Sarah Cypher

Sarah Cypher - Editor

Santa Rosa, CA, United States

I specialize in literary and LGBT fiction, but I'm also a sucker for multicultural fiction and tales with a quirky, speculative twist.

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Overview

In my almost-20-year career, I've edited New York Times bestsellers and helped clients on their way to deals with Big Five publishers, foreign publishers, and production companies. Self-published clients have generously funded their books on Kickstarter and earned a monthly income from their sales.

I love working together with a writer to find the story. I started out as a university press editor, but now, I wouldn't trade the "ah-ha" moments of a good developmental editing project for anything. I hold a B.A. in Creative Writing, Phi Beta Kappa, from Carnegie Mellon University, and I am a Rona Jaffe Creative Writing Fellow at the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. By being a working writer *and* editor, I can offer a savvy look at query letters, concept development, and marketability--and I have unique insight on how to help you stoke your creative fires as you move from critique to revision.

Also, my short reference guide for fiction writers, The Editor's Lexicon: Essential Writing Terms for Novelists, is a key tool in decoding the jargon that beta readers, workshops, and editors use in their feedback, and aims to sharpen your self-editing skills.

Currently, I'd love to work with intermediate-level writers, writers who are avid readers within their genre, and/or writers with exceptional expertise in their subject matter.

**Free sample edits available ONLY if we agree in advance that the potential project cost and timeline are compatible. Please exercise some courtesy here; it allows me to confidently spend time on the free sample. **
Languages
English (AUS)
English (UK)
English (US)
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
LGBTQ (non fiction)
Medicine & Nursing & Dentistry
Fiction
Cultural & Ethnic
Dystopian
LGBTQ (Fiction)
Magical Realism
Women's Fiction

Certifications

  • Arabic Language and Culture
  • Social Media Bootcamp

Awards

  • Rona Jaffe Creative Writing Fellow
  • Elizabeth George Foundation grant

Work experience

Editor, Principal

Self-employed
February, 2003 – Present (over 17 years)

- Independent editor of 18 years
- Work one-on-one with authors to prepare manuscripts for submission and sharpen their craft
- Refine and consult on submissions materials
- Teach community workshops on creative writing, agent submissions, and editor-author communication
- Attend conferences annually to share knowledge and network in the industry
- Author of The Editor's Lexicon: Essential Writing Terms for Novelists, a short reference guide for fiction writers.

Associate Editor

Carnegie Mellon University Press
August, 1999 – May, 2002 (over 2 years)

- Submissions reader, manuscript selection
- Manage author communication during publishing process
- Attend conferences and perform publicity services for the press
- Editing of accepted manuscripts for flow and clarity

Portfolio (17 selected works)

The Regulars: A Novel

Georgia Clark

-Redbook Best of the Year Pick -PopSugar’s Best Books of the Year -Teen Vogue’s Best Books of the Year -Reading with Robin 2016 Favorite A fierce, feisty, and “compulsively delicious” (Redbook) debut with a magical twist about three ordinary, regular young women who suddenly have their fantasies come true…or do they?Best friends Evie, Krista, and Willow are just trying to make it through their... read more

-Redbook Best of the Year Pick -PopSugar’s Best Books of the Year -Teen Vogue’s Best Books of the Year -Reading with Robin 2016 Favorite A fierce, feisty, and “compulsively delicious” (Redbook) debut with a magical twist about three ordinary, regular young women who suddenly have their fantasies come true…or do they?Best friends Evie, Krista, and Willow are just trying to make it through their... read more

The Yoga of Max's Discontent: A Novel

Karan Bajaj

“A beautifully rendered epic journey . . . . The novel works on many levels and excels at them all.” —New York Journal of BooksIn this captivating and surprising novel of spiritual discovery—a No. 1 bestseller in India—a young American travels to India and finds himself tested physically, emotionally, and spiritually.Max Pzoras is the poster child for the American Dream. The child of Greek imm... read more

“A beautifully rendered epic journey . . . . The novel works on many levels and excels at them all.” —New York Journal of BooksIn this captivating and surprising novel of spiritual discovery—a No. 1 bestseller in India—a young American travels to India and finds himself tested physically, emotionally, and spiritually.Max Pzoras is the poster child for the American Dream. The child of Greek imm... read more

Proof (Caroline Auden Book 2)

C. E. Tobisman

In this gripping sequel to C.E. Tobisman’s legal thriller Doubt, techie turned attorney Caroline Auden struggles to move on with her life after her last case nearly destroyed her career.Still haunted by the betrayal that forced her to leave a prestigious law firm, Caroline Auden struggles to keep her fledgling practice afloat—and her paranoia in check. When her grandmother dies, she mourns los... read more

In this gripping sequel to C.E. Tobisman’s legal thriller Doubt, techie turned attorney Caroline Auden struggles to move on with her life after her last case nearly destroyed her career.Still haunted by the betrayal that forced her to leave a prestigious law firm, Caroline Auden struggles to keep her fledgling practice afloat—and her paranoia in check. When her grandmother dies, she mourns los... read more

Doubt (Caroline Auden Book 1)

C. E. Tobisman

Meet Caroline Auden. The closer she gets to justice, the further she gets from the law.When Caroline Auden lands a job at a top Los Angeles law firm, she’s excited for the challenge—and grateful for the chance to put her dark past as a computer hacker behind her. Right away, her new boss asks her to find out whether a popular GMO causes healthy people to fall ill. Caroline is only supposed to ... read more

Meet Caroline Auden. The closer she gets to justice, the further she gets from the law.When Caroline Auden lands a job at a top Los Angeles law firm, she’s excited for the challenge—and grateful for the chance to put her dark past as a computer hacker behind her. Right away, her new boss asks her to find out whether a popular GMO causes healthy people to fall ill. Caroline is only supposed to ... read more

Resilient

Patricia Vanasse

Livia has never felt like she fits in. As normal as it sounds, Livia is anything but ordinary. She can feel every emotion of every single person around her, and it’s maddening. In pursuit of some psychic quiet, she moves with her family from New York City to Whidbey Island in the lush and sleepy Pacific Northwest. But when a horseback riding accident in her new home gives her a broken leg that... read more

Livia has never felt like she fits in. As normal as it sounds, Livia is anything but ordinary. She can feel every emotion of every single person around her, and it’s maddening. In pursuit of some psychic quiet, she moves with her family from New York City to Whidbey Island in the lush and sleepy Pacific Northwest. But when a horseback riding accident in her new home gives her a broken leg that... read more

Desert Mojito

Nazli Ghassemi

Maya Bibinaz Rostampisheh-Williams leads a life almost as complicated as her name in flamboyant desert city Dubai, where East and West collide at top speed. We cross cultural boundaries on a humorous journey with Maya and her odd circle of international friends as they stumble into social, sexual, and romantic challenges posed by religion, tradition, and politics in the modern Middle East.

Maya Bibinaz Rostampisheh-Williams leads a life almost as complicated as her name in flamboyant desert city Dubai, where East and West collide at top speed. We cross cultural boundaries on a humorous journey with Maya and her odd circle of international friends as they stumble into social, sexual, and romantic challenges posed by religion, tradition, and politics in the modern Middle East.

That's B.S.: How Bias Synapse Disrupts Inclusive Cultures and the Power to Attract Diverse Markets

Risha D. Grant

Diversity, Inclusion & Unconscious/Implicit Bias – These are words we hear almost daily now. They have become buzzwords for many people and a new revenue stream for many companies. D&I consultants and trainers have popped up to make fast money of those buzzword but this is not the case for Risha Grant. For the past 18 years, in one of the most conservative states in the nation, she has worked ... read more

Diversity, Inclusion & Unconscious/Implicit Bias – These are words we hear almost daily now. They have become buzzwords for many people and a new revenue stream for many companies. D&I consultants and trainers have popped up to make fast money of those buzzword but this is not the case for Risha Grant. For the past 18 years, in one of the most conservative states in the nation, she has worked ... read more

Chain Reaction: A Novel

Ross Goldstein

Three years ago, rising cycling star Cal Scott abruptly quit the T Mobile team and returned home to California, determined to abandon cycling forever. At least that was his intention. Now Cal’s father has an offer for him: Come to Italy, bring your bike, do some recreational cycling, watch a race, no strings attached.But Cal suspects that nothing from his bulldog-defense-attorney father comes ... read more

Three years ago, rising cycling star Cal Scott abruptly quit the T Mobile team and returned home to California, determined to abandon cycling forever. At least that was his intention. Now Cal’s father has an offer for him: Come to Italy, bring your bike, do some recreational cycling, watch a race, no strings attached.But Cal suspects that nothing from his bulldog-defense-attorney father comes ... read more

The Holder's Dominion

Genese Davis

After her father’s death on a mountain rescue mission, Kaylie Ames watched her family shatter. She fled Tacoma for college in faraway Austin, figuring that even the worst campus drama would be a relief. But when her old friend Elliott turns up on his knees in the grocery store aisle, raving about something called a morphis, Kaylie feels compelled to enter Elliott’s unfamiliar world.Guided by E... read more

After her father’s death on a mountain rescue mission, Kaylie Ames watched her family shatter. She fled Tacoma for college in faraway Austin, figuring that even the worst campus drama would be a relief. But when her old friend Elliott turns up on his knees in the grocery store aisle, raving about something called a morphis, Kaylie feels compelled to enter Elliott’s unfamiliar world.Guided by E... read more

The Fort Showalter Blues

Harold L Johnson

It's after the Korean War and before the Vietnam disaster, years when the U.S. government still had enough credibility and authority to draft young men into military service. Joseph Birdsong, an optimistic young African-American from small-town Washington state, goes to the city--Portland, Oregon--for college in pursuit of his dream of success in life, encouraged by success he had enjoyed in s... read more

It's after the Korean War and before the Vietnam disaster, years when the U.S. government still had enough credibility and authority to draft young men into military service. Joseph Birdsong, an optimistic young African-American from small-town Washington state, goes to the city--Portland, Oregon--for college in pursuit of his dream of success in life, encouraged by success he had enjoyed in s... read more

Agenda 21 (Agenda 21 Series)

Glenn Beck, Harriet Parke

A postapocalyptic thriller from #1 bestselling author Glenn Beck. “I was just a baby when we were relocated and I don’t remember much. Everybody has that black hole at the beginning of their life. That time you can’t remember. Your first step. Your first taste of table food. My real memories begin in our assigned living area in Compound 14.” Just a generation ago, this place was called America... read more

A postapocalyptic thriller from #1 bestselling author Glenn Beck. “I was just a baby when we were relocated and I don’t remember much. Everybody has that black hole at the beginning of their life. That time you can’t remember. Your first step. Your first taste of table food. My real memories begin in our assigned living area in Compound 14.” Just a generation ago, this place was called America... read more

Casualties A Novel of the Civil War

David Rothstein

In the spring of 1864 Laura Connor sets out alone from her home in Indiana driving a wagon and team of horses. She has determined to rescue her husband, Thomas, a captured Union soldier, from the Confederate prison at Cahawba in Alabama. With each step of her journey she descends further into the heart of the war’s darkness: scourged landscapes, a Confederate surgeon faced with the aftermath o... read more

In the spring of 1864 Laura Connor sets out alone from her home in Indiana driving a wagon and team of horses. She has determined to rescue her husband, Thomas, a captured Union soldier, from the Confederate prison at Cahawba in Alabama. With each step of her journey she descends further into the heart of the war’s darkness: scourged landscapes, a Confederate surgeon faced with the aftermath o... read more

The Bucket List: A Novel

Georgia Clark

From the author of the critically acclaimed “lively and engrossing parable for women of all generations” (Harper’s Bazaar) The Regulars­ comes a deeply funny and thoughtful tale of a young woman who, after discovering she has the breast cancer gene, embarks on an unforgettable bucket list adventure.Twenty-five-old Lacey Whitman is blindsided when she’s diagnosed with the BCRA1 gene mutation: t... read more

From the author of the critically acclaimed “lively and engrossing parable for women of all generations” (Harper’s Bazaar) The Regulars­ comes a deeply funny and thoughtful tale of a young woman who, after discovering she has the breast cancer gene, embarks on an unforgettable bucket list adventure.Twenty-five-old Lacey Whitman is blindsided when she’s diagnosed with the BCRA1 gene mutation: t... read more

Underneath It All

Patricia Vanasse

Seventeen-year-old London Mendes is the son of a Cuban mother and Seattle-native bookseller, and he knows exactly what he wants: to be the first in his middle class family to reach the Ivy Leagues. Specifically Princeton, alma mater of his favorite author Mia Merkley, a local mystery writer whose national fame and recent suicide have put her in the news again. Luckily for London, his own ficti... read more

Seventeen-year-old London Mendes is the son of a Cuban mother and Seattle-native bookseller, and he knows exactly what he wants: to be the first in his middle class family to reach the Ivy Leagues. Specifically Princeton, alma mater of his favorite author Mia Merkley, a local mystery writer whose national fame and recent suicide have put her in the news again. Luckily for London, his own ficti... read more

Twine

Monica Duncan

When Juniper Kowalski, a mediocre artist and graduate of one of the best art schools in the country, gets pregnant by her married lover, she ends up back in Gobles, Michigan, living in her dead grandma's trailer. She fears that her new life as a hotel maid, and as the best friend of a subrural call girl, has fulfilled some bleak fate. But Juniper's pregnancy also ignites a will to create. Ever... read more

When Juniper Kowalski, a mediocre artist and graduate of one of the best art schools in the country, gets pregnant by her married lover, she ends up back in Gobles, Michigan, living in her dead grandma's trailer. She fears that her new life as a hotel maid, and as the best friend of a subrural call girl, has fulfilled some bleak fate. But Juniper's pregnancy also ignites a will to create. Ever... read more

Gray Matters: A novel

Gastil, John Webster

Sarah has 5 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Joan Jetson
Sharp eyes, critical insight, and a wealth of knowledge. Sarah left no stone unturned in my manuscript. After sorting through what I'd written, Sarah gave me a 44 page document detailing her chapter by chapter notes, as well as her overall summation of the story. It was good for me to have such honest and in-depth feedback and Sarah has given me plenty of ideas for my first revision.

Joan Jetson, September 2020


Amanda Marshall
Sarah is incredibly insightful and thorough. As a first time novelist, this experience has definitely been daunting. With her help, however, I feel supported and guided towards accomplishing my goals. I would highly recommend working with this experienced editor, and I myself will be calling upon her talents for my next project. Thank you again for your collaboration and wisdom, Sarah!

Amanda Marshall, August 2020


Chlo A'Gno Ducao
Sarah was an incredible editor, and her edits were only part of it. She was always punctual and clear in her communication, she provided additional resources and frameworks, and she explained exactly how they might be useful at my stage of the creative process. She also shared great suggestions for next steps, particularly at this strange moment for the publishing industry and the world. As a f...
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Chlo A'Gno Ducao, July 2020

Sarah Cypher
Thank you, Chlo! It was a delight to work with you, too. You went above and beyond to prepare for our collaboration, and I appreciated your prompt and thoughtful replies as we worked toward the fin...
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Reply from Sarah Cypher


Rich Hogen
I'm glad I chose Sarah Cypher to provide line edits and a critique letter for my debut novel. Everything about her support has been thoughtful and thorough. I have no doubt as to the value of her contribution, and I look forward to working with Sarah in the future.

Rich Hogen, February 2019

Sarah Cypher
Thank you, Rich! I admire everything about your passion, engagement, and professionalism in this process. It was an honor to work with MINIMUM SAFE DISTANCE, and I hope our paths cross again. Keep ...
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Reply from Sarah Cypher


Katherine Matuszak
Working with Sarah was wonderful. She took the time to really get inside my story and understand it. She did a lovely job sharing her thoughts while always remaining kind and encouraging, and her marginal notes were knowledgeable and insightful. Sarah demonstrated exemplary communication, professionalism, and kindness. I would love to work with her again.

Katherine Matuszak, September 2018

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