short-story-editing-800-sizeLiterary magazines only publish 1 – 3% of the stories they receive.

To land one of those coveted slots, you might need some professional feedback. That’s where I can help.

I’ve been editing short stories for more than a decade, have a book of short stories published by Press 53, and have published extensively in places like Third CoastCrazyhorseChicago Tribune, and Shenandoah.

If you’re ready to take your writing to the next level, it’s time to work together.



3 Reasons to Hire a Short Story Editor

Competition is stiff for short stories.

Sure, Duotrope lists 5,700 markets for literary magazines, but there are hundreds of thousands of writers competing for those slots. Be a cut above the rest by getting professional short story editing.

Your name will forever be attached to this story. Don’t do slipshod work.

After all, do you want the reader to shrug at your story, or even admire it, or do you want to make them laugh, cry, and remember your name? Make your story as powerful as it can be. 

Professional advice will elevate your story.

Is the ending perfect? Does your main character change? Will the reader feel what you want them to feel? I’ve given feedback on thousands of stories, many of which have been published in prestigious journals, and I can help you navigate these tricky questions.


My Methods of Editing

I always try to fulfill your vision for the story.

Bad short story editors impose their vision on your work. I pay attention to your intentions and suggest edits based on what I think your perfect vision of the work would be. This means paying attention to your voice, your style, and your plot. 

I am both kind and tough.

You don’t want a yes-man to edit your story, and you don’t want a high school football coach screaming obscenities. From me you’ll receive genuine compliments on what you’re doing well, and firm critiques of what can be improved. I don’t want writers to be depressed after feedback, but neither do I want anyone to walk away without a solid list of what they can do to improve their story.

I offer sentence-level editing and big-picture editing.

Your story will receive detailed line edits with the Track Changes function in Word, and you will also receive a 1 – 2 page essay talking about all the different elements of your story — plot, characters, opening, ending, voice, plausibility, emotion, sense of place, and anything else that is appropriate. 


More About Me:

john-headshot-480-by-720Book: My short story collection “I Will Shout Your Name,” is forthcoming from Press 53.

Publications: I’ve won the Shenandoah fiction award and the Third Coast fiction contest, as well as been a finalist for the Chicago Tribune Nelson Algren award. I’ve published 40+ pieces of short fiction in literary journals, including Crazyhorse, Arts & Letters, and Los Angeles Review.

Teaching: For over a decade I taught writing and creative writing at institutions like the University of Southern California and Chapman University.

Degrees: I earned two graduate degrees in creative writing, one from New York University and the other from the University of Southern California.

Short Story Writing: Over the last decade, I’ve written 800+ posts here at Bookfox on writing and short stories, including my Ranking of Literary Journals and my reviews of short story collections and literary magazines.


How Does it Work?

1. I’ll read your short story multiple times, and give extensive, detailed feedback on things you are doing well and things you could improve.

2. Within 5 days I’ll email you my feedback. At this point I’d like to hear what was helpful and if you have any additional questions.

3. You do the revisions and walk away with a vastly improved short story, one that readers will love and that will have a much better chance competing against hundreds of other stories for a coveted spot in a magazine.

Don’t waste time submitting subpar stories to literary journals. I’ve had multiple literary agents contact me after I published short stories, so short story publication can really jumpstart your writing career.

Why Choose Me?

hourglass1. I’m fast.

I’ve heard so many stories about writers sending stories and books to editors and not hearing back for months. Don’t let that happen to you. I edit short stories within 5 days, and short story collections within 2 weeks. I don’t take clients if I don’t have the time to edit them, which means I never put you on a waiting list.

brightness2. I have vast experience.

With more than a decade editing client manuscripts, I’ve been doing this longer than most editors. I’ve edited every genre of writing out there, from literary to sci-fi to romance (and enjoy it all, too). Don’t hire someone who’s a greenhorn. Your writing deserves an experienced eye.

pencil3. I do much more than correct grammar and punctuation.

I’m not an editor who marks up possessives and missed words and calls it a day. My specialty is developmental editing. That means I’m giving you substantial feedback on everything about your story. Think of me as a consultant for your writing skills, not just for this story, but for all of your writing.


“I learned more from John’s edits than I’ve learned from my last three writing classes combined.”

– Lee Waxenberg

“I’ve been a Bookfox reader for some time, so I already knew he was talented. His editing services exceeded expectations. He helped me identify places to devote more attention and provided thoughtful ideas to begin implementing his feedback. I’ll be working with him again in the future. Can’t wait.”

– Chris Jones

“John helped me edit a short story that I recently submitted for publication. His feedback is concise and insightful. He blends support with sharp-eyed critique. If there are post-edit questions he answers them in detail. Working with John serves as a great learning experience and a leap toward recognition by the greater community of writers and publishers.”

– Terry Williams

“John Fox edited a short story of mine. I’d been having trouble with it and had no idea how to progress. With lucid application he showed me the way around my difficulties. His criticisms were never harsh or hurtful; they were, quite simply, constructive and germane. It was a most worthwhile interaction.”

– Yvonne Fein

“John provided prompt and complete editing services for my compendium of short stories. His insights and suggestions are spot on. Although I did not change or implement all of them, I did most. I made errors in points of view and past/present references, all of which he caught. I can endorse his services without reservation.”

– David M. Mokotoff

“John was extremely helpful and very honest. All of his thoughtful comments made total sense. Will definitely use him again.”

– Karen Sherwood

“John provides just the right combination of encouragement and solid feedback that can greatly improve a piece of fiction. What I particularly like about John’s approach is his ability to understand where a writer is developmentally and speak to him or her on that level. As a teacher, he is totally approachable, clear in the points he makes and very enthusiastic. This is a huge bonus when one is contemplating returning to one’s chair to make edits and do rewrites.”

– Maisie Wheeler

“John has an editor’s mind, a writer’s eye, and a teacher’s mentality. He challenged me to identify a deeper vision for my work, then cultivate my stories to achieve that vision in the most compelling way possible. I’ve never revised more thoroughly, and I’ve never been more pleased with the results. He gave me the feedback I needed to submit my MFA applications with confidence.”

– Mason David Boyles

What is Your Pricing?
I charge $250 for stories less than 6,000 words.

I charge $350 for stories between 6,000 words and 9,000 words.

If you write flash fiction, I treat 3 stories as a single short story: $250.

If you’re interested in editing for a short story collection, there is special pricing. Contact me using the form below and tell me the number of stories in the collection, as well as the total word count.

Buy Now via Paypal or Credit Card:


After paying, email me your story:


Have Questions?

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

What is your question?