Sylvia Cottrell

Sylvia Cottrell – Editor

I have worked with houses such as HarperOne, Parragon, and Simon and Schuster. I particularly enjoy editing sci-fi and fantasy (YA+adult).


***NOTE***I am not accepting new projects at this time***NOTE***

Hello! My name is Sylvia, and I am an enthusiastic, results-focused editor living and working in beautiful Sonoma County, California. I am committed to helping authors every step of the way through the editorial life of a project. In service of this commitment, I offer manuscript evaluations, developmental editing, copyediting, proofreading, and query letter evaluation/editing.

I have been involved in the professional editorial sphere for ten years and am experienced with many types and levels of editing. Some of my current and previous clients include Beyond Words Publishing (a division of Simon & Schuster), HarperOne, IT Revolution, Parragon Books, Carlton Publishing, Lincoln Learning Solutions, Nike, Jager Di Paula Kemp (JDK) Design, and Portland State University. I have also worked with many independent authors looking to either establish themselves in the self-pub sphere or go after big contracts with major houses (and just about everything in between).

My primary passions are developmental edits and copyedits for middle grade, YA, and adult fantasy + sci-fi as well as for self-help, inspirational, and narrative nonfiction. Should you decide to work with me, I guarantee you professionalism, enthusiasm, timeliness, and open-hearted listening paired with educated constructive criticism. Together, we can make sure your work reaches its full potential.

“Every writer—aspiring or accomplished—would do well to have an editor like Sylvia. She has an eye for both detail and the broader perspective. She knows how to polish a manuscript. In a writing career that includes eleven books and scores of magazine articles, I’ve had more than a dozen editors. I’d count Sylvia among those few at the very top.”
―Ruth Tenzer Feldman, author of Blue Thread, winner of the 2013 Oregon Book Award Leslie Bradshaw Award for Young Adult Literature

“I couldn’t ask for a better editor. You’ve taught me so much and I know I’ll miss you, Sylvia!”
―Elisa Medhus, M.D., author of My Son and the Afterlife

“Sylvia is a meticulous and enthusiastic editor. She has the ability to connect with her authors and colleagues, engendering mutual respect and an easy working relationship. Sylvia is experienced with all levels of editing, including line editing and content editing. As a colleague, Sylvia is especially adept at supporting and advising other members of her team. I highly recommend her for all of your freelance editing needs.”
―Leah Brown, freelance editor, formerly of Beyond Words Publishing
Fantasy Historical Fiction LGBTQ Fiction Science Fiction Young Adult
Self-Help & Self-Improvement
English (UK) English (US)
  • BA, Literature, University of California Santa Cruz, 2007
  • Certificate of Completion, Summer Publishing Institute, NYU, 2008
  • MS, Writing and Book Publishing, Portland State University/Ooligan Press, 2011
  • member: Editorial Freelancers Association

Work experience


Jun, 2011 — Present

I began working as a freelance editor shortly after earning my masters degree in writing and book publishing in 2011. Since then, I have worked on a variety of projects for a number of both small and large publishing entities, marketing and design firms, and individual and/or self-published authors. Some of my current and previous clients include Beyond Words Publishing (a division of Simon and Schuster), HarperOne, IT Revolution, Parragon Books, Carlton Publishing, Lincoln Learning Solutions, Nike, Jager Di Paula Kemp (JDK) Design, and Portland State University.


The women’s suffrage movement is in full swing in 1912 Portland, Oregon—the last holdout state on the West Coast. Miriam desperately wants to work at her father’s printing shop, but when he refuses she decides to dedicate herself to the suffrage movement, dema... read more
Step outside your door and reconnect with nature. From the author of Writing and the Spiritual Life comes a guide that will replenish your connection to the earth and inspire you to develop and strengthen your imagination.The natural world has inspired artists... read more
Tackle activities on the terrible T. Rex, the stout stegosaurus, the giant brachiosaurus, and other prehistoric creatures in Ultimate Factivity Collection: Dinosaurs. Packed with fun activities including games, doodle and coloring pages, puzzles, and crafts, p... read more
Glitterbelle is a glittery, sparkly, EXTRAORDINARY princess. But she has one not-so-sparkly, very ordinary problem… she will not eat her peas! When the queen reminds her that every princess in the family should LOVE peas because of that famous one that was hid... read more
Max and Tallulah is a fascinating love story for children to enjoy. Max the Zebra is too shy to tell Tallulah how much he loves her. He tries a variety of ways to get her attention, but each time, something goes wrong! Finally, Max has the best idea of all. Th... read more
Technology is not the answer. It is also not the problem. What matters instead? Awareness, Engagement, and Wisdom.Wisdom 2.0 addresses the challenge of our age:to not only live connected to one another through technology,but to do so in ways that are beneficia... read more
An emotional journey through grief to healing and skepticism to belief—discover the answers that will change your life forever.LOVE KNOWS NO BOUNDARIES—NOT EVEN DEATH Dr. Elisa Medhus never believed in life after death. As an accomplished physi­cian, she place... read more
Deep in the Oakwood, a boy is born without magic. In a land where powers flow through one's veins as naturally as water down a mountain stream, Micah is an aberration detested by everyone-everyone except Alekka, a gifted but solitary mage who understands the p... read more
A power passed down through generations. A people hungry for freedom. The time for change has come.Since its founding, the matriarchal society of Corinas has existed under the oppressive rule of the Masters of the Conclave, who use powerful child Adepts to aid... read more
The half-tree, half-human beings lived a secret existence deep in the old growth forest. Until now. When 11-year old Daisy Castillo discovers a plot to destroy the forest, she tries to halt the approaching evil while keeping these magical creatures from being ... read more
Based on years of research and 121 real-life first dates, relationship expert Wendy Newman dishes up practical wisdom for navigating the online dating trenches with grace, efficiency, and a strong dose of humor.Wendy Newman has made every imaginable dating mis... read more
In his bestselling book Emergence, Derek Rydall helps you throw aside the self-help books and recognize one simple, radical truth: the answer is already in you.The harder we try to change, the deeper in the hole we get. We find a new partner but have the same ... read more
From aromatherapy and numerology to healing crystals and meditation, this fun and sassy guide to everything body-mind-spirit defines New Age practices for a new generation.What type of crystal should I put in my car for a road trip? Should I Feng Shui my smart... read more
Devlin's Ride

Carson M.

All Nate Devlin wants is a ranch to call home. A quiet spot to settle down. He's found the perfect place on the edge of Eastern Oregon's high desert. At the base of the rolling Ochoco Mountains there's a canyon with a steady spring called the Clearwater. Clear... read more
Paladin, Traitor, Outcast, Mercenary…Dain Gladstone has been all of these. From childhood he’s been groomed for battle and trained in the Light. When war came he was branded a traitor and exiled for a treasonous act of mercy. To make his way in the world Dain ... read more
An atmospheric and romantic debut fantasy perfect for fans of Ash and The Winner’s Curse.Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her ... read more

Sylvia has 12 reviews





Hannah P.

Hannah P.

Jan, 2020

Worth every penny and more!! I cannot recommend Sylvia enough. From answering my thousands of questions over call and email to wading through my countless last-minute changes to the manuscript, Sylvia is a pro. I cannot thank her enough for the incredible developmental and copy editing work she did on my manuscript. She knows how to perfect worldbuilding and character arcs and her attention to ...
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Christine H.

Christine H.

Jul, 2019

As always, working together has been a joy!
Christine H.

Christine H.

Mar, 2019

Working with Sylvia has grown and stretched my work in wonderful ways! She excels at giving feedback without presumption, just pointing out weak areas and offering suggestions. A lovely experience.
Crista L.

Crista L.

Dec, 2018

I absolutely loved collaborating with Sylvia and WILL hire her again on my next manuscript! Her input was spot on. Her edits included suggestions that felt like little gifts. She helped to to refine my show-not-tell skills, and strengthen a relationship with small little tweaks to a point of utter endearment. With each edit or suggestion, I was nodding my head and saying "Yup!", "Yas!", "True...
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Crista L.

Crista L.

Nov, 2018

Working with Sylvia was easy. As a first-time writer, I envisioned harsh criticism but her assessment was really supportive and backed with a rock-solid reasoning that I wholeheartedly agreed. It felt more like teamwork or a partnership. She is also knowledgeable about the market and helped to mold the story to fit better into the appropriate age group. The experience was so positive that I ret...
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