Testimonials


“Judy is the editor every writer dreams of. She is encouraging, inspiring, and enthusiastic while being tough, thorough, and persistent.  Her insight and vision can transform a book while staying true to the writer’s purpose and voice. Judy is a creative collaborator willing to wrestle through difficult editorial problems. She manages to be demanding yet positive, and is never afraid to improvise, argue (gently), and laugh.  My first novel is about to be published, and my book and I are lucky to have benefited from her incisive mind and joyous spirit.”
—Melodie Winawer, author of The Scribe of Sienna

With tact, encouragement, and brilliant insights, Judy got me to see how the story structure of my novel could be rethought another way, and guided me through the process.  Because I was also working, my project took years to complete, and Judy and I don't even live in the same city.  Yet, I always felt connected to her.  Ultimately, her enthusiasm and support got me to my goal: being published.  Having Judy in your life is like having a writing soulmate—and don't we all need that?”
--Barbara Lynn-Davis, author of Casanova’s Secret Wife

"Judy Sternlight made my novel better. She suggested changes that I could not have envisioned by myself--helping me to make the arc of the novel more dramatic and to sharpen my focus on the main character, George Eliot. In short, Judy did the work of a great, old-fashioned editor, unfortunately a rarity in publishing houses these days."
--Dinitia Smith, author of The Honeymoon

"Judy Sternlight is an editor with an uncanny ability to bring out a story's strengths. With a discerning eye, she understands how to guide authors to their best work. Patient and passionate, she's a joy to work with." 
—Elliot Ackerman, author of Green on Blue

"I feel extremely lucky to have worked with Judy. She was able to identify exactly where I was trying to go with my novel, and exactly how to get it there. No matter how small or large her suggestions were, her insight was so wise and brilliant that it made me excited to get back to work. She helped my novel to reach its full potential. I wish she could be my own personal Editor-In-Residence." 
—Marie-Helene Bertino, author of 2 a.m. at the Cat's Pajamas

“My editor, the ‘exceptionally intelligent and insightful’ Judy Sternlight, as I described her on the Acknowledgements page of the novel Shadow Country, is also wonderful to work with, being altogether supportive yet discerning and dead honest about the work in hand. I think any writer would be happy and very lucky to have this exceptional editor.” 
—Peter Matthiessen, author of Shadow Country, winner of the National Book Award

"I first hired Judy Sternlight at Random House many years ago, where she quickly rose from editorial assistant to award-winning editor.  She has the acumen, drive, patience, empathy, and knowledge to steer even the most complicated manuscripts to success.  I've seen her work with numerous authors, always figuring out the right way to get the best work out of each.  She is simply one of the best editors in the book business."
—David Ebershoff, Former Random House VP, Executive Editor and author of The 19th Wife and The Danish Girl

“Judy Sternlight is a superb editor. I worked with her for years at Random House and have suggested to many writers that they retain her for her supremely good now-freelance editorial skills. She brought order and sense and consistency to my memoir. She has done the same for other writers I know. She is a Dog Person, too—what more could you want, unless you're a Cat Person, and even then she will not discriminate but may add a Milkbone surcharge to her fee .... Seriously—you want editorial help of the highest caliber? Here it is.” 
—Daniel Menaker, author of My Mistake

“Judy wants to pull your best work out of you. What more could a writer want in an editor?” 
—Rita Mae Brown, author of Animal Magnetism

“Judy Sternlight is a magnificent editor. Her gift for seeing what a piece of writing could be is matched only by her ability of knowing how to get it there. When we worked together on Naming the World, her vision transformed the book, and she worked tirelessly to shape the project into its ideal form. Her dedication to her writers is boundless, her passion for the projects she takes on is inspiring, and her expertise in the world of publishing is unparalleled. I look forward to working with her again and again, and to reading every author who’s had the good fortune to work with her.”
—Bret Anthony Johnston, author of Naming the World: And Other Exercises for the Creative Writer

“Judy Sternlight can pull a manuscript out of an author when other talented editors have despaired. And not just any manuscript, but a bestselling, award-winning manuscript. Creative, encouraging, and absolutely determined, she will not rest until the job is done right. She’s the best.” 
—Neil Olson, Literary Agent, Donadio & Olson

“Judy’s skills as an editor are superior not only because of her facility with language and the written word, but especially because of her extraordinary perceptiveness about the author. All editors can rearrange phrases and correct spelling and syntax errors, but can they all grasp the essence of your story and what you want to say? With open-mindedness and respect for your own abilities, she works seamlessly with you to produce a professional and polished product.”
—Kwei Quartey, author of Wife of the Gods

“Judy is a smart and sensitive editor with a sixth sense for drawing out the writer's own vision of her work. During the writing of my novel The Guardians she was a most reassuring voice and ally. I have worked with a lot of editors and I don't believe any writer can expect more than the gifts Judy generously brings to a writing project.”
—Ana Castillo, author of The Guardians

“Judy is a joy to work with—a fine editorial partner and creative collaborator. Any author would benefit from her advice.”
—Marly Rusoff, Literary Agent, Marly Rusoff & Associates