Sharon Umbaugh

Sharon Umbaugh – Editor

Literary and contemporary fiction editor previously with Big Five and imprints - Penguin Random House, Plume, Dutton. All genres considered


I'm an editor (16 years) who has worked in the industry for Big 5 publishers (Penguin Random House) as well as worked as a bookstore buyer. I know the book business from many angles and know what sells. With keen editorial eyes and through collaboration that maintains the writer's voice, we can make your novel, not just shine, but strategize to find a wide audience for your novel.

As a link between author and publisher, I focus on not only content and readability but on marketabilty and how to make the book attractive to publishers, agents and readers.

I know the publishing industry intimately and can offer editorial feedback that will help position a book well in the market. As a lifetime reader of literary fiction and contemporary women's fiction, I know those genres well.

***Often authors are miffed when it comes to the query letter. I can help create a snappy letter, devise a strategy to identify agents and zero in on the all-important comp titles.

My clients run the gamut from experienced, award-winning authors, to new writers looking for guidance through the editing process.

Through close collaboration, authors trust me to deliver honest and insightful feedback with a friendly and positive vibe.

"Working with Sharon was great. She confirmed much of what I already suspected regarding my writing style and whatnot as well as offered suggestions on how to better the areas that needed improvement. She also pointed out parts of the MS that needed work that I hadn’t considered. She gave me insight into what was going on in her mind while she read and that helped me see my WIP from the perspective of someone unfamiliar with my world."

"Having never written a novel before I was somewhat nervous about having anyone review the manuscript of my debut novel let alone someone with Sharon’s credentials. I shouldn’t have worried. Sharon’s help has been a revelation. Much more than observations, her comments are supported with genuinely helpful suggestions and a good dose of humor. Her encouragement is inspiring and it has been a pleasure using her editing service to polish my story. Highly recommend!"

"Sharon went above and beyond and it’s absolutely clear that she loves what she does. She is intuitive and very sensitive in her communication. Her comments have made all the difference, not only in revealing what doesn’t work, but also in what does. Her turn-around time is excellent. I can’t thank her enough for her work, her support and her encouragement."

"I definitely recommend Sharon for all your literary needs. She is thorough and offers more than superficial suggestions. Working with her over the past several months has made my novel much stronger and thanks to her help, I am receiving manuscript requests."

Coming of Age Contemporary Fiction Epic Fantasy Legal Thriller Literary Fiction Psychological Thriller Short Story Women's Fiction
English (US)
  • BA English Literature - Miami University

Work experience


Jan, 2012 — Present

Editor and beta reader. Previously with NAL/Dutton, Plume, DAW and Scholastic.

Sharon has 30 reviews





Hannah G.

Hannah G.

Feb, 2024

Sharon gave me very detailed and specific notes about the strengths and weaknesses in the opening pages of my manuscript and query letter. I've already seen much better responses to my queries after implementing her suggestions!


Feb, 2024

Sharon's review of my manuscript was outstanding. She provided suggestions on improving my writing and examples of how to be more effective. Her comments were clear and to the point. At the completion of the project the experience felt like I was working with a friend who understood my limitations and supported my efforts. Sharon is a solid, well experienced editor.
Anna A.

Anna A.

Jan, 2024

The session concluded with a Zoom call to address any lingering questions or uncertainties. Sharon, proved to be not only delightful but also exceptionally helpful and knowledgeable.
Daniel M.

Daniel M.

Jan, 2024

Sharon’s feedback was constructive and her questions helped me identify the areas where my story needed more details to clarify character motivations. I’d be happy to work with her again.
Elyse G.

Elyse G.

Nov, 2023

I enjoyed working with Sharon and appreciated her insights and suggestions. I didn't always agree with her suggestions like "Tell don't show" but it may find a place in my manuscript as I continue to revise. Sharon pointed out several writing issues that I was unaware of previously.

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