I'm an award-winning, passionate freelance editor of commercial non-fiction originally from London, and now based by the sea in Margate, with multiple bestsellers under my belt and 10 years' experience working in two of the biggest publishing houses in the country. I love working closely with authors to deliver new and exciting books they can be proud of for the rest of their lives.
As a former Editorial Director, I also know what commissioning editors are looking for, so if you're an aspiring author but don't know where to start, I'm here to help.
A former Bookseller Rising Star and Star Buyer, I also headed up the non-fiction list at HarperCollins imprint HQ, from its launch in 2016 through to 2020, when I went freelance.
In that time, HQ was shortlisted for Imprint of the Year in 2019 and BOSH!, one of my first acquisitions for the list, became a Sunday Times No. 1 bestseller, the biggest-selling vegan cookbook of all time and won Non-Fiction Lifestyle Book of the Year at the Nibbies.
I've also been lucky enough to work with a whole array of wonderful authors including Jane Fonda, anti-racism advocate Sophie Williams, Grazia Fashion Editor Kenya Hunt, award-winning period poverty activist Amika George, superstar influencer Patricia Bright, founder of the Positive Birth Movement Milli Hill, actress and TIME's Person of the Year Rose McGowan, Olympian Tom Daley, chef and food writer Gizzi Erskine, poet Charly Cox, award-winning journalist Daisy Buchanan and psychotherapist Owen O'Kane to name just a few.
I'm super organised, with a keen eye for detail and something of a perfectionist. I will not rest until a book is as good as it can possibly be. But that doesn't mean I'm a dragon - my authors say I'm approachable and I like to think they mean it!
I'm one of two non-fiction editors and consultants at Bergstrom Studio, the consultancy founded by author and literary agent Abigail Bergstrom.
I'm also one of 18 "titans of the writing, publishing and book-marketing world" (a.k.a. The Masters) in Sunday Times No.1 bestselling author and Book Writing Super Coach Michael Heppell's Write That Book Masterclass.
In 2021, I had the pleasure of working with Sunday Times bestselling author and psychotherapist Owen O'Kane on the manuscript for his third book, How to Be Your Own Therapist, which HarperCollins will be publishing in June 2022.
I also spent much of the year working closely with Cambridge-educated medical doctor and scientist turned professional ballroom dancer and Group Strategy Director to two global retail giants, turned leading mindset coach to global execs, entrepreneurs and UHNWIs Dr Gary Crotaz PhD on every aspect of his independently published soft business book The IDEA Mindset: Figure Out What You Want from Work and How to Get It, in 6 Weeks, which was released by whitefox in January 2022.
I have experience working with bestselling authors and major brands and I'm a safe and collaborative pair of editorial hands who's just as comfortable coming up with awesome new book propositions as I am editing manuscripts.
I'm available for:
- workshopping and developing book ideas
- comprehensive, useful feedback on your non-fiction book concept or proposal
- writing, editing or tidying up proposals and covering notes
- structural editing or book doctor work
As part of my editorial feedback, I can offer practical advice on:
- how to make yourself as attractive as possible to potential agents and publishers
- how to arrive at a compelling book idea and title that's authentic to you and plays to your strengths
- how to create an unmissable pitch and proposal that does your idea justice
- how a book goes from an idea to a bestseller
- how the publishing process works.
I love working with smart, dedicated, curious people and am totally committed to making their work sing.
But don't just take my word for it. Below is some feedback from some lovely authors I worked with recently at HarperCollins, and as a freelance editor.
"As soon as I met Rachel, I knew she was the editor I wanted to work with. She was informed, enthusiastic and warm - she felt like a safe pair of hands to guide me through the process of writing and releasing my first book. She literally made it impossible for me to consider going with anyone else! Rachel was always available when I needed her, and helped to demystify what can be a confusing process for first time writers."
Sophie Williams, author of Anti-Racist Ally and Millennial Black
"Rachel had the vision to see that the world needed a book about why birth is a feminist issue, when this idea was completely off many editors' radars. From the moment she commissioned Give Birth like a Feminist, she backed and believed in it, seeing the book through to fantastic sales and Amazon bestseller status. She is the perfect combination of approachable warmth and razor sharp insight."
Milli Hill, author of The Positive Birth Book and Give Birth Like a Feminist
"Rachel is an incredible talent. Her uniqueness is her creative brilliance combined with her phenomenal eye for detail and finesse. She also happens to be an incredibly decent, authentic and lovely person to work with."
Owen O'Kane, author of Ten Times Happier and Ten to Zen
"Of course, I needed a huge amount of help and over the course of about nine months I worked with a brilliant editor, Rachel Kenny, who cut out about three-quarters of my first draft and helped me to create something that was much more accessible and enjoyable to experience as a reader. The final book is still around half the size of what I first plonked on her desk!"
Dr Gary Crotaz PhD, author of The IDEA Mindset
"After seeing her interview on Michael Heppell's 'Write That Book Masterclass' I hired Rachel to do a review of my 'Cactus Surgeon' pitch for agents and publishers. She gave me an incredibly comprehensive and insightful report, which we also discussed over the phone. I received some excellent advice to improve my writing style and to make my pitch stand out from the crowd. We also discussed self-publishing vs. agent/publisher routes to market. I now know what I need to do to move it forward! Thank you, Rachel!"
Hannah Powell, author of The Cactus Surgeon
In August 2020, I decided to leave permanent employment, in the middle of a pandemic, to go freelance to explore a different way of working and living - and I am a total convert! I now work as a freelance editor of commercial non-fiction, a talent scout on behalf of literary agents and publishers, and a consultant to aspiring authors looking to hone their book proposition, or find an agent or publisher.
Headed up the commercial non-fiction list at brand new imprint HQ, creating an acquisition strategy and building an exciting, dynamic list under the ethos of books for bold, smart, curious women:
- Acquired and published first book from vegan influencers BOSH! in a hotly-contested 8-publisher auction, and built them into the biggest vegan brand in the UK with 5 books and counting. BOSH! became a Sunday Times Number 1 bestseller, the fastest-selling debut cookbook of 2018, and the biggest-selling vegan cookbook since records began. BOSH! have now sold over 600K copies worldwide
- Acquired Sunday Times bestseller THE PRISON DOCTOR by Dr. Amanda Brown - now a returnable brand author. Dr. Amanda has sold over quarter of a million copies across both her titles
- Acquired and published SHE MUST BE MAD by Charly Cox, who went on to become the bestselling debut poet of 2018
- Acquired and published cult self-publishing freedom-from-alcohol phenomenon THIS NAKED MIND by Annie Grace, who went on to become one of HarperCollins' biggest-selling authors in audio and eBook
- Engineered a successful rebrand for chef and award-winning food writer Gizzi Erskine with her 7th book SLOW, which went on become her second bestselling cookbook of all time, and continues to backlist
Commissioning Editor at Headline, specialising in entertainment, social media, health, fitness, lifestyle, gift humour and pop culture titles.
Worked on bestselling author and YouTuber Fleur de Force’s lifestyle guide The Luxe Life and TV presenter Kate Humble’s exploration of the relationship between humans and dogs, Friend for Life, while pre-empting both Instagram sensation and fitness expert Zanna van Dijk’s debut title Strong, and two titles - How to Be a Grown-Up and The Sisterhood from award-winning columnist and media commentator Daisy Buchanan.
‘A brilliant book of intelligent advice and detailed case studies that encourages reflection and positive change.’ Fearne Cotton ‘A refreshingly practical guide to finding joy every day.’ Susanna Reid ‘Owen is an expert at showing, in his brilliantly down-to-earth way, how we can find happiness in the real world.’ Rob Rinder, aka Judge Rinder Want to get happier? Not just a little but A LOT ha... read more
‘Make It Happen reminds us that people of any age can create change in their communities. From finding allies to setting goals, everyone who wants to contribute to a better future can learn from Amika's book.’ Malala Yousafzai GET UP. SPEAK UP. DON’T GIVE UP. In the spring of 2017, 17-year-old Amika George founded the Free Periods movement on behalf of every schoolgirl who couldn’t afford tamp... read more
Smart, short techniques throughout the day can form a healthier perspective ‘Owen is an expert at showing, in his brilliantly down-to-earth way, how we can find happiness in the real world.’ Rob Rinder, aka Judge Rinder All the benefits of therapy – 10 minutes at a time Let Owen O’Kane, psychotherapist, former NHS Clinical Lead and Sunday Times bestselling author of TEN TO ZEN, show you how an... read more
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Developmental editor of narrative nonfiction and literary fiction with experience at Hachette, Melville House, and SAGE.
Award-winning, book-loving developmental editor, with 25 years of experience, looking for projects in need of a firm hand and keen eye.