Matthew Baylis

Matthew Baylis - Editor

London, UK

I'm an editor for Old Street Publishing in London. I work on crime, historical and general fiction, history, travel & memoirs.

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Hello, I work as an editor for Old Street Publishing, a small indie publisher based in the UK, although, obviously - since I'm here - I have flexible schedules and plenty of capacity to work on other projects. I'm also an author - I wrote a crime trilogy, a pair of comic novels and a non-fiction travelogue/history/anthropology book about my time in the South Pacific.

I started out, 25 years ago, as assistant in a literary agency, where I first began working with authors on their books. After a couple of years I left that world - temporarily - to pursue my other great love - working as a storyliner on the BBC tv drama 'EastEnders', then training new writers and developing drama series in Kenya and Cambodia.

I continued as an editor-for-hire, though, working on a series of tv-tie-in science titles and a prison memoir, leading writing workshops for various groups and delivering online creative writing tutoring. As I mentioned above, I kept on writing my own books, too, and I hit it off with the publisher of Books Three, Four and Five to the point that he gave me a job as an editor, which I've been doing since 2015. I love it.

How do I work? Well, it depends on you, what you have written and what you want doing with it. A typical operation would be - I read your book (ideally a whole book, or at least half, if it's fiction; minimum 3 chaps + outline if non-fiction) and write you a detailed appraisal, telling you what I liked, what I felt needed improving on, and how you could go about doing it. I can then do the same thing for a further draft, if you choose, or if it's now just in need of a trim or a polish, undertake a line edit and proofread. I'm also happy to do Zoom or Skype consultations - once I've read your book. It's often easier to get my points across in a live conversation, and it often means we arrive at the answers together, rather than me just sending you a long list of questions. Writing doesn't have to be a solitary pursuit and sometimes collaboration just gives that vital extra burst of energy to nudge a writer over the hill and onto the homeward stretch.

I used to describe myself as an 'editorial fixer' (because I'll do everything, from helping you think of an ending that eludes you to sorting out the punctuation and making sure it really was possible to travel by train from Vienna to Naples in 1953 without a stop-over in Rome...) but fixing is not the best word. I see redrafting (and redrafting some more) as part of the process, not as trying to mend something that's gone wrong. Books take time.

I don't want to give you a list of all the things I don't/won't do. But the subjects and genres I know the least about, and have the least experience of editing are children's/YA, fantasy (this includes magic, vampires and werewolves, sorry!) and sport.

What else can I tell you? I was once (in fact, repeatedly, during a period of several weeks) mistaken for the Duke of Edinburgh, I am the only British scriptwriter to have had a film shown in North Korea and the CIA once funded me to write soap opera scripts from a shed in Tottenham.

English (UK)
Biographies & Memoirs
Life Sciences
Contemporary Fiction
Historical Fiction
Mystery & Crime

Work experience


Old Street Publishing
July, 2014 – Present (almost 7 years)

Scriptwriter and trainer

Matthew Baylis
July, 2000 – Present (almost 21 years)

2016: Creator/story consultant: ‘King Selfie’. Khmer Mekong Films. 90 minute action comedy.

2014: Co-creator and scriptwriter: ‘The Jade Elephant’, Khmer Mekong Films, MediaCorp, CTN. 5-part tv action drama set in Singapore and Cambodia.

2014: Co-creator: ‘Smart Girls’, Khmer Mekong Films, CTN. 24-part tv comedy action series.

2010-11: Co-creator and scriptwriter: ‘Air Waves’, Khmer Mekong Films. 52-part tv drama series funded by U.S. government.

2008: Co-creator and Scriptwriter: ‘Palace of Dreams’, BBC World Service Trust. Feature-length romantic comedy drama set in Phnom Penh.

2007: Co-creator and Scriptwriter: ‘Heart Talk’, Khmer Mekong Films. Feature-length thriller set in Phnom Penh, released Sept 2009.

2003-5: Drama Consultant: BBC World Service Trust, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Storylined 60-part tv drama; recruited, trained and managed team of local script-writers; edited scripts.

2001-3: Scriptwriter: ‘Hearts of Gold’, BBC One. 2-part tv drama adaptation (broadcast on BBC One Jul 2003).

2000: Storyliner/Trainer: ‘Heart & Soul’, Nairobi, Kenya. Recruited and trained a team of African writers to create 6-part tv drama, funded by United Nations and British Council.

Editorial Consultant

April, 1999 – Present (about 22 years)

2010-11: Editorial Consultant: A Gang of One, Gary Mulgrew (non-fiction). February 2012, Hodder & Stoughton.

2007-8: Editorial Consultant/Researcher: Bad Ideas, Professor the Lord Robert Winston. November 2009, Transworld.

2005-6: Editorial Consultant/Researcher: Child Against All Odds, Professor the Lord Robert Winston. November 2006, Transworld.

2003-4: Editorial Consultant/Researcher: The Story of God, Professor the Lord Robert Winston. Tie-in book to BBC television series. December 2005, Transworld.

2001-2: Editorial Consultant/Researcher: The Human Mind, Professor the Lord Robert Winston. Tie-in book to BBC science television series. March 2002, Transworld.

2000: Editorial Consultant/Researcher: The Future of Politics, Charles Kennedy, MP. May 2000, HarperCollins

Portfolio (30 selected works)

The Chrysalis

Deveney, Catherine


S.E. Lister, Julie Teal, Whole Story Audiobooks

Death's Bright Angel

J. D. Davies

We have been harmonised

Kai Strittmatter

The Human Mind

Winston, Robert

Stranger Than Fulham

Matthew Baylis, M Baylis

The Last Ealing Comedy

Baylis, Matthew

Matthew has 13 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Glen Loveland
Matthew has an eagle eye for detail! As I went through the edits he made, I was impressed at how much he spotted. He has a unique professional background for people writing about complex subjects like foreign countries or different cultures. Highly recommend!

Glen Loveland, April 2021

Matthew Baylis
Thank you Glen, I'm glad that what I said was useful. I enjoyed working on this section of your book, and I hope you will continue writing it.

Reply from Matthew Baylis

Kasha Potgieter
Matthew proved to be exactly what I had hoped for. Honest in discussing my writing and astute in his observations regarding several points he made, which were relevant and made me pause. I will send my next manuscript to Matthew without hesitation.

Kasha Potgieter, February 2021

Matthew Baylis
Thank you for your kind review! I'm glad to have been of help and I wish you the best of luck with your writing and rewriting. I'd be delighted to work with you again.

Reply from Matthew Baylis

john matthews
I rarely write reviews, be it on Amazon, Trip advisor etc. This is because it is rare to receive service that exceeds expectations. However, I had little option but to make an exception for Matthew. I am, as I guess many of you are, a complete novice to writing. Before I engaged Matthew I thought my 40 pages of gibberish constituted a story. It didn't. Matthew provided exceptional professional...
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john matthews, February 2021

jason crowes
Very useful and supportive developmental edit. Matt's feedback has really expanded the scope of my novel. Good advice too on where the novel stands in the current marketplace.

jason crowes, December 2020

Matthew Baylis
Thanks for the review, Jason - I thought it was a book with bags of potential, and I'm pleased that my advice was of help. Do get in touch if you have any further queries or thoughts as you commen...
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Reply from Matthew Baylis

Frank Napolitano
Matthew provided insightful, extremely helpful comments in a straightforward manner. His suggestions have allowed me to think about the characters and their development in ways I had not considered. He is a consummate professional with a warm approach. My work has been greatly improved by his comments . I would retain him again in a second.

Frank Napolitano, November 2020

Matthew Baylis
Thank you for the kind review, Frank. I am glad to have been of help and I wish you (and the book) the best of luck. Do get in touch if you have any queries whilst undertaking a further draft.

Reply from Matthew Baylis

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