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Michael Rowley

Michael Rowley - Editor

Bury, Lancashire

Fiction editor, former Editorial Director of Del Rey at Penguin Random House UK and passionate about working with talented authors.

Overview

Reviews (29)


I’m a professional editor and consultant based in the North West of England with a unique blend of experience in publishing and the retail book trade.

While Editorial Director of Del Rey at Penguin Random House UK I published many exciting writers including Andy Weir, author of the Sunday Times bestselling The Martian, the award-winning Kameron Hurley, Mark Hodder and Liesel Schwarz, epic fantasy writer Django Wexler and more.

Before that I was a professional Head Office Fiction Buyer and Bookseller at Waterstones for 15 years, specialising in genre fiction from SF & Fantasy to Crime, Romance, Westerns, Graphic Novels and Manga.
In today’s competitive market, making sure your manuscript is as ‘submission-ready’ as possible will give you the greatest chance of placing your work with an agent or publisher.

My aim is to work closely with you to make your book as ready as possible and I offer various services, from a full developmental structural edit to a ‘first-look’ reader report, as well as practical advice on how to proceed at the beginning of your project.


Services
Languages
English (AUS) English (CAN) English (NZ) English (UK) English (US)
Fiction
Adventure Crime & Mystery Dystopian Fantasy Historical Fiction Horror Science Fiction Thriller Urban Fantasy Young Adult & Teen

Certifications

  • MA in Science Fiction Studies, The University of Liverpool
  • BA (Combined Honours) in English Literature and History
  • Copy-Editing and Proofreading, The Publishing Training Centre
  • Creative Copywriting, Punch It Up

Work experience

Freelance Fiction Editor and Publishing Consultant

MJCR
January, 2016 – Present (over 1 year)

I'm now working as a full-time freelance fiction editor and publishing consultant, based in the North West of England.

Editorial Director of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Ebury Publishing, Penguin Random House UK
April, 2011 – December, 2015 (over 4 years)

As the Editorial Director of Science Fiction and Fantasy at Ebury Publishing, I launched and ran Del Rey, the dedicated Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror imprint of Penguin Random House UK. During my time there I was the editor for many exciting authors and books, including the Sunday Times bestseller and Richard and Judy selection THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir, The Shadow Campaigns series by Django Wexler, the award-winning Del Dame Apocrypha series by Kameron Hurley and the second Burton and Swinburne Adventures trilogy by Mark Hodder.

Fiction Buyer

Waterstones Head Office
June, 2004 – August, 2011 (about 7 years)

During my time as a Head Office Fiction Buyer I had various roles. I worked as a Core Range Buyer, where I managed the whole backlist fiction range for the company, to Category Buyer then Campaign Buyer looking after all genre fiction, including Crime, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Manga, Classics, Romance Fiction, Westerns and Erotic Fiction.

Waterstones Bookseller and Department Manager

Waterstones
August, 1996 – May, 2004 (almost 8 years)

At the Waterstones Manchester Deansgate Branch, I looked after various sections, specialising in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Graphic Novels. At various times, I also looked after the Crime Fiction, Reference, Foreign Languages, Humour, Audio and Board Games sections. I particularly enjoyed running many author events and edited the in-house genre fiction magazine Enigma.

Portfolio (21 selected works)

The Martian

Andy Weir

The Sunday Times Bestseller behind the major new film from Ridley Scott starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain.I’m stranded on Mars.I have no way to communicate with Earth.I’m in a Habitat designed to last 31 days.If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happe... read more

The Sunday Times Bestseller behind the major new film from Ridley Scott starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain.I’m stranded on Mars.I have no way to communicate with Earth.I’m in a Habitat designed to last 31 days.If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happe... read more

The Thousand Names (The Shadow Campaigns Book 1)

Django Wexler

In the desert colony of Khandar, a dark and mysterious magic, hidden for centuries, is about to emerge from darkness.Marcus d’Ivoire, senior captain of the Vordanai Colonials, is resigned to serving out his days in a sleepy, remote outpost, when a rebellion leaves him in charge of a demoralised force in a broken down fortress.Winter Ihernglass, fleeing her past and masquerading as a man, just ... read more

In the desert colony of Khandar, a dark and mysterious magic, hidden for centuries, is about to emerge from darkness.Marcus d’Ivoire, senior captain of the Vordanai Colonials, is resigned to serving out his days in a sleepy, remote outpost, when a rebellion leaves him in charge of a demoralised force in a broken down fortress.Winter Ihernglass, fleeing her past and masquerading as a man, just ... read more

Dark Run (Keiko)

Mike Brooks

The Keiko is a ship of smugglers, soldiers of fortune and adventurers, travelling Earth’s colony planets searching for the next job. And nobody talks about their past.But when a face from Captain Ichabod Drift’s former life send them on a run to Old Earth, all the rules change.Trust will be broken, and blood will be spilled.

The Keiko is a ship of smugglers, soldiers of fortune and adventurers, travelling Earth’s colony planets searching for the next job. And nobody talks about their past.But when a face from Captain Ichabod Drift’s former life send them on a run to Old Earth, all the rules change.Trust will be broken, and blood will be spilled.

The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi: The Burton & Swinburne Adventures

Mark Hodder

The Beast has been summoned.History will be unmade. Freshly knighted by King George V for discovering the source of the Nile, Sir Richard Francis Burton has been made an agent of the Crown.His mission: solve a series of high profile disappearances and – even more astonishing – locate the spirit of a dead mystic, Abdu el Yezdi.Burton and Swinburne are back and fighting for their very existence...

The Beast has been summoned.History will be unmade. Freshly knighted by King George V for discovering the source of the Nile, Sir Richard Francis Burton has been made an agent of the Crown.His mission: solve a series of high profile disappearances and – even more astonishing – locate the spirit of a dead mystic, Abdu el Yezdi.Burton and Swinburne are back and fighting for their very existence...

The Secrets of Life and Death

Rebecca Alexander

Destined to die.Saved by Fate.1585. When Edward Kelley and his master, Dr John Dee, discover a dark secret at the heart of the Countess Elizabeth Bathory’s illness, they fear the cure will prove more terrifying than death...2013. When Jackdaw Hammond learns of a young woman found dead on a train, her body covered in arcane symbols, she must finish what Kelley and Dee started, or die trying...

Destined to die.Saved by Fate.1585. When Edward Kelley and his master, Dr John Dee, discover a dark secret at the heart of the Countess Elizabeth Bathory’s illness, they fear the cure will prove more terrifying than death...2013. When Jackdaw Hammond learns of a young woman found dead on a train, her body covered in arcane symbols, she must finish what Kelley and Dee started, or die trying...

Osiris: The Osiris Project (Osiris Project 1)

E. J. Swift

Nobody leaves Osiris.Adelaide RechnovWealthy socialite and granddaughter of the Architect, she spends her time in pointless luxury, rebelling against her family in a series of jaded social extravagances and scandals until her twin brother disappears in mysterious circumstances.Vikram BaiHe lives in the Western Quarter, home to the poor descendants of storm refugees and effectively quarantined ... read more

Nobody leaves Osiris.Adelaide RechnovWealthy socialite and granddaughter of the Architect, she spends her time in pointless luxury, rebelling against her family in a series of jaded social extravagances and scandals until her twin brother disappears in mysterious circumstances.Vikram BaiHe lives in the Western Quarter, home to the poor descendants of storm refugees and effectively quarantined ... read more

Ex-Heroes: Superheroes vs Zombies (Ex Heroes Book 1)

Peter Clines

Book One in the EX Series The Mighty Dragon. Stealth. Gorgon. Regenerator. Cerberus. Zzzap. They were superheroes fighting to make Los Angeles a better place.Then the plague of living death spread. Billions died, civilization fell, and the City of Angels was left a desolate zombie wasteland.But the ex-humans aren’t the only threats the heroes face. Another group is amassing power . . . led by ... read more

Book One in the EX Series The Mighty Dragon. Stealth. Gorgon. Regenerator. Cerberus. Zzzap. They were superheroes fighting to make Los Angeles a better place.Then the plague of living death spread. Billions died, civilization fell, and the City of Angels was left a desolate zombie wasteland.But the ex-humans aren’t the only threats the heroes face. Another group is amassing power . . . led by ... read more

Dark Vision

Debbie Johnson

Lily McCain is cursed.With just one touch she can see a person’s future, whether it’s a good fortune or a terrible fate. Afraid of the potent visions she foresees, she distances herself from the world, succumbing to a life of solitude.But at the touch of a mysterious stranger – who has powers of his own – Lily sees a new, chilling future for herself: one where she is fated to make a terrible c... read more

Lily McCain is cursed.With just one touch she can see a person’s future, whether it’s a good fortune or a terrible fate. Afraid of the potent visions she foresees, she distances herself from the world, succumbing to a life of solitude.But at the touch of a mysterious stranger – who has powers of his own – Lily sees a new, chilling future for herself: one where she is fated to make a terrible c... read more

A Conspiracy of Alchemists: Chronicles of Light and Shadow (Chronicles of Light & Shadow 1)

Liesel Schwarz

In a Golden Age where spark reactors power the airways, and creatures of Light and Shadow walk openly among us, a deadly game of Alchemists and Warlocks has begun. When an unusual cargo drags airship-pilot Elle Chance into the affairs of the mysterious Mr Marsh, she must confront her destiny and do everything in her power to stop the Alchemists from unleashing a magical apocalypse.Combining th... read more

In a Golden Age where spark reactors power the airways, and creatures of Light and Shadow walk openly among us, a deadly game of Alchemists and Warlocks has begun. When an unusual cargo drags airship-pilot Elle Chance into the affairs of the mysterious Mr Marsh, she must confront her destiny and do everything in her power to stop the Alchemists from unleashing a magical apocalypse.Combining th... read more

Children of Fire: (The Chaos Born 1)

Drew Karpyshyn

For centuries after a devastating battle between the immortals, humanity has been protected from the Chaos realm by an invisible barrier known as the Legacy.But sealed behind the weakening barrier, the traitor Daemron makes one last, desperate bid for freedom: he casts his most deadly spell and curses four unsuspecting children.Born under the Blood Moon, they are destined to wield Daemron’s ta... read more

For centuries after a devastating battle between the immortals, humanity has been protected from the Chaos realm by an invisible barrier known as the Legacy.But sealed behind the weakening barrier, the traitor Daemron makes one last, desperate bid for freedom: he casts his most deadly spell and curses four unsuspecting children.Born under the Blood Moon, they are destined to wield Daemron’s ta... read more

The Empire of Time: Roads to Moscow: Book One

David Wingrove

There is only the war.Otto Behr is a German agent, fighting his Russian counterparts across three millennia, manipulating history for moments in time that can change everything.Only the remnants of two great nations stand and for Otto, the war is life itself, the last hope for his people.But in a world where realities shift and memory is never constant, nothing is certain, least of all the cha... read more

There is only the war.Otto Behr is a German agent, fighting his Russian counterparts across three millennia, manipulating history for moments in time that can change everything.Only the remnants of two great nations stand and for Otto, the war is life itself, the last hope for his people.But in a world where realities shift and memory is never constant, nothing is certain, least of all the cha... read more

The Supernatural Enhancements

Edgar Cantero

EVERYBODY LOVES A CONSPIRACY. DON’T THEY?When Ambrose Wells dies jumping out of his bedroom window in Axton House, forgetting to open it first, a distant relative with an unusual companion takes possession of the gothic estate at Point Bless, Virginia. But as they settle into their new surroundings, excited by rumours of ghosts, suicides and secret societies, they find themselves not just part... read more

EVERYBODY LOVES A CONSPIRACY. DON’T THEY?When Ambrose Wells dies jumping out of his bedroom window in Axton House, forgetting to open it first, a distant relative with an unusual companion takes possession of the gothic estate at Point Bless, Virginia. But as they settle into their new surroundings, excited by rumours of ghosts, suicides and secret societies, they find themselves not just part... read more

Arctic Rising

Tobias S. Buckell

The Arctic Cap has all but melted, oil has run low and Anika Duncan, former mercenary turned United Nations Polar Guard pilot, patrols the region to protect against pollution and smuggling.In a daring plan to terraform the planet, the Gaia Corporation develops a revolutionary new technology, but when they lose control, our best potential solution to global warming may become the deadliest weap... read more

The Arctic Cap has all but melted, oil has run low and Anika Duncan, former mercenary turned United Nations Polar Guard pilot, patrols the region to protect against pollution and smuggling.In a daring plan to terraform the planet, the Gaia Corporation develops a revolutionary new technology, but when they lose control, our best potential solution to global warming may become the deadliest weap... read more

The Suicide Exhibition: The Never War

Justin Richards

WEWELSBURG CASTLE, 1940.The German war machine has woken an ancient threat – the alien Vril and their Ubermensch have returned. Ultimate Victory in the war for Europe is now within the Nazis’ grasp.ENGLAND, 1941Foreign Office trouble shooter Guy Pentecross has stumbled into a conspiracy beyond his imagining – a secret war being waged in the shadows against a terrible enemy.The battle for Europ... read more

WEWELSBURG CASTLE, 1940.The German war machine has woken an ancient threat – the alien Vril and their Ubermensch have returned. Ultimate Victory in the war for Europe is now within the Nazis’ grasp.ENGLAND, 1941Foreign Office trouble shooter Guy Pentecross has stumbled into a conspiracy beyond his imagining – a secret war being waged in the shadows against a terrible enemy.The battle for Europ... read more

Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris Book 1)

Jim C. Hines

Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of a secret society founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. As such, he is gifted with the magical ability to reach into books and draw forth objects.But when Gutenberg vanishes without a trace, Isaac finds himself pitted against everything from vampires to a sinister, nameless foe who is bent on revealing magic to the world at large... and at... read more

Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of a secret society founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. As such, he is gifted with the magical ability to reach into books and draw forth objects.But when Gutenberg vanishes without a trace, Isaac finds himself pitted against everything from vampires to a sinister, nameless foe who is bent on revealing magic to the world at large... and at... read more

The Clown Service

Guy Adams

Toby Greene has been reassigned. The Department: Section 37 Station Office, Wood Green.The Boss: August Shining, an ex-Cambridge, Cold War-era spy.The Mission: Charged with protecting Great Britain and its interests from paranormal terrorism.The Threat: An old enemy has returned, and with him Operation Black Earth, a Soviet plan to create the ultimate insurgents by re-animating the dead.

Toby Greene has been reassigned. The Department: Section 37 Station Office, Wood Green.The Boss: August Shining, an ex-Cambridge, Cold War-era spy.The Mission: Charged with protecting Great Britain and its interests from paranormal terrorism.The Threat: An old enemy has returned, and with him Operation Black Earth, a Soviet plan to create the ultimate insurgents by re-animating the dead.

God's War: Bel Dame Apocrypha

Kameron Hurley

Shortlisted for The Arthur C. Clarke AwardNyx is a bel dame, a bounty hunter paid to collect the heads of deserters – by almost any means necessary.‘Almost’ proved to be the problem.Cast out and imprisoned for breaking one rule too many, Nyx and her crew of mercenaries are all about the money. But when a dubious government deal with an alien emissary goes awry, her name is at the top of the li... read more

Shortlisted for The Arthur C. Clarke AwardNyx is a bel dame, a bounty hunter paid to collect the heads of deserters – by almost any means necessary.‘Almost’ proved to be the problem.Cast out and imprisoned for breaking one rule too many, Nyx and her crew of mercenaries are all about the money. But when a dubious government deal with an alien emissary goes awry, her name is at the top of the li... read more

The Devil's Detective

Simon Kurt Unsworth

WELCOME TO HELL. Solving crimes was the purpose of the Information Men, yet they almost never achieved it, and even when they did, the facts they scraped free were lost, buried again in the labyrinthine mess of the Bureaucracy.When an unidentified, brutalised body is discovered, the case is assigned to Thomas Fool. But how do you investigate a murder where death is commonplace and everyone is ... read more

WELCOME TO HELL. Solving crimes was the purpose of the Information Men, yet they almost never achieved it, and even when they did, the facts they scraped free were lost, buried again in the labyrinthine mess of the Bureaucracy.When an unidentified, brutalised body is discovered, the case is assigned to Thomas Fool. But how do you investigate a murder where death is commonplace and everyone is ... read more

After Earth

Peter David

Experience a novelization unlike any other. From Peter David, the veteran sci-fi author, this is the complete, never-before-seen chronicle of an extraordinary family who’ve been across the galaxy and back. RAIGE RUNS IN THE FAMILYGeneral Cypher Raige comes from a family of heroes. Since humanity’s exodus from the Earth a thousand years ago and the subsequent onslaught from a mysterious alien f... read more

Experience a novelization unlike any other. From Peter David, the veteran sci-fi author, this is the complete, never-before-seen chronicle of an extraordinary family who’ve been across the galaxy and back. RAIGE RUNS IN THE FAMILYGeneral Cypher Raige comes from a family of heroes. Since humanity’s exodus from the Earth a thousand years ago and the subsequent onslaught from a mysterious alien f... read more

Infernal

Mark de Jager

A daring new voice in fantasy, with an anti-hero like no otherStratus wakes alone, with no memory of his past. All he knows is his name and that he is not human. Possessing immense strength, powerful sorcery and an insatiable hunger, he sets out across a landscape torn apart by a war, as a dark magic drives the world to the brink of destruction. Disoriented and pursued relentlessly by enemies,... read more

A daring new voice in fantasy, with an anti-hero like no otherStratus wakes alone, with no memory of his past. All he knows is his name and that he is not human. Possessing immense strength, powerful sorcery and an insatiable hunger, he sets out across a landscape torn apart by a war, as a dark magic drives the world to the brink of destruction. Disoriented and pursued relentlessly by enemies,... read more

Michael has 29 reviews

Professionalism
Quality
Value
Communication

Elise Bungo

Michael was great to work with. His review was very thorough and detailed but avoided getting down in the weeds, allowing me to focus on the core opportunities to improve my work. He was a great communicator, and brings a wealth of knowledge about the writing, editing and publishing arenas that I found invaluable. I would highly recommend Michael to anyone looking to strengthen their work.

, June 2017


Erin Smith

Michael gave very valuable and thorough feedback that I couldn't have figured out on my own. My story will have much more depth once I have put his suggestions in place.

, June 2017


Brendan Quinn

I am working on my first two projects as a novelist, so I don't have a huge amount of experience to judge, but after researching quite a bit on how the editing process works, Michael's work was exactly what I was looking for in a developmental edit. He brought up a myriad of minor things in an organized fashion that allowed me to create a simple (but extensive) to do list. He also identified th...

, June 2017


James Carter

Working with Michael has been an absolute joy. I am new to the world of becoming and author, and even so, he remained nonjudgmental throughout and stayed extremely supportive. The feedback he provided was insightful and he also recommended some ideas which I will be sure to take forward when I go back to take my book apart again to hopefully get it to a publishable level. I hope to work with ...

, June 2017


Seth Wilks

Michael wrote a detailed report on my story that helped me shape the direction. I appreciated his straightforward comments and his insights into the story. Where relevant, he pointed me in the direction of outside sources (short stories, novels, articles) that might help me with better understand where I was going wrong, and how I could go right. A good experience all around.​

, May 2017

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