Donna Hillyer

Donna Hillyer - Editor Tick

London, United Kingdom

Freelance publishing consultant and editor (based in London) with a huge amount of experience in publishing, from editing to commissioning

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Overview

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I'm a publishing consultant and editor, who, before going freelance in 2015, worked in corporate publishing in London for 12 years. During my career, I’ve worked for a number of major UK trade publishers, across all levels, from editorial assistant to company director, and my skills are subsequently wide-ranging. In 2012, I was one of four people shortlisted for the 2012 Kim Scott Walwyn Prize, the UK award recognising women's outstanding potential and previous achievements in their publishing careers.

I’ve commissioned and grown authors (both mainstream and genre) to bestselling and award-winning status, overseeing their individual publishing strategies whilst working closely with overseas markets (particularly Ireland, Europe, the US and Australia). I acquired rights to and published North American authors (many of whom have been New York Times bestselling authors), and subsequently I'm very familiar with that market. I understand the current publishing climate, and what it takes to be competitive and stand out from the crowd.

I now work in various capacities, as a freelance publishing consultant and editor, with publishing companies, literary agents, private authors and writers'/literary festivals. Publishing-house clients include: Bookouture; Hachette Ireland; HarperCollins; Little, Brown; Orion; Penguin Random House; Transworld.

I work on fiction and non-fiction, across all editorial areas, e.g. assessing ideas, structural edits, copyediting, proofreading, giving advice on query letters etc.

I have a practical, friendly, hands-on approach, and will give you clear, constructive advice, which will help you make your book the best it can be. As well as helping you to enhance your writing, I'm also looking to help you make your book as commercial as possible.

Do get in touch to discuss your project, and arrange a quote.
Languages
English (UK)
Fiction
Crime & Mystery
Historical Fiction
Romance
Thriller
Urban Fantasy
Women's Fiction
Young Adult & Teen

Certifications

  • BA Arts (Joint Honours – English and Philosophy), University College Cork
  • MA Publishing Studies City University, London

Awards

  • 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.

Work experience

Editorial Director

Harlequin UK Ltd
January, 2013 – June, 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.

Senior Commissioning Fiction Editor: Piatkus

Little, Brown
January, 2011 – December, 2012 (almost 2 years)

The Piatkus list averages about 100 titles a year, and the genres within which we publish are: general fiction; women’s commercial fiction; historical fiction; romantic suspense; crime and thrillers; paranormal romance; urban fantasy; and horror.

Portfolio (55 selected works)

Unscripted: My Ten Years in Telly

Alan Sugar

As the star of the award-winning BBC series The Apprentice, Alan Sugar has won millions of fans who tune in to watch his mix of business wisdom, witty putdowns and ability to cut straight through bullshit. But how did the famously straight-talking entrepreneur end up fronting one of our most successful and long-running shows, and why were some of his biggest challenges during his ten years in ... read more

As the star of the award-winning BBC series The Apprentice, Alan Sugar has won millions of fans who tune in to watch his mix of business wisdom, witty putdowns and ability to cut straight through bullshit. But how did the famously straight-talking entrepreneur end up fronting one of our most successful and long-running shows, and why were some of his biggest challenges during his ten years in ... read more

Pleasure Island: A gripping beach read packed with mystery, suspense, drama and romance

Anna-Lou Weatherley

'An utterly amazing story that I am still shaking my head over hours after I finished the last word.' Keeper Bookshelf ‘Pleasure Island was simply stunning and has left me with a huge book hangover that will take a considerable amount of time to cure. It has an incredible pace packed full of twists and turns, manipulation and surprises…This is THE Summer read of 2015 go and buy it now.’ Shaz's... read more

'An utterly amazing story that I am still shaking my head over hours after I finished the last word.' Keeper Bookshelf ‘Pleasure Island was simply stunning and has left me with a huge book hangover that will take a considerable amount of time to cure. It has an incredible pace packed full of twists and turns, manipulation and surprises…This is THE Summer read of 2015 go and buy it now.’ Shaz's... read more

The End of the World Running Club

Adrian J Walker

THE ULTIMATE RACE AGAINST TIME THRILLERWhen the world ends and you find yourself stranded on the wrong side of the country, every second counts.No one knows this more than Edgar Hill. 550 miles away from his family, he must push himself to the very limit to get back to them, or risk losing them forever...His best option is to run.But what if your best isn’t good enough?

THE ULTIMATE RACE AGAINST TIME THRILLERWhen the world ends and you find yourself stranded on the wrong side of the country, every second counts.No one knows this more than Edgar Hill. 550 miles away from his family, he must push himself to the very limit to get back to them, or risk losing them forever...His best option is to run.But what if your best isn’t good enough?

Rebel Sisters

Marita Conlon-McKenna

With the threat of the First World War looming, tension simmers under the surface of Ireland. Growing up in the privileged confines of Dublin's leafy Rathmines, the bright, beautiful Gifford sisters Grace, Muriel and Nellie kick against the conventions of their wealthy Anglo-Irish background and their mother Isabella's expectations. Soon, as war erupts across Europe, the spirited sisters find ... read more

With the threat of the First World War looming, tension simmers under the surface of Ireland. Growing up in the privileged confines of Dublin's leafy Rathmines, the bright, beautiful Gifford sisters Grace, Muriel and Nellie kick against the conventions of their wealthy Anglo-Irish background and their mother Isabella's expectations. Soon, as war erupts across Europe, the spirited sisters find ... read more

Imagine

Lesley-Ann Jones

Blood Instinct (Blackthorn Dark Paranormal Romance Series Book 6)

Lindsay J. Pryor

‘I think what is inside of you triggers the worst of me’ Sophia McKay has always had a reckless streak, but falling for lycan leader Jask Tao, gave her something to live for. Now, cursed with a serryn bloodline, a darkness inside Phia is awakening. A darkness she knows could prove deadly to those she loves most. Approaching a blue moon, Jask Tao and his pack are living close to the edge, due t... read more

‘I think what is inside of you triggers the worst of me’ Sophia McKay has always had a reckless streak, but falling for lycan leader Jask Tao, gave her something to live for. Now, cursed with a serryn bloodline, a darkness inside Phia is awakening. A darkness she knows could prove deadly to those she loves most. Approaching a blue moon, Jask Tao and his pack are living close to the edge, due t... read more

Nina is Not OK

Shappi Khorsandi

Strangers

Paul Finch

The Secret Agent

Joseph Conrad

If Ever I Fall

S.D. Robertson

If You Knew Her

Emily Elgar

Jessie's Promise

Rosie Clarke

From the bestselling author of LIZZIE'S SECRET and LIZZIE'S WAR, a story about resilient, strong women surviving adversity post World War 1. DEVON 1918. When Jessie Hale loses her nursing job at the end of the First World War, she leaves London to become the nursemaid to the Kendle family in Devon. On arrival she finds the family in disarray. Captain Kendle is a loving father but is traumatise... read more

From the bestselling author of LIZZIE'S SECRET and LIZZIE'S WAR, a story about resilient, strong women surviving adversity post World War 1. DEVON 1918. When Jessie Hale loses her nursing job at the end of the First World War, she leaves London to become the nursemaid to the Kendle family in Devon. On arrival she finds the family in disarray. Captain Kendle is a loving father but is traumatise... read more

Workhouse Orphans

Holly Green

All they have left is each other...Life has always been tough for May and Gus Stirzaker. Their father went away to sea never to return, and then their mother falls victim to the typhus sweeping through Liverpool. Regarded as orphans by the authorities, May and Gus are sent to the Brownlow Hill Workhouse. Like all workhouses, Brownlow is the last resort for the poor and the destitute. May and G... read more

All they have left is each other...Life has always been tough for May and Gus Stirzaker. Their father went away to sea never to return, and then their mother falls victim to the typhus sweeping through Liverpool. Regarded as orphans by the authorities, May and Gus are sent to the Brownlow Hill Workhouse. Like all workhouses, Brownlow is the last resort for the poor and the destitute. May and G... read more

The One

John Marrs

Hush Little Baby

Joanna Barnard

Made In Japan

S. J. Parks

How to be Happy

Eva Woods

Orphan Sisters

Lola Jaye

Lana and May are a very long way from home. Their Nigerian parents have emigrated to England in search of a better life for their family. Nineteen Fifties London is a great adventure to the girls but not always welcoming. There are signs in windows of lodging houses warning: 'no blacks, no dogs, no Irish'.When tragedy strikes and the girls lose their father, their mother is unable to cope. Whe... read more

Lana and May are a very long way from home. Their Nigerian parents have emigrated to England in search of a better life for their family. Nineteen Fifties London is a great adventure to the girls but not always welcoming. There are signs in windows of lodging houses warning: 'no blacks, no dogs, no Irish'.When tragedy strikes and the girls lose their father, their mother is unable to cope. Whe... read more

The Other Us

Fiona Harper

I'm Right Here

Yvonne Cassidy

Family Business

Muriel Bolger

Friend Request

Laura Marshall

Hush Little Baby: The most gripping domestic suspense you’ll read this year

Joanna Barnard

When baby Oliver breaks his arm, no one can (or will) say how it happened.His mother is exhausted.His father is angry.His older sister is resentful.And they all have something to hide.

When baby Oliver breaks his arm, no one can (or will) say how it happened.His mother is exhausted.His father is angry.His older sister is resentful.And they all have something to hide.

Stalker

Lisa Stone

Gone Viking

Helen Russell

Stand By Me

S.D. Robertson

The Mistletoe Matchmaker

Felicity Hayes-McCoy

Greyfriars House

Emma Fraser

White Villa

Emily Hourican

How to be Famous

Caitlin Moran

The Rising Storm: An absolutely gripping young adult dystopian fiction novel (Paradigm Trilogy Book 1)

Ceri A. Lowe

‘I fell in love with this book and I couldn’t put it down... kept me gripped… I just had to keep reading one more chapter!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 starsFans of Bella Forrest, Divergent and The Hunger Games will be absolutely hooked by this breath-taking page-turner of suspense, love and mystery.In a world ravaged by devastating storms, only the all-powerful Paradigm Industries have the tools to... read more

‘I fell in love with this book and I couldn’t put it down... kept me gripped… I just had to keep reading one more chapter!’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 starsFans of Bella Forrest, Divergent and The Hunger Games will be absolutely hooked by this breath-taking page-turner of suspense, love and mystery.In a world ravaged by devastating storms, only the all-powerful Paradigm Industries have the tools to... read more

The Silent Sister: A gripping psychological thriller with a nailbiting twist

Shalini Boland

‘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 finds a chilling letter in her kitchen. Someone has been into her home – someone who wishes Lizzy harm.In her little country cottage, wit... read more

‘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 finds a chilling letter in her kitchen. Someone has been into her home – someone who wishes Lizzy harm.In her little country cottage, wit... read more

The Girl in the Storm: Completely gripping YA dystopian fiction with edge of your seat suspense (Paradigm Trilogy Book 2)

Ceri A. Lowe

‘So addictive… I absolutely raced through this story, it grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go… need to know what happens next!... compelling and powerful!’ Rae Reads, 5 starsA gripping and heart-pounding story filled with mystery, suspense and danger, about one girl who braves her life to discover the truth. Fans of Bella Forrest, Divergent and The Hunger Games will be enthralled by this exp... read more

‘So addictive… I absolutely raced through this story, it grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go… need to know what happens next!... compelling and powerful!’ Rae Reads, 5 starsA gripping and heart-pounding story filled with mystery, suspense and danger, about one girl who braves her life to discover the truth. Fans of Bella Forrest, Divergent and The Hunger Games will be enthralled by this exp... read more

Diary of a Drag Queen

Crystal Rasmussen

The One Who's Not the One: A feel good, laugh out loud romantic comedy

Keris Stainton

A hilarious rom com about love, break-ups and finding out who you really are. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Marian Keyes and Mhairi McFarlane.Cat’s life has hit a brick wall. Since she broke up with her ex Sam five years ago she’s quit stand-up comedy, landed in a steady but dull job, and lives in a tiny flat with roommates she knows only as The One Who Eats All My Food and The One Who Has... read more

A hilarious rom com about love, break-ups and finding out who you really are. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Marian Keyes and Mhairi McFarlane.Cat’s life has hit a brick wall. Since she broke up with her ex Sam five years ago she’s quit stand-up comedy, landed in a steady but dull job, and lives in a tiny flat with roommates she knows only as The One Who Eats All My Food and The One Who Has... read more

The Passengers

John Marrs

Eight self-drive cars set on a collision course. Who lives, who dies? You decide.The new gripping page-turning thriller from the bestselling author of THE ONE - soon to be a major Netflix series.When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course. The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused... read more

Eight self-drive cars set on a collision course. Who lives, who dies? You decide.The new gripping page-turning thriller from the bestselling author of THE ONE - soon to be a major Netflix series.When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course. The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused... read more

What Would Dani Do?: My guide to living your best life

Dani Dyer

Dani Dyer stole the nation’s heart with her genuine warmth and honest personality when she won Love Island this summer. She proves that you don't need to succumb to peer pressure, be swayed by all too perfect Insta-images or behave in a way that's not true to who you are. Her first book shows she is wise beyond her years as she shares her experiences around growing up, bullying, relationships,... read more

Dani Dyer stole the nation’s heart with her genuine warmth and honest personality when she won Love Island this summer. She proves that you don't need to succumb to peer pressure, be swayed by all too perfect Insta-images or behave in a way that's not true to who you are. Her first book shows she is wise beyond her years as she shares her experiences around growing up, bullying, relationships,... read more

Donna has 4 reviews

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Rachel Amphlett
Donna's copy editing on my standalone psychological thriller was provided in such a thoughtful, diligent and professional way that I'm really glad I found her through Reedsy. She provided guidance and clarification where required and was always quick to respond to any queries I sent through to her. Donna's editing services provided real value for money, and I have no hesitation in recommending ...
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Rachel Amphlett, May 2019


Wren Kenny
Donna is a pleasure to work with and returned my manuscript before the expected date. She offered a constructive critique, which required putting on my big girl knickers and acting like an adult, but her suggestions will make my novel stronger in the end.

Wren Kenny, January 2018


Robin Payne
Donna seems to be a very kind and considerate person, while remaining a very critical editor. She is quick to answer questions in a way that is not off-putting or defensive. If you are considering using Donna as an editor, know that she is honest and most concerned with making your manuscript sellable to the largest audience possible...whether you get there or not probably depends on what yo...
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Robin Payne, April 2017

Donna Hillyer
Many thanks for your review, Robin. It was lovely working with you and getting the opportunity to help make your novel shine even more than it already did. Best of luck with your writing!

Reply from Donna Hillyer


Chris Monö
I feel very fortunate to have worked with someone as professional, competent and experienced as Donna Hillyer. She’s a fantastic editor, with an exceptional eye for detail. Be it grammar, wording or tiny inconsistencies in the story, she saw it all. I can’t imagine a better proofreader. Whenever a question arose, she was quick to answer, giving both advice and support along the way. Thank you...
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Chris Monö, February 2017

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