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.

Request a quote


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.

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 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 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 (over 6 years)

Scriptwriter and trainer

Matthew Baylis
July, 2000 – Present (over 20 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 (over 21 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 9 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

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

Jeffrey Collyer
Matthew was excellent to work with from the start and through to the conclusion. His comments were incredibly helpful and have really helped make this book much better. I run a small publishing house and I would definitely like to work with Matthew again on future titles.

Jeffrey Collyer, October 2020

Matthew Baylis
It was a pleasure to work with Jeffrey and his author Susie. I wish them both, and the book, every success, and I'd be very pleased to work with them again.

Reply from Matthew Baylis

Stephen Alexander
Erudite, fun, and great value for money. Matthew is a genuine storyteller with limitless ideas. He can help evolve your characters, develop you plot and improve your prose. I have no regrets and would recommend him wholeheartedly.

Stephen Alexander, October 2020

demet dayanch
Matthew was amazing from start to end. He is extremely relational and very easy to communicate with and understand. He totally got me! It was clear from the onset that he is a highly skilled and experienced editor. I felt very comfortable asking questions and he was very generous with his time. He did a thorough edit, making excellent suggestions and changes (that I could accept or decline)....
Read more

demet dayanch, October 2020

Steve Pittaway
If you want an editor to tell you want you want to hear - use someone else. If you want someone to tell you what you need you to hear - hire Matthew. Simple.

Steve Pittaway, October 2020

Read more reviews

Explore the Reedsy Community

Reedsy is a community of top publishing professionals. Join Reedsy today to browse 1000+ profiles.

Erik Hane

Editor with years of in-house experience, editing both literary fiction and adult nonfiction. Agent. Writer. Host of "Print Run."

Minneapolis, MN, United States

Alessandra Lusardi

Editor with 15+ years' experience in NY book publishing, committed to developing an author's voice and maximizing their book's potential.

Brooklyn, NY, United States

To view 1,000+ more profiles, Join Reedsy