Jill Saginario

Jill Saginario – Editor

An enthusiastic editor specializing in children's and YA books formerly of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, now an indie kidlit editor. #wndb


Hi. I'm an independent editor focusing on books for young readers from picture books through young adult literature. Having been a bookseller continuously since 1999, I have deep knowledge of the children's and YA marketplace and what drives people to pick up a book. (I still can't seem to stop working at bookstores. Help!)I have experience in-house editing with two medium-sized traditional publishers, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Candlewick Press. I've also worked with one of the premiere children's/YA-specific literary agencies, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. I created Pickle Ink Editorial around the time of the #weneeddiversebooks movement to help authors of all backgrounds get published. I am highly passionate about guiding authors writing for the picture book through young adult/new adult age groups, especially those with traditionally under-published voices such as people of color or LGBTQIA authors so our culture may be enriched with books that reflect the amazingly diverse world we live in.

My personal reading tastes:*cutting-edge contemporary YA*funny and/or silly MG & YA*super dark, knife-in-the-heart realism*off-the-wall bizarro sci-fi*sweet early reader stories*anything boy-centric*LGBTQIA books in any form*casual racial diversity*talking animals*will this make me cry? > YES*books entirely written in texts. Please write this for me.

**UPDATE: Please send contemporary MG and YA! My fantasy MG/YA dance card is full!**

My editorial style is direct, thorough, and no-nonsense: I will not dance around what I mean. To find out more about me and my rates, please ask. Transparency in pricing is important to me because I know it's important to you. A solid professional edit isn't going to be bargain-basement, but it will make all the difference to your work.

"When I hired Jill, I thought I was getting an editor but what I got was a partner. Someone who not only excelled at her craft but wanted to work with me to make the best possible book. From here on out there is no way I can work with anyone else. Not after witnessing what it is like to work with Jill and bring my book to the next level."-E.V. Fairfall, author of the Sleeping Tom series

"I’ve found Jill to be an invaluable reader...her work at HMH and as a bookseller has given her a true sense of what makes a book stand out and sparkle as well as what makes for literary – and commercial – legs. I can depend on her to consider all of the important micro to macro elements of a manuscript: from character development and pacing to tension, voice, and beyond."- Kate O'Sullivan, Executive Editor, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers

"Jill is a smart, thoughtful reader with real insights into plot and character. Efficient, effective, and highly recommended!"- Ammi-Joan Paquette, Senior Agent, Erin Murphy Literary Agency
Children’s Non-Fiction
Middle Grade Picture Books Young Adult
English (US)

Work experience


Dec, 2015 — Present

Offering developmental editing and manuscript evaluation services to those writing for young readers. I am actively taking on picture books, early readers, middle grade fiction, and young adult fiction projects.

Erin Murphy Literary Agency

Apr, 2014 — Jan, 2016 (almost 2 years)

As an agent assistant, I read and provided manuscript evaluations. During my tenure, I was lucky enough to work with the humorist Jacob Sager Weinstein on a manuscript that sold at auction in a three-book deal to Random House. Book one will publish Summer 2017.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers

Mar, 2012 — Present

I work on the production and manufacturing side at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, where I proofread reprints and color-correct picture book art. HMH is most well-known for their commercial properties like Curious George to more literary successes like The Giver by Lois Lowry.

Candlewick Press

Sep, 2011 — Jan, 2012 (4 months)

Evaluated manuscripts, both agented and unagented, and made recommendations to senior editors. Provided developmental edits for current authors such as Pete Hautman and Wendy Delsol.

Powell's City of Books

Aug, 2005 — Jul, 2011 (almost 6 years)


Make magic with everyone’s favorite Disney princesses!Creative young princes and princesses-in-training learn how to make their own soaps featuring Ariel, Cinderella, Belle, Tiana, and more. Make Your Own Disney Princess Soaps has twelve original recipes perfe... read more
Yee-haw! Create suds-sational soaps with Sheriff Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Rex, and more. Make Your Own Toy Story Soaps has everything you need to create Toy Story-inspired soap projects in your own kitchen! The kit includes twelve original recipes, melt-and-pour... read more
Monster Sharks: Megalodon and Other Giant Prehistoric Predators of the Deep brings real-life sea monsters back from extinction and up from the ocean depths with its fascinating facts and build-it-yourself Megalodon skeleton. Did you know that the prehistoric m... read more
Would you trust these guys to save the planet?Willy and Peter love beans, onion dip, and smelling up school buses. While searching for a birthday gift for little sis, the brothers are captured by mad fart-hating clowns, who want to use them in a putrid plot to... read more
Would you trust these guys with a space ship?Willy and Peter need to get as far as possible from their sister’s dumb kindergartenpageant. But they never expected to be blasting their butts into space!There they make the grossest discovery in the universe, whic... read more
Caden thought it was over; she thought Gabriel was gone for good. It only took a letter with a single plane ticket for reality to come crashing back. Gabriel’s awake and he needs her. Caden decides to sacrifice her family’s trust for the possibility of seeing ... read more

Jill has 6 reviews





Bob C.

Bob C.

Aug, 2017

Jill did an incredibly detailed and thorough critique for me. But more importantly she wasn’t afraid to call things the way she saw them. I’ll admit that I balked at first, but the truth is that she zeroed in on some key weaknesses in my MS and told it like it was. Which, bruised ego aside, is just what I needed. She has a strong grasp of the kids lit market and is a real professional. I recomm...
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Ingo B.

Ingo B.

Jun, 2017

Jill is an absolute expert. She gave me a full report of suggestions on plot, emotional plot, characters, development and structure of my story and even about the book market segments for children`s literature in terms of focus group and marketing. She really knows the market very well. I will use her general suggestions for all my other work in the future. Thanks, Jill, hope we work togethe...
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John N.

John N.

Apr, 2017

I found it incredibly easy to work with Jill. She's thoroughly familiar with the children's book marketplace and was able to identify right away where my work would fit in. Her appraisal of my manuscript was detailed and insightful, and identified the strengths and weaknesses of what I'd written, both in terms of my writing generally, and in terms of the requirements and expectations of the gen...
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Mar, 2017

Jill's feedback was thorough and professional, complete with market comparisons and solid advice to get my manuscript in good shape.
John P.

John P.

Dec, 2016

Working with Jill could not have been any better or more positive an experience. She went above and beyond my expectations. This wasn't a "services for hire" relationship - it was a true collaboration. Her insights and feedback helped make me a better writer and gave me the confidence to more forward with writing professionally. I intend on working with Jill on all future projects.

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