Donna Hillyer

Donna Hillyer – Editor

Fiction and non-fiction. Nearly 20 years' publishing experience (regular clients include HarperCollins, Penguin RH, Hachette, Pan Mac)


I'm a fiction and non-fiction editor with nearly 20 years' experience, having climbed the ranks from editorial assistant to editorial director/company board member, and my skills are subsequently wide-ranging.

I’ve commissioned and grown authors (both mainstream and genre) to bestselling and award-winning status, and I now work in various capacities with publishing companies, literary agents, private authors and writers'/literary festivals. Publishing clients include: Bookouture; Canelo; Elliot & Thompson; Hachette Ireland; HarperCollins; Little, Brown; Orion; Pan Macmillan; Penguin Random House; Transworld and Whitefox.

I work on fiction and non-fiction, across all editorial areas, e.g. >

- query letter review and advice

- manuscript assessments

- structural/developmental edits

- line-editing

- copy-editing

- proofreading

Do get in touch about your project; I'd love to hear from you!

Some titles I've worked on as a freelancer:

* John Marr's sci-fi hit The One (now on Netflix)

* The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman and Killer Intent by Tony Kent, which were both chosen for the 2018 Zoe Ball TV Book Club

* Two of the six WHSmith Richard and Judy Book Club summer 2019 titles - How to be Famous by Caitlin Moran & Marked for Death by Tony Kent

* The No.1 bestselling novel (Ireland), Hungry Road by Marita Conlon-McKenna (2021)

* Winner of the Romantic Novelists’ Association Popular Fiction Award 2022 (voted for by librarians, book bloggers and reviewers, and booksellers): The River Between Us by Liz Fenwick; and the Festive Holiday Romantic Novel Award 2022: Winter at Cliff’s End Cottage by Sheila Norton

* Sunday Times Bestsellers:

- Lucky by Ed Jackson (rugby union player turned Paralympics presenter)

- Get Divorced, Be Happy by Helen Thorn (award-winning comedian and podcaster)

- Knee Deep in Life by Laura Belbin (author of the Knee Deep in Life blog)

- Hear Me Out by Sarah Harding

- Friend Request by Laura Marshall

- Midnight in Everwood by M.A. Kuzniar

- A Different Kind of Happy by Rachaele Hambleton (aka Part-Time Working Mummy)

- With This Kiss by Carrie Hope Fletcher

- No Shame by Laura Belbin (author of the Knee Deep in Life blog)

- Be Yourself and Happier: The A-Z Guide to Wellbeing by Will Young

- Springtime at Cannon Hall Farm by The Nicholson Family

- Ten Things I Hate About Me: How to Stay Alive With a Brain That's Trying to Kill You by Joe Tracini

- Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

Biographies & Memoirs
Contemporary Fiction Historical Fiction Humor & Comedy Mystery & Crime Romance Thriller & Suspense Women's Fiction
English (UK)
  • In 2012, I was one of four people shortlisted for the prestigious Kim Scott Walwyn Prize, which recognises women's creativity, professionalism and ambition in publishing.
  • BA Arts (Joint Honours – English and Philosophy), University College Cork
  • MA Publishing Studies City University, London

Work experience


Jul, 2015 — Present

Since July 2015, I have worked freelance with major trade publishers, agents and private authors on their editorial projects, providing a range of services.

Harlequin UK Ltd

Jan, 2013 — Jun, 2015 (over 2 years)

Oversaw the running of the Harlequin UK editorial programme and its imprints, managing a team of 6, as well as commissioning and growing authors myself. I sat on the board, and so was also involved in the management of the company at senior level.

Little, Brown

Mar, 2007 — Dec, 2012 (almost 6 years)

During my six years at Little, Brown, I held various editorial roles, latterly Senior Commissioning Editor. I worked on commercial fiction, including: women’s commercial fiction; historical fiction; romantic suspense; crime and thrillers; paranormal romance; urban fantasy; and horror.


One Life

Barbara Winton

The book that inspired major motion picture ONE LIFE, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Helena Bonham Carter.'Remarkable' - GuardianSir Nicholas Winton rescued 669 children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia at the brink of World War II. Most never saw their par... read more
Copy Editing
The Second Stranger

Martin Griffin

ONE DETECTIVE. ONE MURDERER. BUT WHICH IS WHICH?Remie Yorke has one shift left at the Mackinnon Hotel in the remote Scottish Highlands before she leaves for good. Then Storm Ezra hits. As temp... read more
Copy Editing
Copy Editing
Copy Editing
Copy Editing
Copy Editing
With This Kiss

Fletcher, Carrie Hope

Hear Me Out

Harding, Sarah


Jarratt, Laura

Everyone is Still Alive

Cathy Rentzenbrink

It is summer on Magnolia Road when Juliet moves into her late mother's house with her husband Liam and their young son, Charlie. Preoccupied by guilt, grief and the juggle of working motherhood, she can't imagine finding time to get to know the neighbouring fa... read more
'If I can go from obesity to the Olympics in four years, and then become a professional boxer, then anything is possible in your life.' Lawrence OkolieDREAM BIG. FOCUS. CHANGE YOUR LIFE.Lawrence shares 40 short life lessons and explains what you should do to f... read more
To be a Gay Man

Young, Will

‘I literally could not put it down… I finished in less than 24 hours, it draws you in from the very first chapter… WOW… And just when you think that’s it… BAM.’ Goodreads Reviewer, 5 stars‘You don't deserve a sister…’Lizzy Beresford is at home alone when she f... read more
How to be Famous

Caitlin Moran

The One

John Marrs

Nina is Not OK

Shappi Khorsandi

Donna has 27 reviews





Rob C.

Rob C.

May, 2024

Donna debugged my jigsaw puzzle of exposition and offered insightful repairs for the manuscript's survival. I certainly recommend her concise analysis to anyone. Now, to carve out some time for surgery…! Cheers, Donna!
Donna H.
Thanks for the lovely review of my developmental edit, Rob; yours was such an interesting read, with entertaining wry humour throughout - I really enjoyed, and wish you the very best with it!
Frank B.

Frank B.

May, 2024

Before I commissioned Donna to help me with my manuscript, I had spent 10 months searching for the right editor; when you find that editor, you instinctively know that your choice is good and for me, that was the case with Donna. I have not been disappointed with any aspect of Donna's service; she is the consummate professional. She took my manuscript, beginning with a developmental edit, and ...
Read more
Donna H.
Thanks for the wonderful review, Frank; very touching to read! It was a privilege to work on your story, which is an important one to be shared, and I'm honoured to have played a little part in its...
Read more
Ramon P.

Ramon P.

Jan, 2024

Donna was insightful, personable and incredibly helpful. It was a pleasure to work with her.
Donna H.
Thanks for the review, Ray; glad to hear the edits were useful, and wishing you all the best with the revisions!
Andrew A.

Andrew A.

Jan, 2024

Donna was extremely helpful to me. She showed me how to put my narrative on the right track by making the main thing the main thing; she helped me to define the target audience (a bit late in the day)) and she provided just the right mixture of encouragement and correction. Well done, Donna!
Donna H.
Thanks for the lovely review, Andy. I really enjoyed working on your book - a very absorbing read. You've had an interesting journey!
Martin T.

Martin T.

Dec, 2023

Sorry - too busy implementing Donna's suggestions.
Donna H.
Lovely working with you, Martin, and great to hear the revisions are progressing!

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