Michelle Griffin

Michelle Griffin - Editor

Belfast, UK

Over 17 years of in-house editorial experience, publishing award-winning non-fiction and fiction (Blackstaff Press). MA in History from QUB.

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I have a theory that editing a book is a bit like cleaning your house: no one should notice if you do it right, but everyone will notice if you don’t ...

And sometimes you just need to hire a professional to get the job done.

I have worked in publishing since 2003, spending over seventeen years as an in-house editor and proofreader, though I have often worn other hats: production editor, permissions expert, typesetter and even, when a Mac or printer occasionally let us down, tech support. The publishing world can be demanding, changeable and all-consuming, but I love everything about it.

In particular, I love working directly with an author and helping them fine-tune their work – whether that means drilling down to find the real heart of a story; working out the kinks in a plot; or emphasising the key information in history texts or memoirs. It is a unique and immensely satisfying relationship, one built on trust and mutual respect – authors need to know that their book is in safe hands, and I pride myself on being knowledgeable and professional, but also open, friendly and fun to work with.

For over thirteen years, I was an editor with the prestigious Irish publisher, Blackstaff Press. There I specialised in commercial editing; working as key editor, proofreader or project manager on titles by first-time and high-profile writers alike (including award-winning authors, MLAs, former city mayors and prominent sports personalities).

I am also an experienced educational editor, working for several years with Blackstaff’s sister company, Colourpoint Education. There, I edited and proofread resources for KS3, GCSE and A level. I liaised with teachers, principal officers, chief examiners etc. to ensure copy was consistent in style, facts were accurate and that the text covered the curriculum specifications.

Over the years I have worked on a wide range of titles, but the ones of which I am most proud are:


- ‘The Pen Friend’, Ciaran Carson

- ‘The Third Party’, Glenn Patterson

- ‘The Dancer’s Dancing’, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne (2010 reprint)


- The ‘Written in Stone’ series, Tom Hartley

- ‘May, Lou and Cass: Jane Austen’s Nieces in Ireland’, Sophia Hillan

- ‘The Belfast Blitz’, Stephen Douds

- 'Titanic: Icon of an Age', Michael McCaughan


- The ‘Folk’d’ trilogy, Laurence Donaghy

- ‘The Polaris Whisper’, Ken Gregory


- ‘A River of Bodies’, Kevin Doyle


- ‘The Ulster Anthology’, Patricia Craig

- ‘Weird Belfast’, Reggie Chamberlain-King

- ‘Earth Voices Whispering: An Anthology of Irish War Poetry 1914-45’, Gerald Dawe


- ‘A Time to Speak’, Helen Lewis (2010 reprint)

- ‘The Place I Call Home’, Anna Lo


- 'AS Russia 1914-41', Jim McBride

- 'AS Northern Ireland Government and Politics', Lesley Veronica

- 'Electoral Contests in Northern Ireland', Alan Parkinson

English (UK)
Biographies & Memoirs
Literary Fiction
Science Fiction
Urban Fantasy
Women's Fiction


  • Basic Proofreading, Publishing Training Centre, London
  • Copy-editing Skills, Publishing Training Centre, London
  • Grammar at Work, Publishing Training Centre, London
  • Advanced Copy-editing, Publishing Training Centre, London
  • Proofreading, Stage II, Publishing Ireland
  • Grammar for Editors, Publishing Ireland

Work experience

Freelance Editor and Proofreader

October, 2019 – Present (about 3 years)

I have edited and proofread materials for a range of customers, including Blackstaff Press, Colourpoint Creative and Greenwich Exchange, London: proofread and copy-edited an interactive trail for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council; editor on a tourism project for Fáilte Feirste Thiar and edited and proofread manuscripts from self-published authors.

Production Editor

Blackstaff Press, Colourpoint Education and April Sky
May, 2006 – October, 2019 (over 13 years)

Production Editor – Blackstaff Press
• Editor and proofreader for a wide range of genres, including literature (The Pen Friend, Ciaran Carson); poetry (Selected John Hewitt, Frank Ormsby and Michael Longley); anthology (Ulster Anthology, Patricia Craig); fiction (The Third Party, Glenn Patterson); and non-fiction (‘Written in Stone’ series, Tom Hartley).
• Content creator/designer for a range of materials, including books (structural editing, blurbs, captions, glossaries); websites (blogs, product listings, metadata, SEO terminology); social media (full campaigns and/or individual posts on Facebook, Twitter); promotional material (author biographical notes, key selling points); briefed designers on covers.
• Permissions administration: sourced rights holders of material; negotiated reduced fees; verified correct acknowledgements; and acquired high-resolution images suitable for publication.
• Digital content management: utilised various software programmes for design, typesetting, correction setting, generation of final print files for printers and eBook conversion, including Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator etc.) and Quark Xpress.
• Project manager of books from commissioning to completion: worked closely with authors; hired, briefed and monitored freelance staff (editors, designers etc.); adhered to budgets and schedules; informed sales, marketing and publicity departments about the progress of titles; and oversaw in-house/industry data management (ONIX – XML standard metadata format).
• Production scheduler: oversaw and implemented timetables for multiple, simultaneous titles; organised team meetings, generated agendas, reports and minutes on project progress; developed spreadsheets and databases to manage timeframes and schedules; ensured deadlines were met.
• Print management for titles: sourced and confirmed most economic/suitable print; generated purchase orders; authorised payments; managed stock delivery.
• Managed website CMS (WordPress) and eCommerce system (Woo Commerce).
• Managed and updated social media, developed social media strategies and timetables (Facebook, Twitter, Mail Chimp).

Education Editor – Colourpoint Education
• Edited and proofread textbooks and digital learning resources for a variety of subjects at KS3, GCSE and GCE/A level – this included developmental editing, line editing and copy-editing.
• Educational text development, including comparison and assessment of material against curriculum specifications; ensuring style consistency; fact checking; permissions clearance; image sourcing, etc.
• Project managed titles from initial script through rewriting, editing, typesetting, proofreading and quality assurance processes to preparation of final print files.
• Briefed and managed staff, including authors, quality assurance experts, freelancers, marketing, production, design and manufacturing to ensure that projects were completed to a high standard.
• Liaised with teachers, principal officers, chief examiners etc. to ensure texts were quality assured and correctly covered the curriculum specifications.

Editorial and Marketing Assistant

Brehon Press
October, 2003 – December, 2012 (about 9 years)

• Manuscript editing and proofreading.
• Customer service, sales and public relations at events and launches.
• Developed marketing strategies.

Portfolio (128 selected works)

The Dancers Dancing

Dhuibhne, Eílís Ní

The Pen Friend: A Novel

Carson, Ciaran

Titanic: Icon of an Age

McCaughan, Michael

The Ulster Anthology

Patricia Craig

Dare to Dream

Irish Football Association

Pony Palace Camp: Pony Friends Forever

Burgess, Pauline, Karen Harbinson

Folk'd (Folk'd Trilogy)

Laurence Donaghy

The Return Room

Rodgers, WR, Rodgers, W.R., Dillon, Gerard

Where no Storms Come

Deane, John, Deane, John F

A Time to Speak

Lewis, Helen

A Salute from the Banderol: The Selected Writings of Sam Hanna Bell

Bell, Sam Hanna, Bell, Fergus, Hanna Bell, Fergus

Barnacle Soup and Other Stories from the West of Ireland

Gray, Joise, Gallagher, Tess, Gray, Josie

John Hewitt Selected Poems

Hewitt, John, Longley, Michael, Ormsby, Frank

Running Mates

Downey, Garbhan

Strangford: Portrait of an Irish Lough

Alain le Garsmeur, Ian Hill

Burning Your Own

Glenn Patterson

Lung Soup

Elliott, Andrew, Elloitt, Andrew

Guy Martin: Road Racer

Davison, Stephen

Oz: Around Australia on a Triumph, Motorbike Adventures 3

Hill, Jeff, O'Carroll, Colin, Hill, Geoff

Lough Erne

Le Garsmeur, Alain, Baker, Keith, Le Garsmeur, Alain

Irish Folk and Fairy Tales

Jarvie, Gordon, Gordon Jarvie

King of Country

Howard Wright


Mullin, René

Folk'd Up (Folk'd Trilogy)

Laurence Donaghy

Completely Folk'd

Donaghy, Laurence, sayer, joanne, Elliott, Kevin

Village of the Folk'd

Donaghy, Laurence, design, d3, sayer, joanne

Pure Derry

Pure Derry

A Leap of Faith

Latimer, David, McGuinness, Bernie

Back in Our Day

Clements, Stephen

Michelle has 3 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Mary Rumyantzeva
As always it was a pleasure to work together. When I first wrote Michelle, I'd finished a small novella about 20000 words. To create the long book seemed an impossible task. But, in the end, I had a novel about 65000 words which I liked so much that I hardly believe that I'd written it. And I'm sure enough that I couldn't have completed it working alone. We had three-stage editing. First, it...
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Mary Rumyantzeva, June 2021

Michelle Griffin
Thank you, Mary, for the incredibly kind words. You were an absolute joy to work with and I thoroughly enjoyed working on and reading your book. I find that I am really keen to learn what happens n...
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Reply from Michelle Griffin

Mary Rumyantzeva
I'm Russian and currently based in Moscow. Nevertheless, I decided to write my stories in English, because it lets me pitch them worldwide. That was a hard process to formulate my thoughts and feelings in the second language. Now you could picture how important it was for me to find the right editor. I'm so thankful to Michelle for her great work, delicate tone and thoughtful development of m...
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Mary Rumyantzeva, June 2021

Michelle Griffin
Thank you so much for this, Mary, you were a joy to work with. Your queries and responses are always so insightful and thoughtful, and you have such an incredibly creative storytelling mind - plus...
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Reply from Michelle Griffin

Mary Rumyantzeva
I highly recommend Michelle as an editor. It is always nervous to send your manuscripts to the person, whom you have never seen. Since we started working, Michelle could make me feel comfortable and calm. This atmosphere let me share ideas and feel less stressed about the working process. Michelle's assessment was constructive and helped me to understand the further direction of the story. Than...
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Mary Rumyantzeva, November 2020

Michelle Griffin
Thank you very much for such kind feedback, Mary. You have been genuinely great to work with and I thoroughly enjoyed 'Stone Flower'. I am really looking forward to returning to Helen and Belle’s w...
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Reply from Michelle Griffin

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