely with an author while never stepping on an author's instincts. Her insights and guidance have been truly invaluable to me."
— Candace Bushnell, author of Killing Monica and many other New York Times bestsellers including Sex and the City
"It was clear to me from the first pages I wrote about my journey as the mother of my terminally ill daughter, Brittany Maynard, that I would need a skilled editor. In my case, I was writing far too much and needed someone to help me sift through it.
Leslie Wells was pure genius at getting me to willingly hit the delete key. She also helped me aspire to be the best person that I could be, as I reviewed troubled terrain in my life. Indeed, Leslie facilitated my being a better version of me (on and off the page), which is really more than one can reasonably expect from an editor. Somehow, she firmly but gently managed to keep me moving onward and upward. She kept me from getting stuck.
Leslie encouraged me to "keep writing," to "get the story down" when I was emotionally wrung out. Later, when I felt stronger, she nudged me to look at where I needed to soften, strengthen, edit or delete parts of the story. Leslie challenged me to write the book I set out to write; a book that I hoped would be of use to others in their time of turmoil; a book that was missing from the shelves when Brittany was dying. Together, I think we achieved that goal."
— Deborah Ziegler, author of Wild and Precious Life
"It is difficult for me to truly express how grateful I was to have Leslie Wells work with me on my book, Grow Your Value. Leslie was amazing, from the start to finish, and consistently went above and beyond to make sure that everything was complete and perfect. It took very little time for Leslie to understand both my voice and my message, and I felt like she only improved what I was trying to express. Her talent is unmatched, and I know my book was better for having her insight, hard work, and talent through each step. I hope to have the opportunity to work with her again."
— Mika Brzezinski, Co-Host MSNBC's Morning Joe, Three-time New York Times bestselling author
"Leslie Wells is the consummate professional and I highly recommend her. She is smart, caring, patient, and wields her pencil with sensitivity, intelligence and experience. Any book on which she works her magic will be made better."
— Deb Futter, Vice President, Editor-in-Chief, Hardcovers, Grand Central Publishing
"It was a lucky day when Leslie Wells came into my life. I had been so terrified of writing my memoir, Home, that fourteen years elapsed between my signing the contract and producing the book itself. For most of those years I struggled on my own. My daughter Emma eventually joined me in the effort - but when Leslie came on board as my editor, it was as if my pen had been given wings. She has an infallible instinct for when to dig deeper, where to trim, how to encourage, what benchmarks to reach for, and all of this delivered with such tact and respect for the writer's journey. I felt safe and supported at all times, and would welcome the opportunity to work with her again."
— Julie Andrews, actress, singer, author of Home
"Leslie Wells was my sole editor for The Five People You Meet In Heaven, For One More Day, and Have A Little Faith. She is exceptionally bright, sensitive and receptive to a writer's work. She is both encouraging and constructive when she edits, and made everything I wrote better - while still keeping it 'my' work. I would recommend Leslie for any writer - fiction or non-fiction - who is looking for a supportive, encouraging, creative and helpfully critical voice. She is a delight to work with."
— Mitch Albom, author of The Five People You Meet In Heaven, For One More Day, and Have A Little Faith
"Leslie's one of the best. She has a great sense of structure, clear vision, and finely-tuned ear for what works and what doesn't. Not only that, but she's sane, smart, succinct, and a fast reader. We're not related, but I wish we were."
— Rebecca Wells, author of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Little Altars Everywhere, Ya-Yas in Bloom,and The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder
"Leslie is awesome. She is ridiculously responsive and insightful, and is a pleasure to work with. I would highly recommend her to anyone!"
— Jason Wachob, Founder of mindbodygreen.com; author of Wellth: Lessons for Redefining Success and Finding Health, Happiness, and Balance
"Leslie Wells, as the other testimonials attest, is smart, warm and responsive. She provides direction while supporting an author's voice, is there when you need her, and backs off when you don't. She has a brilliant eye for what to expand upon and what to edit out. She helped me turn my swamp of a memoir into a clear, mountain stream, and was there for me when I most needed her. But even now, now that my new book is done, I find that Leslie's wise voice is always there for me, no matter what I am writing. I suspect that everyone who works with Leslie is a better writer for it. I certainly am, and I will be forever grateful for her."
— Patricia McConnell, PhD, CAAB, author of The Education of Will: A Mutual Memoir of a Woman and Her Dog
"Leslie Wells has a magic, confident-but-light touch. Her intuitive insights and spot-on line edits helped me to access and expand the heart and essence of my characters. There is a "Before Leslie" and an "After Leslie." Believe me, "After Leslie" was well worth the trust I invested in her on behalf of my novel, Stolen Beauty."
— Laurie Albanese, author of Stolen Beauty
"Leslie Wells has edited a number of our titles, from New York Times bestseller Finding Me by Michelle Knight, to literary fiction such as Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekback. Leslie's work is creative and outstanding; I greatly value her versatility, her diplomacy, and her ability to meet every deadline. She always delivers beyond what is required. I can't recommend her highly enough."
— Amanda Murray, Editorial Director, Weinstein Books
"Leslie and I worked together for seventeen years at Hyperion, and she was our secret weapon, editing almost all of our #1 bestsellers — from Mitch Albom to Oprah Winfrey to Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. Leslie is not only a skilled, old-school line editor; she is unusually good at helping authors shape their books and hone their concepts."
— Robert Miller, Publisher, Flatiron Books
"Leslie edited my first two books, Life Strategies and Relationship Rescue. Her comments were astute and insightful, and she was a pleasure to work with."
— Dr. Phil McGraw, New York Times bestselling author and host of the Dr. Phil show
"Leslie Wells was my editor for four novels, which I truly believe became bestsellers due to her very fine editing. I was aware that my second novel, The Sunday Wife, had a hundred or so excess pages in the manuscript — mostly unnecessary scenes, repetition, and inflated prose. However, I had never done such extensive editing of my own work, and was at a loss as to how to begin. Leslie gave me expert advice and care throughout the whole process, and I came out with a pruned and polished product. In addition, Leslie is such a thoughtful and compassionate person that working with her was a pleasure."
— Cassandra King, author of The Sunday Wife, The Same Sweet Girls, and Queen of Broken Hearts
"I feel so fortunate to have worked with Leslie on both of my novels. Her insightful feedback was always attentive to my vision for the books, while helping to craft them into infinitely more polished products. Leslie's comments are thoughtful, sensitive, yet tough enough to push the work in necessary directions that I wouldn't have been able to see on my own. I trust her implicitly. Her instincts for what readers and the marketplace want are unfailing. Any book will be stronger for her involvement."
— Katherine Howe, author of New York Times bestseller The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and The House of Velvet and Glass
"Working with Leslie is like having Manuscript GPS. For my first novel, When Life Gives You Melons, Leslie respected where I wanted to take my readers, and offered guidance in mapping out that journey. Her recommendations for what should be cut increased the pacing of my novel, and her ideas for additions added character depth. I don't know how she pulled it off, but her suggestions gave me clear direction, yet were vague enough to foster the creativity I needed to make the revisions sparkle. On a personal level, I'd expected to feel intimated by someone with such impressive credentials. Instead, Leslie's warm style put me at ease, and her respect for my ability boosted my confidence. When I shared my solution for one of her comments, she responded, "I love it. That image would make a great cover for the novel." Her belief in me, and that cover art visual, sustained me through the rest of the revision process."
— Shelley Nolden, author of the novel, When Life Gives You Melons
"When I first told a friend I had hired Leslie Wells to edit my new novel, I mentioned that I wanted her to give me the "tough love" I needed (after already going through six or seven drafts on my own.) He said she would, but that she would also follow the physician's oath, "First, do no harm." Music to my ears. Leslie is indeed a book "doctor" – the kind you'd find at the very best hospital. She knows just where to cut - she gives you the exact amount of anesthesia you need - but she's also there after the operation, to answer all your scared, timid questions. And not just big, pie-in-the-sky questions, but all that little niggling stuff too: down to the very last semi-colon. To say she gave me the confidence I needed to get the book finally done, and to know it was the best product I could deliver, is an understatement. Sometimes I'm not sure if I'll ever write another book again, but I do know that I would never attempt another one, without Leslie Wells."
— Kim Powers, author of the novels The History of Swimming and Capote in Kansas: A Ghost Story
"Second novels are notoriously difficult to write, and mine has not been an exception. I completed a first draft and was told by the editor who published my first novel that it wasn't fully "cooked." As Faulkner said, "You must kill all your darlings," but I didn't know who to kill or where to start.
"I needed a kind but murderous eye. Leslie's suggestions were radical. She immediately got what the book was about and helped me focus and delve more deeply into character and plot. She was encouraging and enthusiastic about what worked, and insightful about what got in the way. I felt like she was a master gardener who pulled out the weeds, but didn't throw away the flowers. Obviously, it's up to me to make the novel "grow," but without her, it would surely have withered on the vine. She is a truly talented editor and a pleasure to work with."
— Mary Pleshette Willis, author of the novel Papa's Cord
"After sitting on a complete draft of my novel for ten years because I was unsure of how to fix some major plot points in need of serious revision, Leslie's suggestions were invaluable. I can't wait to get started revising my novel armed now with a clear plan for how to go about making the changes. She was thorough and took her time working with my manuscript."
— Alisha Davlin, author of the novel The Opium Diaries
"Leslie Wells is an exceptionally effective writing coach. She is tough and encouraging and asks great questions, in all the right places. She helped me discover an effective form and voice for my book. Working with her from the beginning of my project enabled me to relax and let go of my fears so that I could write from my heart. I recommend her without hesitation."
— William Rosenzweig, Managing Partner, Physic Ventures; coauthor of The Republic of Tea
"Having never written a book before Against the Grain, I honestly had no idea what I was getting into. "Hey, get an advance, write a book with some cool anecdotes, and on to the next project" was my initial thought, "No big deal!"
After the first 18,000 words, I found myself in a book-induced mental coma. I have started a business from scratch and built it to 120 employees in 7 years, I have turned around habitually failing inner city football teams, I have spoken to audiences all over the country in large, intimidating venues, but writing this book has been the most daunting task for me to date, and Leslie was my life support.
Besides the fact that she is brilliant and highly skilled at her craft, she is kind and warm. Her thoughtful edits and advice come second only to her encouragement and guidance. In a very short time, I no longer approached her as an editor, but rather as a friend whose venerable experience and knowledge were paramount to whatever success my book would have.
The experience of writing Against the Grain has taught me a host of lessons. Two, though, are unmistakably most important. First, there is never enough time in a deadline, and there is no such thing as a last edit. Second, and most importantly, if I am ever audacious enough to write another book, I simply will not do it unless Leslie Wells is the editor."
— Bill Courtney, featured in the Oscar-winning documentary Undefeated; author of Against the Grain
"Leslie edited Fannie's Last Supper, which was an editor's nightmare; a mishmash of competing historical timelines, tenuously related narratives from the history of Boston to the making of the dinner, and a manuscript that had to be cut from 130,000 words down to 85,000. Leslie gamely took this project in hand and sculpted a coherent, compelling story, an editing feat akin to turning the Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire into a New Yorker article. In a world bereft of editors who know their craft, Leslie stands among the rare few who the difference between copy editing and editing. Bravo!"
— Christopher Kimball, host of America's Test Kitchen; founder/publisher, Cook's Illustrated; author of Fannie's Last Supper
"Leslie Wells held the vision for and edited all the Don't Sweat the Small Stuff book series. Behind every great writer there is a great editor, and this is Leslie Wells. She cuts the fat out and brings the heart of your message to your readers with clear intention and focus. I highly recommend her work and plan to continue working with her myself."
— Kristine Carlson, coauthor with Richard Carlson, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Women and Don't Sweat the Small Stuff in Love; author, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms
"Leslie Wells was an exceptional editor of my book, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness. Leslie Wells took my book through several drafts. She did major editing of the book, from shaping and concepting the material, to cutting the material, down to line- editing. The book was far better for her work on it. The success of the book - e.g. being on the NY Times bestseller list and named a "Top Ten Nonfiction Book of the Year" by Time Magazine - would not have happened but for the wonderful work Leslie Wells did on my book. She's the best!"
— Elyn Saks, New York Times bestselling author of The Center Cannot Hold
"The brilliant and charming Leslie Wells edited my last two cookbooks, In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite and Cook This Now. And she is everything a person could want in an editor -- she takes the long view, and has a light touch. In other words, she thought of everything I forgot, and always had my back - while keeping the integrity of my prose intact."
— Melissa Clark, Columnist, New York Times Dining Section; author of In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite and Cook This Now
"Leslie Wells is a brilliant, exceptional editor. Not only did she help shape and mold my manuscript to make it a better one, she gently pulled material out of me that I had no idea existed. She is an encouraging and sensitive editor, and creates a very safe and creative environment, which is imperative. I learned so much from working with her that I felt as if I'd been on an exciting writing course. I can't recommend her highly enough."
— Kate Mayfield, author of the memoir, The Undertaker's Daughter
"Leslie Wells has a profound gift in her ability to take the very best of you and, develop, nurture, and challenge what lies within, and in the process make you the writer you once dreamed you might be. Professional, prompt, and focused, it was a joy to work with her on my project."
— Paul Dolman, author of Hitchhiking with Larry David (to be published by Gotham/ Penguin Publishers in 2013)
"Leslie's insight, discipline, and most particularly, encouragement, were invaluable to this first-time author. I'll be forever grateful for her input on everything from chapter flow to clarity, always emphasizing my voice in the story. I may do this again one day, but only if Leslie is available."
— David Picker, author of Musts, Maybes and Nevers: A Book about the Movies; former President of United Artists, Paramount, and Columbia
"Leslie believed in my book even before I was sure I could pull it off. She is a wonderfully compassionate and pleasingly concise editor. Such a pleasure to work with!"
— Joy Wilson, author of Joy the Baker Cookbook
"As a first-time author, I was very grateful to have Leslie Wells as my editor. She's thoughtful, thorough, and always enthusiastic. Her expert advice and guidance made working on The Homesick Texan Cookbook a genuine pleasure."
— Lisa Fain, author of The Homesick Texan Cookbook
"Do you want an editor or a partner? How about both? Leslie Wells doesn't just know words, she knows how to give a writer freedom and feedback. She offers that rare combination in an editor: A gift for respecting a writer's voice and a determination not to settle for anything less than the best possible book within a writer's grasp."
— Steve Luxenberg, author of the award-winning Annie's Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret
"I cannot speak highly enough about Leslie Wells as an editor. What she does with books is almost surgical. Leslie took my book draft-by-draft, line-by-line and improved every page. When we were done, I went from feeling like I had a manuscript, to having the actual book I'd always dreamt of writing—one that even became a New York Times bestseller. Leslie is a master at hearing your book's true message and working painstakingly to bring that message forward with fluidity and precision. I'm so grateful we had a chance to work together."
— Liz Murray, author of Breaking Night: A Memoir
"I deeply appreciated Leslie's help writing my book on fertility. Leslie guided me through the process with the confidence of an expert. Not only well organized, she is a thoughtful partner, providing insight and valuable feedback. Finally, and crucially, writing with Leslie reduced the stress and increased the pleasure!"
— Victoria Maizes, M.D., Executive Director, Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine; Professor of Clinical Medicine, Family Medicine, and Public Health, University of Arizona
"As a first-time author, Leslie guided the process in a gentle, precise, and professional way. Her comments were always insightful and constructive. She was an absolute pleasure to work with!"
— Amy Atlas, author of Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It
© Copyright 2012. Leslie Wells Editorial. All Rights Reserved.