Sue Poulsen

Sue Poulsen – Editor

Professional editor with 20+ years' experience of working with top authors, e.g. Lee Child, Val McDermid, Sophie Kinsella. Plus nonfiction.


I would love to help you improve your book. I've worked for a major international publishing firm for many decades, editing works from well over a thousand debut and bestselling authors from the USA, the UK and Australia—most of them household names, e.g. Dan Brown, Lee Child, David Baldacci, Wilbur Smith, Harlan Coben, Robert Crais, Susan Hill, Michelle Paver, Joanna Trollope, C.J. Sansom . . . I have interviewed many of them about their inspiration and techniques. This has given me rare insight into what makes a bestseller and, more importantly, an irresistible read.

For a 10-year period I also edited a nonfiction series, selecting the best UK memoirs and narrative nonfiction of all kinds. Subject matter ranged from true crime, history and science (including nature) to space travel, fashion and more. If. you have the facts, or the idea, but are struggling to weave into a compelling narrative, I can help. I love working as a book coach, chatting through possible improvements to a narrative, to really make it 'sing'.

A couple of years ago I studied Creative Writing at Oxford's Centre for Continuing Education and I am currently producing a first novel, so I understand what it's like to be at the coal face as a fledgling writer. I have many helpful techniques for improving characterisation, scene-setting, suspense, pacing and more.

I sum, I enjoy Coaching, Developmental Editing, Editorial Assessments, Structural Editing and Line-Editing (as described on Reedsy). I have also trained in copy editing and naturally apply a degree of that skill to any edit I work on.

Action & Adventure Mystery & Crime Romance Thriller & Suspense
Biographies & Memoirs Travel True Crime
English (UK)

Work experience


Jan, 2015 — Present

I offer coaching and editing services for new and established authors: everything from help with fine-tuning prose style and correcting grammar, to restructuring, or re-casting a theme. I can also help with memoir creation and narrative nonfiction, offering group or solo tuition.

Reader's Digest UK Ltd (now part of TMBI Inc)

Jan, 1991 — Nov, 2014 (almost 24 years)

For over 25 years, I have selected and edited the very best commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction from the UK publishing market. From thousands of titles destined for trade publication, I choose winners—thrillers and mysteries, detective fiction, family dramas and romances—for inclusion in Reader's Digest's hugely successful, international book series, targeted at a mass-market audience (see below for a sample). I also undertook condensation of the cream of the crop and prepared them for publication. Many authors gave glowing feedback, declaring they could not see what had been removed from the text!
I spotted Lee Child's talent before he became a superstar and saw the commercial potential of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown months before it entered the UK bestseller charts.
By interviewing these great storytellers, I gained rare insight into how they achieve impact, generate suspense, build sympathy for characters, and devise satisfactory endings.


'An exceptional historical crime novel' C.J. Sansom'A thought-provoking rollercoaster' Ian Rankin **SELECTED AS ONE OF WATERSTONES' BEST CRIME BOOKS OF 2017****WINNER OF THE CWA ENDEAVOUR HISTORICAL DAGGER 2017****SHORTLISTED FOR THE THEAKSTONS OLD PECULIER CR... read more
Former Director of MI5 Stella Rimington brings the high-stakes world of intelligence to life in AT RISK – the first novel in her bestselling series featuring MI5 Intelligence Officer Liz Carlyle.For MI5 officer Liz Carlyle, the nagging complications of her pri... read more
'Horowitz has captured Holmes Heaven' (THE TIMES) - THE HOUSE OF SILK was the first official new Sherlock Holmes mystery and a SUNDAY TIMES bestseller.THE GAME'S AFOOT . . .It is November 1890 and London is gripped by a merciless winter., Sherlock Holmes and D... read more
Losing You

Nicci French

Nina Landry has given up city life for the isolated community of Sandling Island. For Nina it is home. But when her teenage daughter fails to return from a sleepover, the island becomes a different place altogether - a place of secrets and suspicions where no ... read more
The Help

Kathryn Stockett

The Help is the phenomenal international bestseller (that inspired the Oscar nominated film) by Kathryn Stockett.Enter a vanished and unjust world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren't trusted not to steal the silver .... read more
Meet Alex Hoffmann: among the secretive inner circle of the ultra-rich, he is something of a legend. Based in Geneva, he has developed a revolutionary system that has the power to manipulate financial markets. Generating billions of dollars, it is a system tha... read more
Customer satisfaction is my top priority. Used book in good condition.
OVER TEN MILLION COPIES SOLDThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger's Syndrome., He knows a very great deal about math... read more
Featuring Jack Reacher, hero of the blockbuster movie starring Tom Cruise. For Jack Reacher being invisible has become a habit. He spends his days digging swimming pools by hand and his nights as the bouncer in the local strip club in the Florida Keys., He doe... read more
A riveting psychological thriller, now a major ITV drama, from the Number One bestselling Queen of crime fiction Val McDermid.In the Peak District village of Scarsdale, thirteen-year-old girls didn’t just run away. So when Alison Carter vanished in the winter ... read more
Six Years

Harlan Coben

Sycamore Row

John Grisham

In the long-awaited successor to the novel that launched his phenomenal career, John Grisham brings us the powerful sequel to A Time to Kill. As filled with page-turning twists as it is with legal mastery, Sycamore Row proves beyond doubt that John Grisham is ... read more

Sue has 23 reviews





Jo G.

Jo G.

May, 2023

Sue was an absolute joy to work with. Her review was clear, concise and constructive. It's very easy as a writer to get disillusioned when you see your work covered in red pen! but Sue's feedback was so accurate and encouraging that it has given me the confidence to make the changes suggested and carry on. I will absolutely work with Sue again if she'll have me.
Sue P.
Thank you so much, Jo! You'll be very welcome back any time. Good luck with the writing, meanwhile.
Johnathan W.

Johnathan W.

May, 2022

Sue is a great communicator and very responsive. Her detailed comments and insightful feedback have given me a lot to think about and I have no doubt my book (both story and writing) will be much improved for her input. Many thanks Sue.
Damian M.

Damian M.

May, 2022

Sue was really open to communicate and I found the detailed feedback she gave on my manuscript invaluable. She was willing to get into the details and the background behind the decisions I'd made, a willingness which enabled her to really see inside my story and help me to get the best out of it.
David S.

David S.

Oct, 2021

Sue is a consummate professional. She has an eagle eye for detail and delivers insightful suggestions with clarity and compassion. I have truly enjoyed working with her and fully recommend her services. I feel that with Sue's guidance my book has gained a new level of polish and continuity. Thank you Sue!
Chad S.

Chad S.

Jul, 2021

Sue was very prompt in every response and a great communicator. She did a very thorough review and edit that surely will help sharpen every aspect of my manuscript. Many thanks!!!

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