Sarah Jane Abbott

Sarah Jane Abbott - Editor

New York, NY, USA

Experienced children's book editor who specializes in picture books, both fiction and non-fiction, sketch dummies, and middle grade novels.

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Overview

I am a children's book editor who has been lucky enough to work on award-winning and bestselling picture books and novels, including the New York Times bestselling Baxter Family Children series by Karen Kingsbury; Crystal Kite Award-winning debut novel The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast by Samantha M. Clark; Horn Book Holiday Fanfare picture book The Little Reindeer by Nicola Killen; and numerous others.

I specialize primarily in picture books, both fiction and non-fiction. It is deeply rewarding to work on books that can help shape a child's worldview or spark a lifelong love of reading and I take that responsibility seriously. When working on picture book texts, I help the author maximize a short word count to craft fleshed-out characters, plot, and themes. In a 500-word manuscript, every word counts and I am here to help authors pick the right ones. I have experience working on non-fiction picture books about topics ranging from marine biology to female athletes and I work with authors on the main book text as well as back matter. I am also passionate about working with illustrators to develop their sketch dummies, with a focus on composition, page turns, pacing, use of white space, and character development.

I also love editing a wide variety of middle grade novels. I have worked on a contemporary re-telling of a classic, augmented with recipes and craft projects; a supernatural mystery-thriller set on a deserted island; a post-apocalyptic fantasy with strong environmental themes narrated by a tree; and have assisted a best-selling adult author in creating a middle grade series about the childhoods of her best-loved characters. I work with my authors on crafting the all-important middle grade voice as well as on aspects including character development, plotting and pacing, building a vivid setting, world-building, creating natural-sounding dialogue, and more.

My editorial style is collaborative, detail-oriented, and personal. I give honest, to-the-point feedback while also being supportive, constructive, and sensitive to each creator's needs. My line edits tend to contain editorial notes alongside kudos and reactions to outstanding moments in the manuscript. I am a very visual person, so I also sometimes provide color-coded spreadsheets to illustrate points I am making about patterns or pacing issues in a manuscript. I write comprehensive editorial letters that cover a wide range of topics and give specific feedback for revision. However, I would never attempt to mold or re-write a manuscript according to my vision. My job is to help your manuscript become the very best version of the story you want to tell.
Languages
English (US)
Non-Fiction
Children’s Non-Fiction
Fiction
Coming of Age
Middle Grade
Picture Books

Certifications

  • Copyediting, NYU SPS

Work experience

Children's Book Editor

Simon & Schuster
August, 2014 – Present (about 7 years)

Rose from editorial assistant to assistant editor to associate editor. Edited numerous middle grade novels and picture books. Worked with illustrators from thumbnails through finished art and design.

Publicity Assistant

Simon & Schuster
April, 2013 – August, 2014 (over 1 year)

Served as publicist for board books, picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult novels. Pitched features in print media in addition to planning author tours and events.

Portfolio (14 selected works)

Blue & Bertie

Litten, Kristyna, Litten, Kristyna

The Little Kitten (My Little Animal Friend)

Killen, Nicola, Killen, Nicola

The Little Rabbit (My Little Animal Friend)

Killen, Nicola, Killen, Nicola

Finding Home (A Baxter Family Children Story)

Kingsbury, Karen, Russell, Tyler

Best Family Ever (A Baxter Family Children Story)

Kingsbury, Karen, Russell, Tyler

Pony Poems for Little Pony Lovers

Meister, Cari, Rhys, Sara

Thread of Love

Sehgal, Kabir, Sehgal, Surishtha, Hoang, Zara Gonzalez

The Sea Knows

McGinty, Alice B., Havis, Alan B., Laberis, Stephanie

The Secret Rhino Society

Jacobs, Jonathan E., Cotterill, Samantha

In a Garden

McCanna, Tim, Sicuro, Aimée

My Grandparents Love Me

Freedman, Claire, Abbot, Judi

Sarah Jane has 12 reviews

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

Dylan Meikle
It was terrific working with Sarah Jane - her professionalism and clear communication was outstanding and her edits and feedback has been endlessly helpful.

Dylan Meikle, October 2021


carol allison
Sarah Jane was professional, thorough and consise. She provided me with several constructive suggestions and sites to further my knowledge on the process. I like that she gave me book titles to check out that might be examples of not only what she was talking about but of interest to me as a picture book author.

carol allison, September 2021

Sarah Jane Abbott
I'm so glad by feedback and the books for further reading were helpful, Carol. Best of luck with your manuscript!

Reply from Sarah Jane Abbott


Jaylene Owens
I loved working with Sarah Jane! Everything was on time, she gave me great feedback on my query letter, and provided a confidence boost in my story that I needed. I recommend working with Sarah Jane!

Jaylene Owens, July 2021


Jane O'Reilly
Sarah Jane is a keen and thoughtful reader. Her notes are thorough and don't simply stop at a comment, but often include a suggestion. Meaty feedback like hers is exactly what a serious writer needs to take on yet another revision!

Jane O'Reilly, June 2021

Sarah Jane Abbott
Thank you Jane! I'm so pleased to hear that my feedback was helpful as you approach your next revision. Wishing you all the very best with your writing!

Reply from Sarah Jane Abbott


Kim Vales
Sarah Jane is very, very professional. Her recommendations are very thorough and detailed. I felt she was very honest about my books marketability. I appreciated her realistic approach. I would gladly work with her again.

Kim Vales, April 2021

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