Toni Sciarra Poynter

Toni Sciarra Poynter – Editor

I'm a bestselling editor/writer with 25+ years' experience in NYC book publishing who can help you prepare your nonfiction for publication.


Writing a book is hard work, often sandwiched between all kinds of life responsibilities. It's lonely, too: just you, your thoughts, and the blank page (or glowing screen). Maybe you find yourself thinking: "Does this make sense?" or "Is this interesting to someone other than me?"

My editorial assessment letter can help answer these and other questions.

As an independent nonfiction editor and writer since 2008 and having held editorial acquisition positions at HarperCollins, William Morrow, Simon and Schuster, and Macmillan, I have demonstrated editing experience in many nonfiction categories, including science, psychology, important social and cultural trends, wellness, lifestyle, women's issues, family issues, workplace and career issues, personal improvement, and selected narrative nonfiction. My clients have been published by Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster, Public Affairs/Hachette, Rodale, and Workman.

Editing highlights include The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll (New York Times bestseller), Do Unto Animals by Tracey Stewart (New York Times bestseller), and Mind in the Making by Ellen Galinsky (more than 1.5 billion media impressions. My coauthored books collectively have been translated into more than 50 foreign editions. Collaboration highlights include Dangerous Personalities by Joe Navarro (Wall Street Journal bestseller), The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani (New York Times bestseller), and The Freelancer's Bible by Sara Horowitz (praised in The Wall Street Journal's "The Books You Need To Read to Understand the Freelance World").

Thanks to my decades of publishing experience, I have a strong grasp of publishing industry best practices and can tell you how your manuscript measures up.

I can help you zero in on the "what" and the "why" behind your book and offer ideas for making your manuscript more clear, cogent, and compelling.

I can provide insight from the point of view of an interested-but-questioning reader, pinpointing areas that are confusing, unconvincing, repetitive, or otherwise disruptive to the process of discovering your ideas and learning from you.

One of the challenges of writing is that we can't talk to our readers beforehand and ask them whether they "get" what we're doing. Working with a trusted editor is like having that conversation at a point when it can make a startling and positive difference in the quality of your work.

I hope to have that conversation with you.

“Toni [Sciarra Poynter], has been my brilliant editorial consultant for Mind in the Making. She has been my first, middle, and last reader. Every conversation with Toni—via e-mail, over the phone, or in person—brings me joy, deeper insight, and new understandings."
--Ellen Galinsky, cofounder of the Families and Work Institute, author of Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs (HarperCollins)

“Writing a book is not easy, as anyone who has attempted it will attest. Working with Toni Sciarra Poynter has certainly made that task truly enjoyable. . . . Toni has a sharp wit to match her mind, a tremendous work ethic, and a high standard of professionalism for her craft. . . . Toni has been a joy to work with throughout this endeavor. This book would not have been possible without first her encouragement and later her elegant crafting of the thoughts I envisioned. To her I give my first and most sincere thanks.”
--Joe Navarro, author of Louder Than Words: Take Your Career from Average to Exceptional with the Hidden Power of Nonverbal Intelligence (HarperCollins) [served as collaborating writer]

“To Toni Sciarra Poynter, who is divinely inspired in taking all forms of intuitive knowledge or ideas and expertly turning them into thoughtful, understandable, logical prose. You made this book journey a pleasure. Your ideas are genius and you are a good friend to boot.”
--Sara Horowitz, founder and executive director of Freelancers Union and author of The Freelancer’s Bible (Workman Publishing) [served as collaborating writer]

"My thanks to . . . [m]y collaborator Toni Sciarra Poynter for keeping me on track, kicking my butt, and going above and beyond anything I expected to help make this book a success." --Vishen Lakhiani, author of
The Code of the Extraordinary Mind (Rodale) [served as collaborating writer]

“[Toni Sciarra Poynter's] unending encouragement and uncanny ability to help me hone my words and fine-tune my thoughts brought my ideas into focus in a way that regularly amazed me. Working with Toni was a pleasure and an experience I truly cherished.”
--Steven Craig, Psy.D., author of The 6 Husbands Every Wife Should Have: How Couples Who Change Together Stay Together (Simon & Schuster)

“Working with three authors could only have been handled so expertly by Toni Sciarra Poynter. Her skill, thoughtful organization and unfailing sense of humor have been astonishing. We are truly grateful. We couldn’t have done it without her!”
--Ann Blumenthal Jacobs, Patricia Ryan Lampl, and Tish Rabe, authors of Love for Grown-Ups (Harlequin Nonfiction) [served as collaborating writer]
Business & Management Health & Wellbeing Humanities & Social Sciences Parenting & Families Psychology Self-Help & Self-Improvement
English (US)
  • Vassar College B.A., English. Phi Beta Kappa, General and Departmental Honors, Thesis Distinction
  • Publishing Institute, University of Denver
  • Women's Media Group (WMG) past co-president
  • Authors Guild

Work experience


Apr, 2008 — Present

I provide nonfiction editing, collaboration, and publishing know-how for projects with breakout potential in science, psychology, important social and cultural trends, wellness, lifestyle, women's issues, family issues, career and workplace issues, personal improvement, and selected narrative nonfiction. Publishers include HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster, Penguin Random House, Public Affairs/Hachette, Rodale, Harlequin Nonfiction, Guideposts, and Workman. Detailed bio and client testimonials at Publishers Marketplace.

HarperCollins Publishers

Oct, 1999 — Mar, 2008 (over 8 years)

Acquired and edited nonfiction by respected brands and authors with impressive credentials and profile in health/medicine, psychology, science, lifestyle, social trends, family and women's issues, and personal improvement, including Mayo Clinic (4 books, including 2 editions of the classic 1,400-page Mayo Clinic Family Health Book, Emily Post Institute (13 titles), trainer Jack Canfield, lifestyle author Alexandra Stoddard (13 titles), business psychology expert Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., retired FBI Special Agent Joe Navarro's international bestseller What Every Body Is Saying, and child researcher Alison Gopnik, Ph.D. Enhanced backlist sales of valued house authors, including Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Gary Zukav’s The Dancing Wu Li Masters, Leonard Shlain’s Art and Physics, Margaret Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa, and other classics.

William Morrow & Company

Aug, 1991 — Sep, 1999 (about 8 years)

Acquired and edited practical nonfiction and selected narrative nonfiction. Responsible for major franchises and noted authors and brands, including: Mayo Clinic, Families and Work Institute President Ellen Galinsky, Salk Institute neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran, M.D., Ph.D., bestselling author Spencer Johnson, New York Times science writers Gina Kolata and Sandra Blakeslee, New York University Medical School Women’s Health Service (4-book series), the American Pharmaceutical Association, and Good Housekeeping (a series of parenting guides and a household encyclopedia). From 1994-1999, held dual positions managing Quill Trade Paperbacks along with full hardcover acquisition responsibilities. Oversaw rapid expansion of Quill program from 24-30 titles per year to approximately 60 titles annually.

Prentice Hall Press, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster

Dec, 1988 — Jul, 1991 (over 2 years)

Acquired breakout practical nonfiction and worked with leading authors and brands, including the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible (more than 2 million sold in multiple editions), bestselling psychologist Paul Pearsall, Ph.D., early QVC success Flatter Your Figure by Jan Larkey, and a parenting series with Sesame Workshop (then Children’s Television Workshop).


One of the world’s foremost parenting experts offers a revolutionary guide for translating a crying baby’s urgent messages. Like many new parents, Priscilla Dunstan was at her wit’s end trying to ease the crying of her colicky infant son. Then she made a start... read more
HOW TO MARRY FOR LIFE—WHEN YOU'VE ALREADY GOT A LIFEOver thirty-five and still seeking that special someone?About to take a serious relationship to the next level and want to make sure it works—for keeps?The Garter Brides can help!These three friends—whose nam... read more
Potted plants aren't mere decoration; they offer a rare opportunity to find joy by caring for another living being. Summer Rayne Oakes keeps over 1,000 live houseplants spanning over 400 species in her Brooklyn apartment. She's an environmental scientist, an e... read more
Unlock your children’s potential by helping them build their strengths.This game-changing book shows us the extraordinary results of focusing on our children’s strengths rather than always trying to correct their weaknesses. Most parents struggle with this shi... read more
#1 New York Times bestseller and USA Today bestseller The more we know about the animals in our world and the better we care for them, the better our lives will be. Former veterinary technician and animal advocate Tracey Stewart understands this better than mo... read more
Live Dirty, Eat Clean—because every serious disease or chronic ailment begins in our gut. The author of Gutbliss and one of today’s preeminent gastroenterologists distills the latest research on the microbiome into a practical program for boosting overall heal... read more
What if everything we think we know about how the world works—our ideas of love, education, spirituality, work, happiness, and love—are based on Brules (bullsh*t rules) that get passed from generation to generation and are long past their expiration date?This ... read more
Amazingly, one-third of the American workforce is freelance―that’s 42 million people who have to wrestle with not just doing the work, but finding the work, then getting paid for the work, plus health care, taxes, setting up an office, marketing, and so on. No... read more
“Ellen Galinsky—already the go-to person on interaction between families and the workplace—draws on fresh research to explain what we ought to be teaching our children. This is must-reading for everyone who cares about America’s fate in the 21st century.” — Ju... read more
What makes a narcissist go from self-involved to terrifying? In this national bestseller, Joe Navarro, a leading FBI profiler, unlocks the secrets to the personality disorders that put us all at risk. “I should have known.”“How could we have missed the warning... read more
New York Times bestseller! The long-awaited book by the founder of the enormously popular Bullet Journal® planner, journal, calendar, and all-around organizational system.For years Ryder Carroll tried countless organizing systems, online and off, but none of t... read more

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