Sarah Murphy

Sarah Murphy – Editor

A candid and deeply invested developmental editor with roots in Big 5 publishing and a freelance focus on commercial fiction and romance.


I'm a freelance editor with a lifelong passion for literature and extensive experience in professional book editing. I began my career at Penguin Random House, where I sharpened my pencils in commercial fiction by some of the most prolific, bestselling authors in the business. Among the writers I've had the pleasure of working with are Karen Marie Moning, Dean Koontz, J. Kenner, Joan Johnston, Rita Mae Brown, Mary Balogh, and Molly O’Keefe, among many others. I also aquired authors for the romance-dedicated line, Loveswept.

I currently accept manuscripts that fall into the categories of general contemporary, upmarket women's fiction, book club fiction, and romance across all subgenres.

My strong sense of project development and salability was groomed both academically and through practical experience. I earned a bachelor's degree in English literature and a master's degree in publishing from New York University. I then spent years assessing a voluminous submission inbox as part of the world's largest publishing company, and remain highly versed in market trends and analysis. I apply this shrewd business savvy with a sensitive and emotionally resonant approach to each manuscript, considering not only the components that make for a satisfying and enduring narrative, but ensuring that a story delivers within the wider scope of its target readership.

I have an enormous amount of respect and admiration for the authors I work with and the worlds they bring to life. I understand that this relationship requires trust, open dialogue, and an evolution of ideas and responses, and I thrive off of that creative collaboration. Once I take on a project, I assume complete responsibility for helping craft the stories and characters that will come to mean something to all of the readers who encounter them; whose own lives may be changed as a result. Appreciating the impact that books have on individuals, I challenge authors to write the way they've always dreamed of and realize their novels' biggest payoffs. I dive deep into the pages to resurface with thoughtful editorial critique and inspired solutions that bring forth the best works possible.

I made the leap to freelance to concentrate exclusively on the categories and editing work that I'm passionate about, while having greater access to the outdoors. Now happily nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, I pursue the great call of nature [figuratively] and a laundry list of ever-shifting adventures that sees me in rivers, on mountaintops, and occasionally soaring midair. That zestful spirit and love of accomplishment is never more apparent than in helping authors reach new heights themselves.
Contemporary Fiction Contemporary Romance Cozy Mysteries Historical Romance Magical Realism Paranormal Romance Romantic Comedy Women's Fiction
English (US)
  • M.S. in Publishing, New York University

Work experience


Aug, 2016 — Present

• Partners with publishing houses as well as acclaimed independent authors, including USA Today bestselling author K.F. Breene, award-winning author Lindsay Cross, and bestselling author Keira Montclair.
• Provides comprehensive developmental editing, proofreading, and copywriting services for commercial fiction manuscripts, ranging from general contemporary fiction, upmarket women’s fiction, book club fiction, romance across all subgenres, and softboiled mystery.
• Business website provides a detailed description of publishing credentials, client testimonials, and services rendered.

Penguin Random House [Ballantine Bantam Dell]

Sep, 2011 — Apr, 2016 (over 4 years)

• Worked closely alongside two executive editors to provide developmental and line edits for a list of prolific
New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors, including Debbie Macomber, Dean Koontz, Danielle Steel, Karen Marie Moning, Mary Balogh, Molly O’Keefe, Joan Johnston, Rita Mae Brown, J. Kenner, and many more.
• Independently acquired and edited a list of authors for Ballantine’s e-original Loveswept imprint, including USA Today bestsellers Serena Bell, Sharon Cullen, and Maggie McGinnis.
• Utilized a keen editorial eye to sift through a high-volume submission inbox, developing an instinct for concept salability and compelling storytelling that stood above the fray.
• Advocated for authors and generated in-house buzz, from forming crystalline copy and selling points to launching new books at company-wide meetings.
• Daily tasks included generating reader’s reports, acquisition memos, editorial letters and tip sheets;
researching comp titles; fact-checking and proofreading materials; and assisting with the financial projections for prospective projects.


From the author of Once Upon a Cowboy (“Sexy, charming, and perfectly heartwarming.”—Lauren Layne) comes another sweet novel of the Whisper Creek Ranch, where sizzling Montana men melt the most stubborn hearts. After Alexis Maguire’s wedding day comes and goes... read more