“I got more editorial attention and guidance in 30 minutes of working on a short story manuscript with Steven Bauer than I got from a whole year of working on my first book with a major publishing house. The reality of the current landscape is that you have to show up polished and ready to go to press. There’s no one better to help you get there than Steven. The man is dedicated. He knows good writing, and he knows how to pull it out of you. He was the best teacher I ever had, and the crazy thing is, I’m not special. You’ll hear it from many of his students: Steven Bauer makes writers.”
~~Austin Kleon is the author of The New York Times best-selling Steal Like an Artist (Workman 2012) and Newspaper Blackout (Harper Perennial). He is a writer, cartoonist, and designer living in Austin, Texas.
“Simply put, Steven Bauer's work is world class. His fluencies in the genres and forms of nonfiction writing, fiction writing, and poetry converge in a distinct voice whose style is not compromised by the expansive intellect driving it. This kind of coherent and sophisticated vision makes him an indispensable editor; he knows his voice and helps others find theirs.”
~~Hugh Sheehy's short stories have appeared in The Best American Mystery Stories 2008, Glimmer Train, The Kenyon Review, The Antioch Review, The New Orleans Review, Southwest Review and other journals. His first collection of stories, The Invisibles, won the 2012 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction and was published in October by the University of Georgia Press. He teaches at Yeshiva University in New York City.
BRET ANTHONY JOHNSTON~
“Let me be blunt: working with Steven Bauer changed my life. Before studying with him, I wanted to be a writer; after, I was a writer.
His gifts as an editor are rare and invaluable. He guides his authors with compassion and reason and a deep, abiding belief in the power of language and imagination, and he spends as much time engaging what’s working well on the page as he does what isn’t yet meeting its potential. He takes writers as seriously as they take themselves, and he takes their work on its own terms, never trying to steer a piece of poetry or prose in any direction other than its most natural; he wants nothing more than to transform each project into the ideal version of itself. His insights into the writing craft are vast and unparalleled, and I’ve met few editors who value the writer’s vision and voice more than he does. I’m still learning from what he taught me, still reaping the benefits of his inspired labor on my behalf. I repeat his ideas in my workshops every week, and I apply his methods and strategies to my fiction every day.
Time and again, you hear publishers say the days of hands-on, visionary editors like Maxwell Perkins are long gone. There aren’t enough hours in the day, they say. Editors can no longer afford to invest such time and passion into their writers.
And I always think, they haven’t met Steven Bauer.”
~~Bret Anthony Johnston is the author of Corpus Christi, which won The Texas Institute of Letters Debut Fiction Award and The Southern Review Short Fiction Award, among many others. He also edited Naming the World, a collection of writing exercises. His new story “Soldier of Fortune” has just won a Pushcart and will be published in Best American Short Stories 2011. He directs the Creative Writing Program at Harvard University.
“When I think back to the moments in my life when I began to realize I wanted to be a writer, I remember that I was a young man who was in love with the idea of writing, in love with reading and, above all, in love with the idea of others seeing me as a writer.
None of these passions ever helped me write a single thing.
And so I was lazy and I didn’t finish things and I had no idea what I wanted to write about. It was my good fortune, then, to encounter Steven Bauer as a professor in my junior year at Miami University, where he taught me advanced fiction – a class that so profoundly shook my world, that I enrolled in it again, just to experience Steven’s presence in the classroom, and to have him teach me more intensely how to be a writer.
There are those who will say that writing is something that cannot be taught, that there is no way to show someone how to be a writer. I can only speak for myself, but Steven Bauer taught me how to be a writer. He instilled in me a seriousness about this craft, and he changed the way I see the world.
It was never simply about writing something I thought was clever or funny or sad… Steven read between the lines, probed my mind, my subconscious, and asked me serious questions about what mattered to me, about myself, about the world. These were not questions I could answer readily.
Interpreting the world is something Steven values in writing, and it became clear to me, through his words and his careful readings of my work, that to do this, I needed to take greater risks, in my writing and in my life.
A good teacher takes a subject and elevates it and makes you think about how it matters in the grand scheme of things. Because if it doesn’t, why put yourself through this?
How lucky I was, years ago, to find my way into this man’s classroom. How lucky I was to have a teacher who showed me the way, and told me it was hard, told me it was dangerous and told me it was worth it.”
~~Rajiv Joseph is a playwright whose works have been produced in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and Washington, D.C. and have been translated into Romanian, French and Spanish. His play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (recently on Broadway starring Robin Williams) won the National Endowment for the Arts Award for Best New American Play and was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize. It was nominated as Best Play for the 2011 Drama Desk Awards, the Outer Critic Circle Awards, and the Drama Desk Awards. Rajiv is also a 2009 winner of the Whiting Writers Award. His play The North Pool has received wide acclaim and is opening off-Broadway in February 2013. His musical Fly, a new interpretation of Peter Pan, will open in Dallas in July 2013.
“Steven is that rare editor whose criticism almost feels like praise, it's so dead-on. As a client, to feel like somebody so completely *gets it* is not only helpful, it's almost like receiving a gift.”
~~Scott Hess is Senior Vice President, Insights, TRU (a WPP Company). He lives in Chicago and is the author of the blog Tiny Poems.
“Steven has an extraordinary gift as a questioner and guide in writing matters. He hears your writer's voice before you can hear it yourself—both what you're reaching to say and how you're needing to say it. He puts his finger on the gap and asks why it's there. He lives words and knows how to make them speak. And he's fearless, bringing to his work with writers a vibrancy in opening out and telling the truth, like breathing.”
~~Paula Wenger teaches at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
“I can say--without a doubt in my mind--that Steven Bauer has been the single most influential teacher and writer in my life. With his guidance, wisdom and friendship I managed not only to realize a lifelong dream of publishing a book, but I could actually look back at it and be proud of what I'd written. And every time I do, I always see his influence all over it--practically spilling out of the typeface. There are editors who can help you craft better sentences, and those are rare. Then there are editors who can actually reach into your head through your prose and slice through to what you're trying to describe about the world. As far as these people go, I've only ever met Bauer.”
~~Stephen Markley is the author of Publish This Book (Sourcebooks) which is currently being made into a movie. He is a writer and blogger for the RedEye in Chicago.
“Few teachers have ever been as beneficial to my writing as Steven Bauer. It goes without saying that he knows his way around a sentence, a page, a story’s structure and sound. But his greatest gift as a teacher, I’ve always thought, is being able to read deeply--not only into the prose on a page, but also into a writer’s reasons for writing it.
Many teachers can help you better your craft . . . but how many can improve your vision?”
~~Christopher Coake is the author of We're In Trouble, for which he was granted The PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for a first work of fiction. His new novel You Came Back was published by Grand Central in 2012. He is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Nevada/Reno.
“Steven Bauer recently edited my book, Called To Serve: Stories of Men and Women Confronted by the Vietnam War Draft. His far-ranging expertise as an editor and writer was evident throughout as he was able to distill the oral history interviews I had gathered to their essence without losing the voices of the subjects. Not only was he able to make the testimonies of the men and women in the manuscript more concise, but he also appreciated and affirmed the spirit of the project, which enabled me to trust his judgment and skill. In addition, he took the introductions to each chapter as well as the researched chapters and succeeded in making them more effective by revising and editing them for clarity and flow. Steven possesses the qualities most desirable in someone helping to shepherd such projects to their conclusion - sensitivity, objectivity, and great awareness of the powers of language to express a wide range of ideas and emotions. Brilliant work!”
~~Thomas Weiner is Lead Teacher at the Smith College Campus School where he has taught for the past thirty-five years. His publications include articles about education, Alzheimer's, and the Vietnam War draft. Called to Serve has recently been published by Levellers Press. Tom lives in Northampton, MA.
MARGARET PETERSON HADDIX~
“I am deeply grateful to Steven Bauer for his role in encouraging and helping to improve my early writing. His insightful questions helped me figure out my plot and characters, and he always framed his criticisms in a way that made me feel confident that I could make my work better.”
~~Margaret Peterson Haddix is the New York Times-bestselling author of more than 20 books for kids and young adults, including the Shadow Children series and The Missing series. Her most recent books are Torn and Caught, both from The Missing and both published in 2012.
SCOTT W. BERG~
“Many things set Steven Bauer apart: his experience, his thoughtfulness, his
ability to identify false notes. But most of all, Steven believes that every
piece of writing is worth doing well, and to that end he's refreshingly
candid and unbelievably thorough, an editor worthy of any writer's money,
time, and faith.”
~~Scott W. Berg is the author of Grand Avenues: The Story of Pierre Charles L'Enfant, the French Visionary Who Designed Washington, D.C. and 38 Nooses: Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier’s End, a popular history of the 1862 Dakota War published by Pantheon in 2012. He teaches nonfiction writing and literature in the George Mason University's undergraduate and graduate creative writing programs.
“I have always considered Steven the best editor I've worked with. He has the rare and invaluable ability to see an imperfect piece of writing from the point of view of the author's intentions for it and, like an expert engineer, to understand what is keeping it from standing on its own. He is both exacting and compassionate in his approach to working with writers and, as a true man of letters, is able to work across many genres and styles of writing with equal precision and insight. Over the years, I have found his mentorship superlative in every way.”
~~Dave Kajganich is a screenwriter working in Los Angeles. His credits
include "The Invasion" (2007) and "Town Creek" (2009). He is currently
adapting Stephen King's "It" for Warner Brothers.
“Steven Bauer worked closely with one of my clients, and his work was invaluable in making the manuscript really sing . As a result, the book sold to a large publisher and will be published in March 2010, complete with a book tour and serious promotional backing by the publisher. I would recommend him as someone who is not only an excellent editor but as someone who knows his way around the business.”
~~Julie Hill is a literary agent who has represented newbies and celebrities, and is always looking for the next great nonfiction bestseller. She attended the UC/Berkeley Publishing Program, and did graduate work at UCLA as well. The author of numerous short stories and articles in print and online,
she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.