Matthew Baylis

Matthew Baylis - Editor

London, UK

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

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Hello, I'm an editor for Old Street Publishing. I started out, 25 years ago, as an 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 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. I wrote six books of my own, too (a crime trilogy, a pair of comedies and a travelogue) 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 was advised to say something about how 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. It's good to have a couple of phone conversations, as well, if the idea doesn't horrify you - one at the outset, one at the end - but it isn't always necessary.

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) but it's 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 (about 6 years)

Scriptwriter and trainer

Matthew Baylis
July, 2000 – Present (about 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 4 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Carol Blackwood
Matthew was very clear in what he would do and by when. He exceeded my expectations. We had a chat prior to him beginning the work and again when he had completed it. Both of these phone calls were very useful. I have enjoyed my collaboration with Matthew and only wish I'd found him at the very start of my work on this novel as he is multi-skilled, and hiring him sooner would have saved me a h...
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Carol Blackwood, July 2020

Matthew Baylis
I can only mirror Carol's comments here - I was flattered to be asked to work on this book, which had had a long and interesting history before I came to it and is itself, a truly distinctive and a...
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Reply from Matthew Baylis

Joseph Kuhl
Mr. Baylis provided excellent feedback on a developmental edit. His response was focused, well-organized, and salient. He knows the craft of story-telling very well and his suggestions were already just under the surface of my consciousness, and he helped bring them forward. While he does have a theory of story-telling, he did a close read of the entire novel and used it to show where the st...
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Joseph Kuhl, July 2020

Hamza Azhar Salam
Matthew helped me understand my novel in ways I couldn't have imagined. His insights into the craft of fiction writing have allowed a first time novelist like my self to appreciate the different tools and tactics a writer can use to convey their point. He provided valuable feedback not only on my plot, character development and dialogue but also shared his analysis of the overall theme and mo...
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Hamza Azhar Salam, June 2020

Kit Sergeant
Matthew was great to work with- very professional and prompt, and he did a great job editing my manuscript. I will definitely work with him again!

Kit Sergeant, June 2020

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