Becky Stradwick

Becky Stradwick – Editor

Former Penguin Random House Editorial Director with 20+ yrs experience. MS assessment, developmental editing, query advice (+ first 10k).

Overview

I've worked in the book industry for 23 years, as publisher, agent and bookseller.

As Editorial Director at Penguin Random House, I published authors such as Susan Cooper, James Dashner, Jason Segel, Holly Black & Cassandra Clare, Nancy Holder, Ellie Irving, Fox Benwell and Damian Dibben.

One of my happiest early memories was being taken to raid the senior school library, because I’d eaten every book in my primary school. It’s that hunger for stories that has guided my work ever since, and it’s always a thrill to be the first set of eyes on a book.

My advice comes from a commercial as well as a creative perspective. I think my authors would consider me a firm but fair editor who knows when to push and when to coax, and I am collaborative, confident and kind in my approach to maintaining your voice and vision.


As publisher, agent and editor, I’ve worked with hundreds of writers, from absolute beginners to Sunday Times/NYT bestsellers. I love working with writers who are at the beginning of their careers and enjoy coaching and supporting them through the editorial and submission process.


Becky is steeped in literature, and in my opinion is a true original: an editor who is not only insightful, empathetic and thorough, but also truly in touch with the book market. As a writer, you’re lucky if your editor has ONE of these assets, so I feel incredibly lucky to have been edited and guided by her. Any writer trying to find their voice will be brilliantly served by working with her.

Phil Earle.

Published by Puffin, Orion, Barrington Stoke.


I loved working with Becky! Her razor-sharp insights and skilful and thoughtful feedback helped to strengthen and lift my stories to the next level - and all delivered with such humour and passion too. You - and your manuscript - are in very safe hands.'

Ellie Irving.

Published by Penguin Random House


I have been a professional freelance writer for nearly 40 years (!) and of all the editors I have ever had, Bek is, and continues to be, my favorite. She is respectful of my voice, my vision, and my work. She has never tried to change me or mold me into anything or anyone else. Instead, with a clear eye, a brilliant grasp of story and craft, and a warm heart, she has led me to places in my writing I didn't know were there all along, inside me. Thoughtful, kind, yet direct and specific, her editorial guidance has been one of the highlights of my career. She is truly my dream editor, and I cannot express the deep gratitude I feel toward her. I appreciate her more than I can say, and anyone who works with Bek is fortunate beyond the telling.

Nancy Holder, award-winning NYT Times bestselling author.


I was super privileged in having Bek as my first editor (with Random House).I love the way she views the world, as well as her oversight of the industry and belief in its potential. She's shrewd and insightful, and approaches an author's work with compassion and passion in equal measure. Working with Bek made the entire process from commission to publication joyful, from an initial meeting and nerding out together over concepts and travel tales, to pulling out the best bits of a story and making them shine. I sincerely hope we get to work together again, because there's no one better.

In the words of Peregrin Took, "you need people of intelligence on this sort of Mission...quest...thing," and you want Bek in your fellowship.

Fox Benwell

Published by Penguin Random House



My desert island books are THE BORRIBLE TRILOGY by Michael Larrabeiti, WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams HIS DARK MATERIALS by Philip Pullman, and anything by Jonathan Stroud.


More recently, I've fallen in love with books by Akwaeke Emezi, Abi Elphinstone, and Leah Johnson.

Services
Fiction
Dystopian Historical Fiction Middle Grade Middle Grade Fantasy Mystery & Crime Thriller & Suspense Young Adult
Languages
English (AUS) English (UK) English (US)

Work experience

Self-employed

Jun, 2014 — Present

Structural and developmental editing, working directly with clients. Specialist in YA and MG, also
working on adult commercial fiction, narrative non-fiction, and screenplays.
Working with clients to develop opening chapters, query letters and agency submissions.

Penguin Random House

Feb, 2010 — Jun, 2014 (over 4 years)

As Editorial Director at Penguin Random House, I published authors such as Susan Cooper, James Dashner, Jason Segel, Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Damian Dibben, Ellie Irving, Fox Benwell, Nancy Holder, Debbie Viguie, Lauren Kate, John Stephens, Heather Demetrios, Rosemary Clement Moore and Elizabeth Laban.

Darley Anderson Literary Agency

Oct, 2008 — Apr, 2010 (over 1 year)

As literary agent at Darley Anderson’s, I represented authors including Phil Earle, Michelle Harrison, Carmen Reid, Jenna Burtenshaw, Rob Stevens, Adrienne Kress, and Lisa Clark.
Editing and developing books in preparation for submission to publishers.
Negotiating contracts with publishers and working with the agency team to sell international rights.

The Bookseller and Publishing News

Apr, 2002 — Dec, 2009 (over 7 years)

I wrote monthly reviews and articles for the Bookseller and Publishing News and contributed articles to the Children’s Writers and Artists Yearbook 2009 and 2010

Borders UK

Sep, 2001 — Sep, 2008 (about 7 years)

I worked as a bookseller, managing Books etc branches, before becoming Head of Children’s books for Borders UK, where I led the Head Office buying team. During this time the category benefited from double digit sales growth and won the Children’s Bookseller of the Year two years running.
I managed a team of buyers and merchandisers, overseeing multi-million pound budgets and sales targets, developing commercial strategy, and managing performance of the children’s category across 80 stores. I created the Children’s Books Specialist programme, training and developing experts in stores across the country.
I was part of the World Book Day committee, helping to choose WBD authors and illustrators and working closely with publishers to ensure the success of these initiatives.
I designed, wrote for and edited the Borders Children’s newsletter and new titles magazine.

Portfolio

The Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller.In May 1945, with victory in Europe established, the war was all but over. But on the other side of the world, the Allies were still engaged in a bitter struggle to control the Pacific. And it was then that the Japanese unle... read more
Imagine if you lost your parents - not just in place, but in time. Jake Djones' mum and dad have gone missing and they could be anywhere in the world - at any time in history. Because the Djones family have an astonishing secret, which for years they've manage... read more
And these are they. My final moments. They say a warrior must always be mindful of death, but I never imagined that it would find me like this . . . Japanese teenager Sora is diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Lonely and isolated, Sora turns to the anc... read more
Ghost Hawk

Susan Cooper

In the winter of his eleventh year, Little Hawk goes deep into the forest, where he must endure a three-month test of solitude and survival which will turn him into a man.But outside the woods, the world is changing. English settlers are landing on the shores ... read more
Spirit and Dust

Rosemary Clement-Moore

Speaking to the dead is nothing for Daisy Goodnight. The living, on the other hand, can occasionally be a problem. Especially when they knock you out and kidnap you.Willing or not, Daisy finds herself on a high-speed mission to track down a mob boss's precious... read more
Hexed

Michelle Krys

Indigo Blackwood has it made – a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn't want to be her?But when a sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie's world, she learns that the fate... read more
Fallen in Love

Lauren Kate

Unexpected. Unrequited. Forbidden. Eternal. Everyone has their own love story.And in a twist of fate, four extraordinary love stories combine over the course of a romantic Valentine's Day in Medieval England. Miles and Shelby find love where they least expect ... read more
Fallen

Lauren Kate

SOME ANGELS ARE DESTINED TO FALL.Instant. Intense. Weirdly familiar . . .The moment Luce looks at Daniel she knows she has never felt like this before. Except she can't shake the feeling that she has . . . and with him - a boy she doesn't remember ever setting... read more
When shocking news reaches the History Keepers’ headquarters, Jake Djones is sent head-first into a new adventure. The time-travelling agents voyage from Shakespeare’s England to Imperial China in pursuit of their most villainous foe yet, Xi Xiang, whose aim i... read more
The second instalment of the internationally acclaimed series which follows the adventures of Jake Djones and the extraordinary secret service that protects the true course of history . . .It's their deadliest mission yet: track down Agata Zeldt, the most evil... read more
Will West is careful to live life under the radar. At his parents' insistence, he's made sure to get mediocre grades and to stay in the middle of the pack on his cross-country team. Then Will slips up, accidentally scoring off the charts on a nationwide exam, ... read more
The Black Reckoning

John Stephens

The final instalment in the Books of Beginning series.Emma, Michael and Kate are locked in a race against time: to find their parents; to defeat the evil Dire Magnus; and to locate the final Book of Beginning. When all three books are united, their power will ... read more
It's been six months since Kate, Michael and Emma confronted the Dire Magnus, but the trail to their long-lost family remains cold. Then Michael and Emma find the man who was the last person to see them. He knows about a secret map of a distant, mysterious lan... read more
The Tragedy Paper

Elizabeth LaBan

Every year at an exclusive private boarding school in New York state, the graduating students uphold an old tradition - they must swear an oath of secrecy and leave behind a "treasure" for each incoming senior.When Duncan Meade inherits the room and secrets of... read more
Who do you run to?Out in the forest, tensions are blazing like forest fire. The ancient rivalry between the Fenner and Gaudin packs has reached fever pitch, and only a battle will quell the blood lust.Katelyn is caught in the middle, her pack loyalties tested ... read more
Perfect for fans of Twilight.What do you run from?Katelyn had only been in Wolf Springs a short time before she was bitten by a werewolf. And now she carries that creature's curse in her veins.But she's not alone. Wolf Springs is home to a hidden family of wer... read more
Perfect for fans of Twilight.Who do you run with?It's always tough being the new kid in town. And even worse when you have to live with your grandfather in the middle of the forest.But when Katelyn starts at Wolf Springs High she realizes that her new life mig... read more
Fox Benwell delivers a harrowing and beautifully written novel that explores the relationship between two girls obsessed with music, the practice of corrective rape in South Africa, and the risks and power of using your voice.Neo loves music, and all she ever ... read more
For the Record

Ellie Irving

Luke is a gifted but awkward ten-year-old who is obsessed with world records, and is nervous about starting senior school a year early as 'the swot with the dead dad'. When Luke's tiny, unique Jersey village is in danger of being bulldozed to the ground to mak... read more
Fleeced

Ellie Irving

WARNING!THIS STORY CONTAINS:- A sheep called Alan Shearer. Even though she's a she- The greatest illusion trick known to man!- DASTARDLY crooks- A pesky big brother- A 1000-piece Lord of the Rings Jigsaw puzzle with all the pieces making up Gandalf’s face miss... read more
The Mute Button

Ellie Irving

A hilarious new story from the author of BILLIE TEMPLAR'S WARHow do you make yourself heard in the midst of chaos?Anthony Button loves his big family, but their noise can drive him crazy. And with the arrival of a brand-new older brother, it’s worse than ever!... read more
Teardrop

Lauren Kate

Seventeen-year-old Eureka’s life is taking on dark undercurrents that don’t make sense . . .Her mother killed in a freak accident.Her best friend, Brooks, behaving like a stranger.And Ander. The boy with eyes like the ocean who is everywhere she goes.Uncoverin... read more
Exquisite Captive

Heather Demetrios

A jinni of tremendous ancient power and Empress to Arjinna, Nalia was sold into slavery on the dark caravan, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their masters’ every command. She’d do anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek... read more
Nightmares!

Jason Segel

The first book in a terrifyingly spooktastic adventure series by Jason Segel!WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF NIGHTMARES!Sleeping has never been so scary.And now waking up is even worse!Charlie has just moved into the sinister purple mansion that overlooks Cyprus Creek... read more
The first thrilling book in the most exciting children's fantasy series since Harry Potter.They were taken from their beds one frozen night, when the world was covered in snow. The silhouette of a tall, thin man has haunted Kate ever since. Ten years on, Kate,... read more
From James Dashner, the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, comes an edge-of-your seat adventure. The Eye of Minds is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and g... read more
From the imaginations of bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a heart-stopping plunge into the magical unknown.Think you know magic? Think again.The Magisterium awaits . . .Most people would do anything to get into the Magisterium and pass... read more
Billie Templar desperately wants her dad to come home. He's a soldier and has been away for seven weeks, fighting for 'Queen and country' - but how can the two of them possibly defend their four-year record of winning the three-legged race at the school carniv... read more

Becky has 26 reviews

Professionalism

Quality

Value

Responsiveness

Samuel C.

Samuel C.

Dec, 2023

When I look back on my writing career, I'm sure I'll consider this time spent working with Becky a turning point. I'd only shown my work to a small writing group, and whilst their help was invaluable, it could only get me so far. I needed a professional and Becky was exactly that. She highlighted the smaller stuff (the overuse of certain words, the reliance on a certain body language, etc.), b...
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K K.

K K.

Nov, 2023

I really enjoyed working with Becky! Her knowledge and experience was invaluable. With her insightful edit, I plan on revising and putting her suggestions to work.
Ioannis P.

Ioannis P.

Oct, 2023

Becky is unique. Apart from being an amazing professional, she makes you feel comfortable from the very first communication. I enjoyed working with her and I’ definitely collaborate with her again. Her job was detailed and her approach was highly professional, but also kind and fair. She helped me take my manuscript to another level and she did something I’ll never forget; something that’s real...
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Elliot F.

Elliot F.

Oct, 2023

Becky gave me insightful, thoughtful, kind advice. She is clearly highly experienced, and drew on her background to comment on big picture issues as well as offering a thorough detailed review. She was highly encouraging. Without any pressure from me, she went further than the strict confines of the original agreement. I thoroughly enjoyed and greatly appreciated our interactions, even when her...
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Gina C.

Gina C.

Sep, 2023

Brilliant. Becky was really helpful and full of ideas that worked extremely well in improving my novel. She was also kind enough to do two follow-up calls, and looked at and improved my blurb for the back of the book, which was fantastic. I can certainly recommend her work, she is extremely thorough and gave me lots of angles I had not considered. She also made up for a delayed start by doing ...
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