Michael Upchurch

Michael Upchurch - Editor

London, UK

Experienced non-fiction publisher and editor. Former HarperCollins. Trade/literary non-fiction/museum publishing. Making ideas accessible.

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Overview

I am an experienced non-fiction publisher and editor. For over 15 years, I have worked with authors and subject matter experts, successfully developing ideas for different readers and audiences, demonstrating an enthusiasm for new ideas and creative approaches to books and online content.

I have experience of every step of the publishing process at both large (HarperCollins UK) and smaller publishers, working with authors such as Bill Bryson, Fergal Keane, Steve Richards, scientists, historians and curators. I hold a Master’s degree in Publishing and my areas of expertise include trade, literary non-fiction, and museum publishing. In particular, history, popular science and biography.

Whether you require advice, a reader report, structural editing, ghost-writing, copy-editing or proofreading, I'm happy to discuss.

Over the years I have developed excellent organisational and interpersonal skills, I can be quite unflappable under pressure!
I'm used to working with NZ and US English as well as my native UK English. I have lived and worked in London and New Zealand, fuelled by good coffee and great ideas and stories.

Strengths:
Communicating a vision for ideas
Providing first-rate author care
Managing teams across editorial projects and collaborating with a wide range of experts across various skills
Producing content of the highest quality and design
Copy-editing and proofreading
Illustrated/ complex books

The portfolio of books below is just a selection.

Languages
English (NZ)
English (UK)
English (US)
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
Entertainment
Geography
History
Nature
Political Science & Current Affairs
Sports & Outdoors
Fiction
Historical Fiction

Certifications

  • Master of Arts, Publishing - Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies, Oxford Brookes University

Work experience

Freelance Editor and Project Manager

Self-employed
August, 2010 – Present (over 9 years)

Structural editing, editorial consultancy and project management on trade and academic titles for New Zealand and UK publishers in each country.
• Projects included titles for HarperCollins, a member of the royal family in Kuwait, and Bridget Williams Books, an award-winning publisher of NZ history and social sciences.

Editor

HarperCollins
September, 2005 – August, 2010 (almost 5 years)

Commissioned, project managed and edited for two of the most renowned literary imprints in UK publishing.
• Supported several editorial directors, including Arabella Pike, on about 15 titles per year across history, current affairs, biography, popular science, but with a particular focus on complex and illustrated titles.
• Managed authors including Bill Bryson, Fergal Keane, Ed Macy, Steve Richards, Norma Farnes and Charles Glass.
• Worked closely with in-house marketing, sales and production departments and external freelance designers, editors and proofreaders.
• Formed and managed strong relationships with authors and agents, aiding authors with manuscripts.
• Managed designers, copy editors and proofreaders, briefing cover art and picture research.
• Contract negotiation and costed profitable proposals for acquisition, developing market awareness.
• Organised multiple publishing schedules to tight deadlines and to budget.
• Responded to the early challenges of the emergence of ebook readers and retailers.
Prior to this, at Collins Education I commissioned and co-ordinated editorial projects for several lists, including a successful history series, 4-colour illustrated books and websites.

Development Executive / Commissioning Editor

Pastest
July, 2016 – December, 2018 (over 2 years)

Researched new ideas and developed and implemented the publishing programme for both books and online interactive content.
• Oversaw a growing list worth over £2m/year in revenue.
• Led the company’s entry into a highly competitive market in India.
• Directed new and more efficient content delivery processes and systems.
• Placed emphasis on usability testing and customer research for ideas.
• Professional development: Harvard Business School course

Editor

Te Papa Press, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
December, 2012 – February, 2016 (about 3 years)

Developed and managed projects for titles based on the national museum’s collections, knowledge and brand.
• Successfully planned and delivered the largest book published in NZ, The Fishes of New Zealand, managing over 60 professionals and freelancers.
• Fishes won the 2016 Whitley Medal for outstanding publication in Australasian zoology by The Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales.
• Managed strong team relationships (authors, curators, museum and government staff) and ensured the highest quality of design.
• Brought forward new book and non-book ideas (see next page) and pushed for better discoverability through improved metadata.

Ebooks Business Development Manager

Fishpond Ltd
March, 2012 – June, 2012 (3 months)

Negotiated with publishers and aggregators to deliver content to the new ebook programme of Australasia’s largest online retailer. (3-month contract)
• Built relationships with international publishers in Australasia.
• Helped develop the front and back end of Fishpond’s ebook platform.

Portfolio (21 selected works)

The Fishes of New Zealand

Explore, discover and identify every known species of New Zealand fish in this encyclopaedic and beautifully illustrated guide. The Fishes of New Zealand represents the culmination of decades of collecting and taxonomic research by scientists based at New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa, in collaboration with specialists worldwide. It reveals the history, diversity, and biogeography of the ... read more

Explore, discover and identify every known species of New Zealand fish in this encyclopaedic and beautifully illustrated guide. The Fishes of New Zealand represents the culmination of decades of collecting and taxonomic research by scientists based at New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa, in collaboration with specialists worldwide. It reveals the history, diversity, and biogeography of the ... read more

Seeing Further: The Story of Science, Discovery, and the Genius of the Royal Society

“Bryson is as amusing as ever….As a celebration of 350 years of modern science, [Seeing Further] it is a worthy tribute.”—The EconomistIn Seeing Further, New York Times bestseller Bill Bryson takes readers on a guided tour through the great discoveries, feuds, and personalities of modern science. Already a major bestseller in the UK, Seeing Further tells the fascinating story of science and th... read more

“Bryson is as amusing as ever….As a celebration of 350 years of modern science, [Seeing Further] it is a worthy tribute.”—The EconomistIn Seeing Further, New York Times bestseller Bill Bryson takes readers on a guided tour through the great discoveries, feuds, and personalities of modern science. Already a major bestseller in the UK, Seeing Further tells the fascinating story of science and th... read more

Whatever it Takes: The Real Story of Gordon Brown and New Labour

Steve Richards

The definitive account of New Labour's rise and fall.On 11 May 2010 Gordon Brown resigned as Prime Minister; it marked the end of thirteen dramatic years of Labour government. When he finally released his grip on power, many questions remained about the most intriguing and complex political figure of modern times and co-architect of New Labour. Leading commentator Steve Richards watched every ... read more

The definitive account of New Labour's rise and fall.On 11 May 2010 Gordon Brown resigned as Prime Minister; it marked the end of thirteen dramatic years of Labour government. When he finally released his grip on power, many questions remained about the most intriguing and complex political figure of modern times and co-architect of New Labour. Leading commentator Steve Richards watched every ... read more

Apache: Inside the Cockpit of the World's Most Deadly Fighting Machine

Ed Macy

Apache is the incredible true story of Ed Macy, a decorated Apache helicopter pilot, that takes you inside the cockpit of the world’s most dangerous war machine. A firsthand account of the exhilaration and ferocity of war, Apache chronicles a rescue mission involving a stranded soldier in Afghanistan in 2007.Ed Macy had always dreamed of a career in the army, so when the British Army Air Corps... read more

Apache is the incredible true story of Ed Macy, a decorated Apache helicopter pilot, that takes you inside the cockpit of the world’s most dangerous war machine. A firsthand account of the exhilaration and ferocity of war, Apache chronicles a rescue mission involving a stranded soldier in Afghanistan in 2007.Ed Macy had always dreamed of a career in the army, so when the British Army Air Corps... read more

Memories of Milligan

Norma Farnes

An arresting collection of interviews, collated by Norma Farnes, Spike Milligan's close friend and longstanding agent, bringing to life the late, great Milligan in all his various guises. Heralded as brilliant and difficult in equal measure, Spike Milligan is one of the most prolific and mould-breaking writers of the twentieth century. Fantastically funny and incredibly talented, on his death ... read more

An arresting collection of interviews, collated by Norma Farnes, Spike Milligan's close friend and longstanding agent, bringing to life the late, great Milligan in all his various guises. Heralded as brilliant and difficult in equal measure, Spike Milligan is one of the most prolific and mould-breaking writers of the twentieth century. Fantastically funny and incredibly talented, on his death ... read more

Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival

Norman Ollestad

Set in the aftermath of a harrowing plane crash, this is the true story of one young boy’s fight for survival in nature’s most treacherous conditions. Eleven-year-old Norman Ollestad was a gifted skier. After winning the 1979 Southern California Slalom Skiing Championship, his father chartered a small plane to fly Norman home, so that his son could collect his trophy and train with his team. M... read more

Set in the aftermath of a harrowing plane crash, this is the true story of one young boy’s fight for survival in nature’s most treacherous conditions. Eleven-year-old Norman Ollestad was a gifted skier. After winning the 1979 Southern California Slalom Skiing Championship, his father chartered a small plane to fly Norman home, so that his son could collect his trophy and train with his team. M... read more

Wilfred Thesiger in Africa

Alexander Maitland

A unique collection of essays accompany Wilfred Thesiger’s own personal photographs of the Africa he experienced as one of the world’s most celebrated explorers. While Wilfred Thesiger’s own classic writings (including ‘The Marsh Arabs’, ‘Arabian Sands’, ‘Desert’, Marsh and Mountain’, ‘The Life of My Choice’ and ‘My Kenya Days’) comprehensively cover his classic journeys amongst the Marsh Arab... read more

A unique collection of essays accompany Wilfred Thesiger’s own personal photographs of the Africa he experienced as one of the world’s most celebrated explorers. While Wilfred Thesiger’s own classic writings (including ‘The Marsh Arabs’, ‘Arabian Sands’, ‘Desert’, Marsh and Mountain’, ‘The Life of My Choice’ and ‘My Kenya Days’) comprehensively cover his classic journeys amongst the Marsh Arab... read more

Luella's Guide to English Style

Luella Bartley

Top young fashion designer Luella Bartley celebrates English style and explains how to acquire it.What makes English girls the coolest in the world? What is the English style which girls around the world try to emulate? In this book Luella Bartley - crowned Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards in 2008 - sets out to capture what it is that makes English girls just a little bit spe... read more

Top young fashion designer Luella Bartley celebrates English style and explains how to acquire it.What makes English girls the coolest in the world? What is the English style which girls around the world try to emulate? In this book Luella Bartley - crowned Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards in 2008 - sets out to capture what it is that makes English girls just a little bit spe... read more

Migrations

Rod Edmond

In 1853 Catherine McLeod and her family abandoned their small croft on the coast of Scotland and sailed for Tasmania. In 1884 Charles Murray left Aberdeenshire to become a missionary in the Pacific.In Migrations, Rod Edmond follows the journeys of these two great-grandparents, from a cluster of ruined crofts to the village of Ambrym, arriving finally in New Zealand.

In 1853 Catherine McLeod and her family abandoned their small croft on the coast of Scotland and sailed for Tasmania. In 1884 Charles Murray left Aberdeenshire to become a missionary in the Pacific.In Migrations, Rod Edmond follows the journeys of these two great-grandparents, from a cluster of ruined crofts to the village of Ambrym, arriving finally in New Zealand.

Being Chinese

Helene Wong

This is the story of a quest I began three decades ago – the search for my Chinese identity. The path I travelled was not linear, and the years brought pain as well as joy. But, while this is a narrative about being Chinese and also a New Zealander, I know that the search for purpose and meaning in life is universal. I hope that others in our culturally diverse society will find their own ways... read more

This is the story of a quest I began three decades ago – the search for my Chinese identity. The path I travelled was not linear, and the years brought pain as well as joy. But, while this is a narrative about being Chinese and also a New Zealander, I know that the search for purpose and meaning in life is universal. I hope that others in our culturally diverse society will find their own ways... read more

Webs of Empire

Tony Ballantyne

Breaking open colonization to reveal tangled cultural and economic networks, Webs of Empire offers new paths into our colonial history. Linking Gore and Chicago, Maori and Asia, India and newspapers, whalers and writing, empire building becomes a spreading web of connected places, people, ideas, and trade. These links question narrow, national stories, while broadening perspectives on the past... read more

Breaking open colonization to reveal tangled cultural and economic networks, Webs of Empire offers new paths into our colonial history. Linking Gore and Chicago, Maori and Asia, India and newspapers, whalers and writing, empire building becomes a spreading web of connected places, people, ideas, and trade. These links question narrow, national stories, while broadening perspectives on the past... read more

Shakespeare (The Illustrated and Updated Edition)

Bill Bryson

Shakespeare: The Illustrated Edition is an exquisitely illustrated, updated edition of Bill Bryson’s bestselling biography of William Shakespeare that takes the reader on an enthralling tour through Elizabethan England and the eccentricities of Shakespearean scholarship. With more than 100 color and black-and-white illustrations throughout, and updated to include recent discoveries, Shakespear... read more

Shakespeare: The Illustrated Edition is an exquisitely illustrated, updated edition of Bill Bryson’s bestselling biography of William Shakespeare that takes the reader on an enthralling tour through Elizabethan England and the eccentricities of Shakespearean scholarship. With more than 100 color and black-and-white illustrations throughout, and updated to include recent discoveries, Shakespear... read more

Edward Heath: The Authorised Biography

Philip Ziegler

The magisterial official life of Britain's complex and misunderstood former prime minister, which offers a fundamental reassessment of his reputation. Edward Heath was at the centre of British political life for much of the second half of the twentieth century. Entering the House of Commons in 1950, he served as a whip and a minister before becoming Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime M... read more

The magisterial official life of Britain's complex and misunderstood former prime minister, which offers a fundamental reassessment of his reputation. Edward Heath was at the centre of British political life for much of the second half of the twentieth century. Entering the House of Commons in 1950, he served as a whip and a minister before becoming Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime M... read more

Americans in Paris: Life and Death under Nazi Occupation 1940–44

Charles Glass

An elegantly written and highly informative account of a group of Americans living in Paris when the city fell to the Nazis in June 1940. When the German army occupied Paris in the early hours of 14 June 1940, a large American community awaited them. Although the US Ambassador had advised those without vital business to leave when war broke out in 1939, almost five thousand remained. Many had ... read more

An elegantly written and highly informative account of a group of Americans living in Paris when the city fell to the Nazis in June 1940. When the German army occupied Paris in the early hours of 14 June 1940, a large American community awaited them. Although the US Ambassador had advised those without vital business to leave when war broke out in 1939, almost five thousand remained. Many had ... read more

Road of Bones: The Siege of Kohima 1944 – The Epic Story of the Last Great Stand of Empire

Fergal Keane

(This ebook contains a limited number of illustrations. Maps are best viewed on a tablet.) The epic story of one of the most savage battles of the Second World War. Kohima. In this remote Indian village near the border with Burma, a tiny force of British and Indian troops faced the might of the Imperial Japanese Army. Outnumbered ten to one, the defenders fought the Japanese hand to hand in a ... read more

(This ebook contains a limited number of illustrations. Maps are best viewed on a tablet.) The epic story of one of the most savage battles of the Second World War. Kohima. In this remote Indian village near the border with Burma, a tiny force of British and Indian troops faced the might of the Imperial Japanese Army. Outnumbered ten to one, the defenders fought the Japanese hand to hand in a ... read more

Summer of Blood: The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381

Dan Jones

Revolt and upheaval in medieval Britain by a brilliant new narrative historian. ‘Summer of Blood’ breaks new ground in its portrayal of the personalities and politics of the bloody days of June 1381. Breathing life into one of British history's most colourful yet under-explored episodes, Dan Jones recreates the dangerous world of the fourteenth century: a time when pain, squalor, misery and di... read more

Revolt and upheaval in medieval Britain by a brilliant new narrative historian. ‘Summer of Blood’ breaks new ground in its portrayal of the personalities and politics of the bloody days of June 1381. Breathing life into one of British history's most colourful yet under-explored episodes, Dan Jones recreates the dangerous world of the fourteenth century: a time when pain, squalor, misery and di... read more

International Relations 1879-2004 (Flagship History)

Derrick Murphy, Terry Morris

New for the 2008 specifications, this title includes material from the causes of the First World War to the conflict in Iraq.Includes historical interpretations, document source questions, explanation of difficult words and concepts, a study skills section for exam preparation and a companion website with visuals to support learning.Contents:Study and examination skills1 International Relation... read more

New for the 2008 specifications, this title includes material from the causes of the First World War to the conflict in Iraq.Includes historical interpretations, document source questions, explanation of difficult words and concepts, a study skills section for exam preparation and a companion website with visuals to support learning.Contents:Study and examination skills1 International Relation... read more

The Bitter Sea: The Struggle for Mastery in the Mediterranean 1935–1949

Simon Ball

A gripping history of the Mediterranean campaigns from the first rumblings of conflict through the Second World War and into the uneasy peace of the late 1940s. The Mediterranean Sea lies at the very heart of recent world history. To the British during the Second World War, the Mediterranean was the world’s great thoroughfare. To the Americans, it represented the answer to anti-imperialism. An... read more

A gripping history of the Mediterranean campaigns from the first rumblings of conflict through the Second World War and into the uneasy peace of the late 1940s. The Mediterranean Sea lies at the very heart of recent world history. To the British during the Second World War, the Mediterranean was the world’s great thoroughfare. To the Americans, it represented the answer to anti-imperialism. An... read more

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