Sione Aeschliman (pronounced see-OWN ASH-lemon) is an editor and writing coach with a Master's degree in English and over fourteen years of editing experience. Despite living in Portland, Oregon, she does not own a bicycle and is woefully underprepared for the zombie apocalypse. She does, however, live with an adorkable dog named Milton who's an Expert Urban Forager. She can't wait to read the submissions, reconnect with members of the Twitter writing community, and meet new writer-friends.
What kind of entries are you looking for in this contest?
I'm accepting submissions of YA, NA, and A novels in any genre.*
I'm particularly passionate about character-driven narratives that explore important questions about being human in ways that are fresh, accessible, deeply connecting, and entertaining, and I gravitate toward work that's a little off-center from the mainstream, such as cross-genre work and work that challenges societal norms and/or the conventions of a genre. Complexity and moral gray areas? New twists on tropes? Ownvoices POC, mental illness, person with a disability, or LGBTQA+? A book with real feels? Yes, please!
If your book contains graphic depictions of rape, torture, or pet murder/mutilation, I will consider it, but please include a trigger warning in your query letter.
*I am NOT a good fit for military thrillers, were-creatures (unless lighthearted or tongue-in-cheek, e.g. The X-Files S10E3); horrotica; gory horror in the vein of Event Horizon, Saw, or Human Centipede; eroticized non-consensual sex; or stories that perpetuate any form of discrimination.
What is your background in editing?
My journey to becoming a book editor was an organic one that began with a love of the written word at a young age, included two degrees in English as well as time spent teaching, and led to becoming a full-time freelance editor in 2012. Since then, I've had the honor of working with authors from all over the United States as well as in Australia, Canada, and the UK on a wide variety of projects: young adult, new adult, and adult; literary, upmarket, and commercial; novels, line and prose poetry, short stories, and flash fiction; contemporary and paranormal romance, women's fiction, suspense, magical realism, science fiction, fantasy, science fantasy, historical fiction, surrealism, absurdism, and self-help nonfiction.
Last year I had the pleasure of serving twice as an editor in the Pitch to Publication Twitter contest, which I also co-hosted in the fall, and as faculty at the inaugural The Work Conference in New York City. This year, in addition to participating in this contest, I am putting together the ShoreIndie contest for emerging indie authors, co-editing an anthology of floating-inspired prose and poetry for Coincidence Control Publishing, and teaching genre fiction writing at the Show:Tell Workshop for Teen Writers and Artists.
What can writers expect from working with you during the contest?
That I will work my butt off! Of course the specifics of what my chosen author and I will do will depend on what the manuscript needs, but the goal will be to make changes that will have the biggest positive impacts on the ms so it's query-ready at the end of the five weeks. To that end, you can expect me to bring my expertise and honesty to your project in a constructive manner. A mutually respectful partnership, clear feedback that is appropriate to the stage of writing, and supporting the integrity of your vision and writing style are of the utmost importance to me.
What do you expect from writers during the contest revision process?
That you will work your butt off! Last year I took my Pitch to Publication authors through three rounds of editing. They took time off of work, cloistered themselves away from their families, and worked late into the nights to execute the changes we'd agreed on. In order to get the most out of the time we have together, I expect to spend about 40 hours editing over the five weeks; if we end up working together, you should expect to spend at least that much time on revision.
What hobbies do you have outside of writing and editing?
When I'm not working or sleeping, you'll find me walking my dog, dancing like a fool to live surf-punk music, coloring in an adult coloring book, floating in a sensory deprivation float tank, and eating All the Good Food Portland has to offer. Sometimes TV: Blindspot, The Mindy Project, New Girl, or Shut Eye. The Handmaid's Tale, when it starts up.
What three books would you save in a dystopian future where libraries are banned?
The Complete Novels of Jane Austen
Children of the New World by Alexander Weinstein
Terry Pratchett's Discworld series (that counts as one, right?)