Roly Allen

Roly Allen - Ghostwriter

Hove, UK

Ex-Hachette publisher: now I write books, and offer non-fiction writing and pitching services. Varied, proven expertise: art, food, sport...

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Overview

I'm a publishing professional, with decades of experience in non-fiction and illustrated books. My start was in foreign rights, selling lifestyle titles (food & drink, health, wellness, gardening...) to European publishers: then I took on the US, selling the Ilex list of books about creativity (art, photography, activity books, film, etc) to houses like Harper, Abrams, Chronicle, Random House, St Martins, Thunder Bay and so on. I became publisher of the imprint when it was acquired by Hachette UK. I've also written one book about cycling that sold very well, and have a food book coming out next year that I have high hopes for.

I offer two services: pitch doctoring, and ghostwriting.

As a seasoned rights salesperson and publisher I know what makes a strong pitch, and I can help you turn your non-fiction idea into a compelling business proposal, letting it stand out in a challenging marketplace. I'll consider any non-fiction work but my speciality is illustrated (or photographic) books around creativity and lifestyle: I know the US, UK and European markets for these books pretty well and have placed hundreds of books at concept stage.

As a ghost writer or collaborator, I can partner up with someone who's an expert in their own field and let them express themselves clearly and elegantly. I know how to structure and pace a book, and I can write in any register from chatty and informal to academic and authoritative. So for instance, if you're a talented chef, I'll be able to translate your recipes to the page, and find a way for you to tell your story too.
Services
Short-Form Content
Languages
English (UK)
English (US)
Non-Fiction
Art
Cooking & Food Wine & Spirits
Design
DIY & Crafts
Photography
Publishing
Sports & outdoor recreation

Work experience

Write

Self-employed
February, 2019 – Present (7 months)

I write books and I'm pleased to say that my next one is being published in Spring 2020 in the UK and US. I've got a few other pitches underway of my own, and I've also worked on a few for other people. I've published a fair few titles in my time, and sold even more, so I have a good idea of how to make a solid, commercial book presentation that publishers will look at.

If you have a non-fiction idea that needs polishing into shape, or need a ghost-writer, maybe I can help.

Publisher / Rights Director / Licensing Director

Ilex (an imprint of Hachette UK)
January, 2008 – February, 2019 (about 11 years)

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

2014-2018 PUBLISHER
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.

Portfolio (23 selected works)

Muck, Sweat & Gears: A Celebration of Cycling

Alan Anderson

Whether your idea of cycling is a relaxed meander along a towpath on a summer's evening, the exhilaration of racing through the Rockies, or the satisfaction of biking to work, this witty, lively, and informative book is sure to inspire and entertain. Packed with fascinating facts, quotations, statistics, stories, personalities, advice, and trivia, Muck, Sweat & Gears is the ultimate guide to b... read more

Whether your idea of cycling is a relaxed meander along a towpath on a summer's evening, the exhilaration of racing through the Rockies, or the satisfaction of biking to work, this witty, lively, and informative book is sure to inspire and entertain. Packed with fascinating facts, quotations, statistics, stories, personalities, advice, and trivia, Muck, Sweat & Gears is the ultimate guide to b... read more

1000 Dot-to-Dot: Animals

Thomas Pavitte

Connect the dots in these puzzles with pizzazz and watch as sophisticated, stylish portraits of twenty different animals emerge.Beautiful animal portraits are revealed as you complete each section of dots—so intricate you’ll want to display your finished work! The twenty puzzles in this book are much more sophisticated than the one-dimensional images created in childhood. Tonal shading and exp... read more

Connect the dots in these puzzles with pizzazz and watch as sophisticated, stylish portraits of twenty different animals emerge.Beautiful animal portraits are revealed as you complete each section of dots—so intricate you’ll want to display your finished work! The twenty puzzles in this book are much more sophisticated than the one-dimensional images created in childhood. Tonal shading and exp... read more

You Will Be Able to Draw By the End of this Book

Jake Spicer

This book is for anybody who wants to draw more, whether you are learning from scratch or developing existing skills. When you're learning to draw, the most important thing you'll own is a sketchbook, and this is a sketchbook with training wheels. Let go of your fear and unlock drawing skills that you never believed you could have with this expertly guided sketchbook. Not your ordinary art boo... read more

This book is for anybody who wants to draw more, whether you are learning from scratch or developing existing skills. When you're learning to draw, the most important thing you'll own is a sketchbook, and this is a sketchbook with training wheels. Let go of your fear and unlock drawing skills that you never believed you could have with this expertly guided sketchbook. Not your ordinary art boo... read more

The Photographer's Handbook: Be your best photographer

Michael Freeman

To take photos you need to get your settings right.To take good photos you need to understand how your camera works.To take great photos, you need to think about what you're shooting.This book will show you how to master all three.Divided into three definitive sections; Technology & Hardware, Shooting Skills and Subjects & Style, professional photographer Michael Freeman explores these topics ... read more

To take photos you need to get your settings right.To take good photos you need to understand how your camera works.To take great photos, you need to think about what you're shooting.This book will show you how to master all three.Divided into three definitive sections; Technology & Hardware, Shooting Skills and Subjects & Style, professional photographer Michael Freeman explores these topics ... read more

If You Are Bored With WATERCOLOR Read This Book

Veronica Ballart Lilja

Are you bored of painting tasteful landscapes, light seascapes and delicate still-lifes? Or are you laboring under the misconception that that is simply all watercolor is good for? Maybe you're so bored of looking at watercolor paintings that you've never even tried it!Whether you're at the beginning of your artistic journey, stuck in a rut and in desperate need of some inspiration or simply l... read more

Are you bored of painting tasteful landscapes, light seascapes and delicate still-lifes? Or are you laboring under the misconception that that is simply all watercolor is good for? Maybe you're so bored of looking at watercolor paintings that you've never even tried it!Whether you're at the beginning of your artistic journey, stuck in a rut and in desperate need of some inspiration or simply l... read more

Querkles: Masterpieces

Thomas Pavitte

There are numbers of ways to create a masterpiece!Enjoy a renaissance in coloring books from the best-selling author of the 1000 Dot-to-Dot series! Unveil twenty of the world's most famous artworks within the circles using pencils, paints, markers, or any coloring medium you choose. These classic art treasures can be removed and displayed when you're finished. Monochrome or multicolored, the c... read more

There are numbers of ways to create a masterpiece!Enjoy a renaissance in coloring books from the best-selling author of the 1000 Dot-to-Dot series! Unveil twenty of the world's most famous artworks within the circles using pencils, paints, markers, or any coloring medium you choose. These classic art treasures can be removed and displayed when you're finished. Monochrome or multicolored, the c... read more

Art of Neil Gaiman: The Story of a Writer with Handwritten Notes, Drawings, Manuscripts, and Personal Photographs

Hayley Campbell

Now in paperback, the utterly comprehensive, lavishly illustrated, and fully authorized account of the life and work of one of the world’s great storytellers, Neil Gaiman.Novelist, comics writer, scriptwriter, poet, and occasional artist, there are few creative avenues Neil Gaiman hasn’t ventured down—from unforgettable books like The Ocean at the End of the Lane and American Gods to groundbre... read more

Now in paperback, the utterly comprehensive, lavishly illustrated, and fully authorized account of the life and work of one of the world’s great storytellers, Neil Gaiman.Novelist, comics writer, scriptwriter, poet, and occasional artist, there are few creative avenues Neil Gaiman hasn’t ventured down—from unforgettable books like The Ocean at the End of the Lane and American Gods to groundbre... read more

The Little Book of Coloring for Calm: 100 Mandalas for Relaxation in Minutes

Madonna Gauding

Color yourself relaxed with this compact collection of mandala designs! Coloring designs as intricate as mandalas demands mental focus, similar to the concentration you can develop during meditation. This collection of 100 designs by respected mandala expert Madonna Gauding will help you silence your mental chatter and achieve a kind of mindfulness that will leave you refreshed, calm and focus... read more

Color yourself relaxed with this compact collection of mandala designs! Coloring designs as intricate as mandalas demands mental focus, similar to the concentration you can develop during meditation. This collection of 100 designs by respected mandala expert Madonna Gauding will help you silence your mental chatter and achieve a kind of mindfulness that will leave you refreshed, calm and focus... read more

Alan Moore: Storyteller

Millidge Gary Spencer

The definitive book on Alan Moore, renowned as one of the most important talents in contemporary comics and graphic novels, and his trailblazing works of visual storytelling. Alan Moore is one of the most important creative forces in the history of comics. His innovative works, which include V for Vendetta, Watchmen, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, have become enduring features of t... read more

The definitive book on Alan Moore, renowned as one of the most important talents in contemporary comics and graphic novels, and his trailblazing works of visual storytelling. Alan Moore is one of the most important creative forces in the history of comics. His innovative works, which include V for Vendetta, Watchmen, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, have become enduring features of t... read more

The World According to Rick (A Rick and Morty Book)

Rick Sanchez

A must-have gift book: the wit, wisdom, and frequent diatribes of mad scientist Rick Sanchez of Adult Swim's Rick and Morty, the Emmy-winning, #1 animated series on TV.Finally, from the self-appointed "Most Intelligent Being in the Multiverse" Rick Sanchez of Rick and Morty: a mind-bending collection of his innate and acquired wisdom. Each season, Rick and his grandson Morty embark on thrillin... read more

A must-have gift book: the wit, wisdom, and frequent diatribes of mad scientist Rick Sanchez of Adult Swim's Rick and Morty, the Emmy-winning, #1 animated series on TV.Finally, from the self-appointed "Most Intelligent Being in the Multiverse" Rick Sanchez of Rick and Morty: a mind-bending collection of his innate and acquired wisdom. Each season, Rick and his grandson Morty embark on thrillin... read more

Book of Ornamental Alphabets: Ancient & Mediaeval

F. G. Delamotte

Whether you're a type nerd, an illustrator or a professional designer, The Book Of Ornamental Alphabets is the perfect sourcebook. Find scores of thoughtfully selected royalty-free alphabet fonts within, as well as numerals, monograms and more.An iconic Victorian book, re-published for the first time in over 150 years, The Book Of Ornamental Alphabets is an unbeatable resource and a must-have ... read more

Whether you're a type nerd, an illustrator or a professional designer, The Book Of Ornamental Alphabets is the perfect sourcebook. Find scores of thoughtfully selected royalty-free alphabet fonts within, as well as numerals, monograms and more.An iconic Victorian book, re-published for the first time in over 150 years, The Book Of Ornamental Alphabets is an unbeatable resource and a must-have ... read more

The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga

Helen McCarthy

Osamu Tezuka has often been called “the god of manga” and “the Walt Disney of Japan,” but he was far more than that. Tezuka was Walt Disney, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Tim Burton, and Carl Sagan all rolled into one incredibly prolific creator, changing the face of Japanese culture forever. Best known for Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion, Tezuka was instrumental in developing Japanese animation an... read more

Osamu Tezuka has often been called “the god of manga” and “the Walt Disney of Japan,” but he was far more than that. Tezuka was Walt Disney, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Tim Burton, and Carl Sagan all rolled into one incredibly prolific creator, changing the face of Japanese culture forever. Best known for Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion, Tezuka was instrumental in developing Japanese animation an... read more

Hollywood Frame by Frame: The Unseen Silver Screen in Contact Sheets, 1951-1997

Karina Longworth

There is a voyeuristic thrill in contact sheets, the direct prints used by photographers of the pre-digital age to edit their work. You look directly through the photographer's eyes as each photo gets closer to that perfect shot. And yet, it's often the photos not chosen that best capture the true spirit of their subjects and the life they lead after the director yells cut. This was never true... read more

There is a voyeuristic thrill in contact sheets, the direct prints used by photographers of the pre-digital age to edit their work. You look directly through the photographer's eyes as each photo gets closer to that perfect shot. And yet, it's often the photos not chosen that best capture the true spirit of their subjects and the life they lead after the director yells cut. This was never true... read more

Pring's Photographer's Miscellany: Stories, Techniques, Tips & Trivia (Ilex Miscellany)

Roger Pring

Pring's Photographer's Miscellany is a priceless compendium of the history, techniques and trivia of photography. Meet the mad, genius, daring (and sometimes fraudulent) pioneers and practitioners of all things photographic, Find out how ravenous soldiers jeopardised the success of pigeon-cam in the first world war, and learn how to take photographs on wood and even apples. Discover that the p... read more

Pring's Photographer's Miscellany is a priceless compendium of the history, techniques and trivia of photography. Meet the mad, genius, daring (and sometimes fraudulent) pioneers and practitioners of all things photographic, Find out how ravenous soldiers jeopardised the success of pigeon-cam in the first world war, and learn how to take photographs on wood and even apples. Discover that the p... read more

Create Your Own Website The Easy Way: The complete guide to getting you or your business online

Alannah Moore

Whether you need a personal site to showcase your work, or a complex webstore with customized features, you can build it yourself without having to code, design or spend a lot of money.Alannah Moore made a name for herself by demystifying website creation and enabling non-technical people to get themselves up and online using the powerful tools available today - the 'Do-It-Yourself' way. She g... read more

Whether you need a personal site to showcase your work, or a complex webstore with customized features, you can build it yourself without having to code, design or spend a lot of money.Alannah Moore made a name for herself by demystifying website creation and enabling non-technical people to get themselves up and online using the powerful tools available today - the 'Do-It-Yourself' way. She g... read more

Cannabis: A Beginner's Guide to Growing Marijuana

Danny Danko

This is the most accessible, attractive, and easy-to-use beginner’s guide to growing marijuana. In only 144 illustrated pages, High Times editor, Danny Danko, covers the basics of successful pot cultivation. This book is a primer that covers:The basics of setting up a grow roomGenetics and seedsGerminationSexingCloningBuilding budsHarvestingPest, fungi, molds, and deficienciesConcentrates, edi... read more

This is the most accessible, attractive, and easy-to-use beginner’s guide to growing marijuana. In only 144 illustrated pages, High Times editor, Danny Danko, covers the basics of successful pot cultivation. This book is a primer that covers:The basics of setting up a grow roomGenetics and seedsGerminationSexingCloningBuilding budsHarvestingPest, fungi, molds, and deficienciesConcentrates, edi... read more

Marvel: The Amazing 1000 Dot-to-Dot Book

Thomas Pavitte

These dot-to-dot puzzles are simply marvelous!Your favorite Marvel superheroes are presented in 20 dot-to-dot puzzles that are amazing enough to display when you're finished! More sophisticated than the one-dimensional dot-to-dots you knew as a child, these puzzles take about 30 minutes to complete. Expressive line work builds as you join the dots, and each page is easily removed when you're f... read more

These dot-to-dot puzzles are simply marvelous!Your favorite Marvel superheroes are presented in 20 dot-to-dot puzzles that are amazing enough to display when you're finished! More sophisticated than the one-dimensional dot-to-dots you knew as a child, these puzzles take about 30 minutes to complete. Expressive line work builds as you join the dots, and each page is easily removed when you're f... read more

Practical Hdr

David Nightingale

HDR - High Dynamic Range - photography enables photographers to combine multiple exposures and to show scenes as we perceive them with our own eyes. 'Practical HDR' tells you everything you need to know about the topic, with an overview of the technicalities, step-by-step advice, and a global showcase of exceptional HDR images.

HDR - High Dynamic Range - photography enables photographers to combine multiple exposures and to show scenes as we perceive them with our own eyes. 'Practical HDR' tells you everything you need to know about the topic, with an overview of the technicalities, step-by-step advice, and a global showcase of exceptional HDR images.

The Collier-Campbell Archive: 50 Years of Passion in Pattern

Susan Collier, Sarah Campbell, Emma Shackleton

For nearly fifty years, sisters Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell have been at the forefront of textile design. Collections for London’s Liberty department store made their name, with designs like Bauhaus (1972) deemed a significant turning point, paving the way for a vibrant new aesthetic. Their work at this point included prints, furnishing and dress textiles, and famously Liberty’s noted sca... read more

For nearly fifty years, sisters Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell have been at the forefront of textile design. Collections for London’s Liberty department store made their name, with designs like Bauhaus (1972) deemed a significant turning point, paving the way for a vibrant new aesthetic. Their work at this point included prints, furnishing and dress textiles, and famously Liberty’s noted sca... read more

What They Didn't Teach You in Design School

Phil Cleaver

With record numbers of design and advertising students graduating into the job market each year, it makes more sense now than ever before to be fully armed to succeed. This book helps new designers make the transition from design school to work, giving them the ammunition they need for a successful start. Here the reader will learn how to get that all-important first job, and how to impress th... read more

With record numbers of design and advertising students graduating into the job market each year, it makes more sense now than ever before to be fully armed to succeed. This book helps new designers make the transition from design school to work, giving them the ammunition they need for a successful start. Here the reader will learn how to get that all-important first job, and how to impress th... read more

The Creative Person's Website Builder: How to Make a Pro Website Yourself Using Word Press and Other Easy Tools

Alannah Moore

Your website is the face that your creative endeavours show to the world, and you owe it to yourself to make it the most inviting and user-friendly site on the web. With The Creative Person's Website Builder, you'll learn how to create a site from scratch, or massively improve what you already have, quickly and economically.Tailor-made for creative professionals, artists and entrepreneurs, thi... read more

Your website is the face that your creative endeavours show to the world, and you owe it to yourself to make it the most inviting and user-friendly site on the web. With The Creative Person's Website Builder, you'll learn how to create a site from scratch, or massively improve what you already have, quickly and economically.Tailor-made for creative professionals, artists and entrepreneurs, thi... read more

Disney the Simple Family Cookbook

Jean-Francois Mallet

Discover the joy of cooking with your loved ones using 100 recipes inspired by your favorite Disney characters. Make spaghetti with Lady and the Tramp, sweet snowballs with Olaf and Elsa and Hawaiian pizza with Lilo and Stitch. Each recipe uses only 2-5 ingredients and has simple instructions so that you can whip up a delightful dish with ease. With healthy dishes for children, adults, or the ... read more

Discover the joy of cooking with your loved ones using 100 recipes inspired by your favorite Disney characters. Make spaghetti with Lady and the Tramp, sweet snowballs with Olaf and Elsa and Hawaiian pizza with Lilo and Stitch. Each recipe uses only 2-5 ingredients and has simple instructions so that you can whip up a delightful dish with ease. With healthy dishes for children, adults, or the ... read more

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Johnny Acton

Experienced ghostwriter, author and copy-editor. Personable and very versatile. I specialise in biography, sport, food and popular history.

London, United Kingdom

Kate Shoup

I launched my career as a freelance writer and editor in 1999. Since then I've written more than 50 titles and edited dozens more.

Indianapolis, IN, USA

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