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How To Edit Your Book

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27th January 2018 - 9:30am to 2:30pm


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Learn how to become a more objective reader of your work with a day of advice and practical exercises from professional editors in the publishing industry. You will receive help and guidance on how best to approach the editing process, and develop the tools you need to make your work the best it can possibly be ahead of submission to an editor, literary agent or publisher. Along with an invaluable one-to-one session with an editor of your choice, find out how to take your editing to the next level. 


9.30-10.00 Morning refreshments and a chance to meet fellow members of the group you will be attending the morning sessions with.

10.00-11.25 Session One: Avoiding Common Pitfalls 

Find out about the common pitfalls an editor frequently encounters when approaching a manuscript, and how these can be avoided. You will work on practical exercises demonstrating these common pitfalls.

11.30-12.30 Session Two: Becoming An Editor

Learn how to become a reader of your own work rather than its writer, with an opportunity to live edit. 

You will work on a sample text to see what changes you would make, which will then be discussed with the group. Editing isn't an exact science, so we will discuss what editorial choices authors can make and why-and how these impact on the readers. 

12.30-1.00 Both groups will come together for an open networking session with lunch included.

1.00-2.30 A 10-minute one-to-one session with one of the editors in which you will have the opportunity to discuss the extract of your work that you sent in advance of the event.

About Your Extract

Prior to the event you will receive an email from the W&A Team offering you the opportunity to send across a section of your work to be assessed by one of the editors present on the day. This must be a Word or PDF file, contain no more than 2,000 words, appear in 12pt font and be double spaced. 

Editor Profiles

Francine Toon is a commissioning editor at Sceptre and publishes literary fiction and non-fiction, including the authors Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Jess Richards and Kopano Matlwa. She has worked on a range of different authors during her time at Hodder & Stoughton in the editorial and marketing departments including Stephen King, John le Carré, and E.M. Forster. She isa published poet whose work has appeared in The Sunday Times and Best British Poetry Anthologies and is is particularly interested in writers from a poetry or short story writing background. You can find her on Twitter @FrancineElena.

Jennifer Kerslake is Editor at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, part of the Orion Publishing Group. She works on literary and reading group fiction, and narrative non-fiction, and is responsible for the W&N backlist.

Cressida Downing has worked in bookselling and publishing for over twenty years. She started at Waterstones in Hampstead, working in the children’s book department for a year before going to Sussex University to read English Literature (a surprisingly vocational degree!). After graduation, she worked at Dillons Booksellers in a variety of Central London locations, mainly in charge of the fiction section and was one of the inaugural bookseller judges for their First Fiction Award. Moving into publishing, she worked at Penguin Books and then Piatkus Books.

As a freelance editorial consultant for the last fifteen years, she has worked with a variety of publishers and literary agents on both fiction and non-fiction titles, as well as directly with authors. She runs workshops and gives lectures on editing and submission, attending conferences such as the Felixstowe Book Festival, Eroticon and the Self Publishing Conference. She reads a wide variety of books from crime to sci-fi to fantasy to chic-lit to literary fiction. In non-fiction, her tastes are broad, covering pretty much anything that would be interesting for the lay reader. As the mother of two children, she has rediscovered modern children and teen literature. Her house is brimming with books, but she also loves her Kindle and embraces Twitter as a way of chatting to authors she admires.

Sara Starbuck has spent over twenty years working in UK trade book publishing. She has had experience as a commissioning editor, desk editor and development editor, and also as an author's agent. She currently works as a freelance book editor, proofreader and writer, specialising in fiction, YA and children's books. Sara is the author of eight published works so far, including the non-fiction memoir Breakfast Epiphanies (Atlantic Books, 2006); the children's adventure novels, The Dread Pirate Fleur and the Ruby Heart (Random House, 2009) and it's sequel, The Dread Pirate Fleur and The Hangman's Noose (Random House, 2010); The Fairythorn Tales series under the pseudonym, Lara Faraway; and most recently two non-fiction books for children, Lions (Hachette Publishing Group/Born Free Foundation, 2015) and Leopards (Hachette Publishing Group/Born Free Foundation 2016).

Sara is passionate about storytelling and working with writers. She has a keen eye for a good story and the ability to hone it. 

Event Details

The event will be held at Bloomsbury Publishing, 50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP. Doors will open at 09:30, with drinks provided upon arrival.

Please send the 2,000 word extract you wish to discuss in your one-to-one session to


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