Laurel Sills

Laurel Sills - Editor

London, UK

I'm an award-winning editor specializing in thrillers, women's and SFF. Bookseller rising star previously of Bloomsbury and Canelo.

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Overview

Editor and co-founder of the award-winning Holdfast Magazine (British Fantasy Society award for Best Magazine 2015) Bookseller Rising Star 2017, and CIEP (Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading) professional member, I have ten years of experience working in the publishing industry as an editor. I am comfortable working on a wide range of fiction, from women’s fiction to thrillers, SFF to historical romance, with a specialism in science fiction and fantasy. Whether you want to prepare your manuscript for submission to industry professionals or polish your book for self-publication, together, we can get your work ready for the next stage of its journey.

My time at Canelo and Bloomsbury have given me a breadth of experience not only as an editor, but also as a proofreader and seasoned submission reader.

'The best thing about working with Laurel (apart from her overflowing energy and enthusiasm) was her ability to put her finger on things that weren’t quite right in my book. There were inconsistencies that had bothered me for ages, and loose ends that needed to be tidied up properly – Laurel found them all and made gentle suggestions that helped me make a better book' – Helen Wright, author of A Matter of Oaths

Developmental Edit
This is the big picture edit, where we will consider the order of events, if there are any plot holes, and if the tension, drive, balance and narrative clarity of your manuscript can be improved. We will address if your book is hitting your target audience (or if you aren't sure who that is yet, we can find out who that might be!) We will also look at things like character development, theme, and dialogue.

If you go through the traditional publishing route, an in-house editor at your publisher will do a structural edit for you there. I know from experience however that the more ready your book is for publication the more likely it will be accepted by a publisher in the first place. There is so much work involved in getting a book ready for publication that the less revisions an editor feels are needed the more likely they are to take you on. If you are getting your work ready for self-publication, it is really helpful to get this level of edit from a professional pair of eyes to make sure your book is ready to wow your readers.

Copyedit
This comes after the structural edit, once you are confident that your story is in the best shape it can be. This is where sentence-level detail is looked at such as typos, spelling errors, sentence clarity, fact-checking and consistency. This makes sure you smooth out any issues you are having with language and avoids inconsistencies such as the black cat on page 31 miraculously becoming a tabby on page 100. I will also be looking at the flow and feel of your prose and making suggestions in order to avoid clumsy phrasing, which can interrupt the communication between author and reader. If you are self-publishing this could be an important service in order to get your book to the best standard possible.

Proofread
The proofread is the final stage of polish before your book reaches your readers. This is the last chance to catch things such as typos, punctuation and spelling errors before publication. No matter how meticulous your copyedit was I would always recommend getting a proofread completed as the final stage of your book's journey. This is to ensure a fresh pair of eyes with excellent attention to detail can catch anything missed by you or your editor (and some remaining mistakes are, alas, inevitable!) and make sure your book is as clean and ready for the world as it can be.

Query Letter Review
As a veteran of reading through submissions, I can assure you that the covering letter (or email, these days) is vitally important. Have you introduced yourself and the work succinctly while making it enticing? Have you thought through your readership, pitched your synopsis right and noted the relevant comparison authors? If an editor or agent has a hundred submissions to get through and you've sent them a genre that they do not publish or your synopsis is confused then they may not even read the first line of your carefully crafted book baby. Getting a professional pair of eyes to offer detailed advice could help you stand out from the crowd.

I love working with authors to get the most out of their writing and work with clear communication and friendly professionalism.

Making sure we are a good fit
It is really important to find an editor that understands your work. I don't enjoy working on books with right-leaning politics, sexual violence against women, racial prejudice, and anti LGBTQ+ sentiments. Please be aware that I might not be the best fit if any of this features in your work. Of course, there are characters that may be prejudiced within the narrative, but if this is something that is prevalent from the point of the authorial voice, I am probably not the right editor for you!
Languages
English (UK)
Fiction
Dystopian
Fantasy
Historical Fiction
Mystery & Crime
Science Fiction
Thriller & Suspense
Urban Fantasy
Women's Fiction

Certifications

  • MA Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths University
  • Digital Proofreading - Publishing Training Centre
  • Introduction to Editorial Skills: Copy Editing and Proofreading - Publishing Training Centre

Awards

  • Bookseller Rising Star

Work experience

Senior Commissioning Editor

Canelo
November, 2017 – October, 2019 (almost 2 years)

Editorial Production Manager

Bloomsbury Reader
May, 2015 – November, 2017 (over 2 years)

Editor and Co-founder

Holdfast Magazine
June, 2013 – May, 2015 (almost 2 years)

Editorial Assistant

Bloomsbury Reader
June, 2012 – May, 2015 (almost 3 years)

Portfolio (17 selected works)

One Day All This Will Be Yours

Tchaikovsky, Adrian

Athena's Champion (Olympus Series Book 1)

David Hair, Cath Mayo

A prophecy condemns him, a goddess binds him, but what will set Odysseus free? A thrilling tale of a legendary Greek adventure, perfect for fans of Madeline Miller and David Gemmell.Young Prince Odysseus is about to have his world torn apart. He has travelled to the oracle at Pytho to be anointed as heir to his island kingdom, but instead a terrible secret is revealed, one that tears down ever... read more

A prophecy condemns him, a goddess binds him, but what will set Odysseus free? A thrilling tale of a legendary Greek adventure, perfect for fans of Madeline Miller and David Gemmell.Young Prince Odysseus is about to have his world torn apart. He has travelled to the oracle at Pytho to be anointed as heir to his island kingdom, but instead a terrible secret is revealed, one that tears down ever... read more

Oracle's War (Olympus Series Book 2)

David Hair, Cath Mayo

Gods and mortals collide in the thrilling second instalment in the historical Greek fantasy the Olympus Series.When Prince Odysseus is sent on a quest to recover his family honour, he’s led to Delos where a mysterious new prophecy has captivated the gods. Caught in a tangled web of intrigue, he discovers that this prophecy is tied to his own destiny and the fate of his patron goddess, Athena.W... read more

Gods and mortals collide in the thrilling second instalment in the historical Greek fantasy the Olympus Series.When Prince Odysseus is sent on a quest to recover his family honour, he’s led to Delos where a mysterious new prophecy has captivated the gods. Caught in a tangled web of intrigue, he discovers that this prophecy is tied to his own destiny and the fate of his patron goddess, Athena.W... read more

A Matter of Oaths

Helen S. Wright

'A compelling, mind-bending future that's finally come home to the present' – Becky Chambers, author of The Long Way to a Small, Angry PlanetWhen Commander Rallya of the patrol ship Bhattya hires Rafe as their new Web officer, she knows she is taking a risk. As an oath breaker, Rafe has suffered the ultimate punishment – identity wipe – but luckily for him, there's no one else around qualified... read more

'A compelling, mind-bending future that's finally come home to the present' – Becky Chambers, author of The Long Way to a Small, Angry PlanetWhen Commander Rallya of the patrol ship Bhattya hires Rafe as their new Web officer, she knows she is taking a risk. As an oath breaker, Rafe has suffered the ultimate punishment – identity wipe – but luckily for him, there's no one else around qualified... read more

The End of the Line: A powerfully dark and chilling thriller

Gray Williams

A race against time on a perilous journey through Siberia with a murderous demon, in this gritty fast-paced horror thriller.Con-artist Amanda Coleman lives in a London rife with undercover magic. Abras, as they are known, can harness these illegal powers, but for Coleman – whose father was a powerful and abusive practitioner – magic is anathema.When her criminal crew hire an Abra to help with ... read more

A race against time on a perilous journey through Siberia with a murderous demon, in this gritty fast-paced horror thriller.Con-artist Amanda Coleman lives in a London rife with undercover magic. Abras, as they are known, can harness these illegal powers, but for Coleman – whose father was a powerful and abusive practitioner – magic is anathema.When her criminal crew hire an Abra to help with ... read more

Watchmen Of Rome (Carbo of Rome Book 1)

Alex Gough

After twenty-five long years serving in the Roman Legions, Carbo returns to Rome to retire in peace. Life has moved on in the time he’s been at the front, and he finds himself friendless and homeless.But when he comes across Rufa, a childhood friend he swore an oath to protect, he must fight to rescue her from an evil priestess, liberate her from slavery and save Rome from total annihilation. ... read more

After twenty-five long years serving in the Roman Legions, Carbo returns to Rome to retire in peace. Life has moved on in the time he’s been at the front, and he finds himself friendless and homeless.But when he comes across Rufa, a childhood friend he swore an oath to protect, he must fight to rescue her from an evil priestess, liberate her from slavery and save Rome from total annihilation. ... read more

Kemp: The Road to Crécy (Arrows of Albion Book 1)

Jonathan Lunn

An epic Medieval adventure of the Hundred Years WarWhen Martin Kemp joins the English army in order to avoid the hangman, he may just be delaying the inevitable. While he remains hopeful that at least there’s the chance for some heroics, the reality is very different. Kemp's war is instead a terrifying odyssey through the panic and confusion of his first battle, the brutal realities of siege w... read more

An epic Medieval adventure of the Hundred Years WarWhen Martin Kemp joins the English army in order to avoid the hangman, he may just be delaying the inevitable. While he remains hopeful that at least there’s the chance for some heroics, the reality is very different. Kemp's war is instead a terrifying odyssey through the panic and confusion of his first battle, the brutal realities of siege w... read more

The Soul Thief: An epic Viking historical adventure (Life and Times of Corban Loosestrife Book 1)

Cecelia Holland

A devastating Viking raid leads Corban on an epic quest – the first in an extraordinary adventure series.Corban and Mav are twins born to the lord of an Irish coastal farmstead. Mav has the Second Sight, and is her father's favourite; Corban, however, is a deep disappointment. Exiled for refusing his father's command to take up his sword in the name of the High King, he is long gone when the d... read more

A devastating Viking raid leads Corban on an epic quest – the first in an extraordinary adventure series.Corban and Mav are twins born to the lord of an Irish coastal farmstead. Mav has the Second Sight, and is her father's favourite; Corban, however, is a deep disappointment. Exiled for refusing his father's command to take up his sword in the name of the High King, he is long gone when the d... read more

A Vision of Light

Judith Merkle Riley

A village girl receives a divine vision that will lead her into the chambers of the English Inquisition...Young, wealthy and twice married, Margaret has a modest enough ambition: she wishes to write a book. But this is 1355, and the notion of a woman wanting to record her experiences and thoughts is not just arrogant, it’s possibly heretical.Three clerics contemptuously decline to be Margaret’... read more

A village girl receives a divine vision that will lead her into the chambers of the English Inquisition...Young, wealthy and twice married, Margaret has a modest enough ambition: she wishes to write a book. But this is 1355, and the notion of a woman wanting to record her experiences and thoughts is not just arrogant, it’s possibly heretical.Three clerics contemptuously decline to be Margaret’... read more

Laurel has 42 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Nicola Thomson
Laurel did a developmental edit for me. she was very thorough and went pleasantly over and above the amount of effort that I expected. This was the first novel I had tried to write and she certainly gave me some home truths. She did this in a very constructive way and I am so pleased that I had collaborated specifically with her. I would highly recommend Laurel and would definately like to ...
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Nicola Thomson, March 2022


Andrew Sweet
Working with Laurel was a breeze. The feedback was clear and actionable, and the additional stylesheet provided is absolutely useful and makes me think I may have to adopt a similar strategy for future novels. I couldn't have asked for a better experience and will definitely be reaching out again in the future!

Andrew Sweet, February 2022


Spyra Chal
Laurel did developmental editing to my sci-fi draft, and this is the first time I am hiring an editor. Since I've never received professional feedback, I expected it would be a scary process, but it was the opposite. Her feedback was so on point on my strengths and weaknesses, and she spotted many things I missed or didn't realise I was doing well. I highly recommend Laurel. Her good nature an...
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Spyra Chal, February 2022


Eric Fullilove
I would love to continue to collaborate with Laurel as I found the work very thorough and thought provoking.

Eric Fullilove, January 2022


Bridget Perrett
Lauren has been great to work with. She made such a detailed analysis for me and has really helped me to see my work through better eyes. All her comments have not only made sense in regards to editing, helping me to understand what I can do to get the best out of my work.

Bridget Perrett, October 2021

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