I can work on the 'big picture' of your manuscript, and on the detailed nitty-gritty of your writing, helping you to:
+ develop, clarify, and organise your ideas or narrative – giving it a compelling structure
+ write clear, elegant, and powerful prose – in your own voice
+ research the vivid details that bring a story to life
+ coach you through the process, taking the pain out as you build up your manuscript in easy stages and develop your skills
+ adapt an existing manuscript (or blog posts, articles, etc) so that it reads like a real book
[We can do all this by email, by zoom, or over the phone, as you prefer. I can work with your notes or first draft, too.]
We can also create a professional, industry-standard book pitch, so you can find a publisher or an agent. I will:
+ position your book, so it's absolutely clear who the readership is
+ identify why your book is better than the competition
+ review your query letter or create a pitch
+ research the market and find the best potential home for it
Having written six books, published hundreds, and sold even more, I know how to craft a distinctive, commercial proposal that agents and publishers will take seriously.
So if you have a non-fiction idea that needs working into shape, then I can help.
For more than twenty years, I've created books and sold them. My start was in foreign rights, selling lifestyle books to European publishers: then I took on the US, co-publishing with houses like Harper, Abrams, Chronicle, Random House, St Martins, Thunder Bay and so on. I then became a publisher and created books that sold millions of copies around the world.
Now I write my own books, one of which, HOW TO RAISE A LOAF AND FALL IN LOVE WITH SOURDOUGH, went to #1 in amazon.co.uk's bread baking category on its release. I've also written three books about bicycles and one about marijuana.
My private clients have included people from all walks of life - parents, chefs, diplomats, refugees, teachers, missionaries, drug smugglers, and doctors. The stories I've heard have been amazing – often extremely moving – and it's been a privilege to help my clients get them down on the page. It's also incredibly satisfying to see them go on to win publishing deals.
As a writer, I'm here to help you express yourself:
+ I know how to structure and pace a book
+ I can work in any register - chatty and informal, academic and authoritative, or tense and exciting
+ I listen, and enjoy working collaboratively
As a seasoned book professional, I know what makes a strong pitch:
+ I can turn your non-fiction idea into a compelling business proposal, so stands out in a challenging marketplace.
+ I can work with nearly any non-fiction or lifestyle genre
+ I know the US, UK and European markets, and have placed literally hundreds of titles at concept stage.
As a coach, I can help you write it all yourself:
+ I'll give you structural advice about plot, story, and pace – so your readers will be sucked right in to the page
+ I can help you organise complicated material - often difficult in non-fiction.
+ I'll give you style tips and advice, so that you can develop confidence in your own writing
+ We'll work together to keep the process fun and your motivation high
I write books and I'm pleased to say that one of them, HOW TO RAISE A LOAF AND FALL IN LOVE WITH SOURDOUGH, immediately went to #1 in amazon.co.uk's Bread Baking category on its release. I've written six books so far and have one more under contract.
I also write for other people, helping them to
+ develop and clarify their ideas
+ position their concept, making it absolutely clear who the readership is, and why their book will appeal
+ copy edit their language so that it's elegant, clear and professional
I've published many titles in my time, and sold even more, so I know how to make punchy, commercial book presentations that agents and publishers take seriously.
If you have a non-fiction idea that needs polishing into shape, or need a pitch or query letter, then I can help.
Ilex (an imprint of Hachette UK)
2008-2014 RIGHTS DIRECTOR / EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER
I joined Ilex as Rights Director, responsible for placing our titles with US publishers, and I also oversaw our own UK and Export sales, via T&H. I assumed publishing responsibilities over time, with a formal promotion to Executive Publisher in 2011. As well as conceiving titles of my own and managing two commissioning editors I maintained long-term relationships with a wide variety of US publishers including Random House, Abrams, Chronicle, Focal Press, Harper, Princeton Architectural Press, Readerlink, F&W, Wiley, Barron’s, Running Press, St Martin’s, Sterling, Rizzoli, Chicago University Press, Smithsonian Institution, Lark, Reader’s Digest, Firefly, Andrews McMeel, Hampton Roads, etc.
Other achievements included:
• Managing consistent year-on-year trade sales growth via our distribution partners, Thames & Hudson
• Conceiving and implementing Ilex’s brand and market positioning in creativity and practical photography publishing
• Launching our US publishing programme, managing its sales and distribution via Ingram Publisher Services
Following Hachette UK’s acquisition of Ilex in 2014, I was made Publisher, responsible for the integration of Ilex’s list and personnel, the rapid subsequent growth in sales, and origination of up to 50 new titles each year. I retained responsibility for US rights sales, and worked closely with Hachette’s in-house sales, press, publicity and marketing teams in order to develop our international and domestic markets.
Particular achievements included:
• Turning first-time authors into category best-sellers (like Jake Spicer) or multi-million-copy international phenomena (like Thomas Pavitte) and maintaining the sales of Ilex’s historic best-seller, Michael Freeman.
• Securing our first licensed publishing deals with Marvel, the National Gallery and Tate.
2018 - 2019 LICENSING DIRECTOR
With both sales and commissioning budgets, I was responsible for building OPG’s licensed publishing, securing new licensing and sub-licensing contracts with top-tier entertainment licensors. These included Peanuts, Lucasfilm, Warner Brothers, Netflix, The Cartoon Network, Ubisoft and Disney. At the same time, I sold US co-edition rights in the Ilex list to a growing customer base, and worked closely with the Hachette sales forces.
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