Meet the experts
The Author School is lucky enough to have amassed a huge number of supporters and contacts from within the publishing world – not just in the UK but all over the globe! From Sir Richard Branson, in the form of the fabulous Virgin StartUps funding, to publishers, literary agents, cover designers, illustrators, bloggers, journalists and reviewers, we’re keen to connect authors to the right people to help them make the best decisions for them.
Throughout our classes we’ll be introducing a number of experts to increase your contacts list, share the knowledge and ensure that students of The Author School get plenty of real-life publishing experience and know-how. All of our experts have presented at one of our full day of classes.
FILM AND TV production manager
Toyin Ayinde is a freelancer who works in the film industry. She has worked with high-profile actors, directors and writers on a range of productions – both small and large. Past projects include BAFTA events, BFI's London Film Festival and film productions including Mission Impossible 6.
Dominic Selwood is the Amazon bestselling author of The Sword of Moses, the first in a trilogy of crypto-thrillers featuring Ava Curzon, an MI6 officer turned archaeologist. First self-published, Dominic is now represented by a leading literary agent and has experience of both traditionally and self-publishing. He also writes about history for newspapers and magazines including the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, where his pieces often debunk historical myths. Many of his most recent articles are published in Spies, Sadists and Sorcerers: The History you Weren’t Taught in School. He speaks regularly about historical subjects on television and radio. His latest book, Punctuation Without Tears, went to number one in the charts in July 2018
ELLA DIAMOND KahN
LITERARY AGENT AND CO-FOUNDER OF DKW LITERARY AGENCY
Prior to co-launching DKW in 2012, Ella worked at Andrew Nurnberg Associates as an Assistant Literary Agent for three years. She loves the creative side of collaborating with authors, pitching exciting projects and handling negotiations. Ella represents upmarket contemporary and historical fiction, science fiction, and some non-fiction. She also represents a wide range of children’s fiction for the 9-12 and YA age groups. She is passionate about finding and championing new voices, including those traditionally under-represented in publishing.
She has an MA in Publishing from University College London and a BA in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic from the University of Cambridge. She was Chair of the Society of Young Publishers in 2011, and has also volunteered as the SYP’s Events Officer and Treasurer. She became a Freeman of the Stationers’ Company in 2012. Ella was included in The Bookseller’s list of Rising Stars in 2013, and was a winner of the London Book Fair Trailblazer Awards 2016 and the Young Stationers’ Prize 2016.
Siobhan Curham is an award-winning author of 25 books for children, adults and young adults. She also works as a writing coach and motivational speaker. Her new YA novel Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow, published by Walker Books, is out now. Her next book for adults, Something More ... a Spiritual Misfit's Search for Meaning is being published by Piatkus in February 2019.
Siobhan has written for many newspapers, magazines and websites, including The Guardian, Cosmopolitan, Writers' Forum, DatingAdvice.com, Mother and Baby, Practical Parenting and Take a Break. She has also been a guest on various radio and TV shows, including Woman's Hour, BBC News, GMTV and BBC Breakfast.
Siobhan has spoken at businesses, schools, universities and literary festivals around the world, including the BBC, Hay Festival, Cheltenham Festival, Bath Festival, Ilkley Festival, YALC, YA Shot, London Book Fair and Sharjah Reading Festival.
CO-FOUNDER OF KNIGHTS OF
Aimée Felone is co-founder of newly launched Knights Of – a commercial children’s publisher whose main focus is hiring diversely and commissioning writers and illustrators from a diverse range of backgrounds.
She has was previously Assistant Editor at Scholastic Children’s Books and has interned at Eve White Literary Agency and David Higham Associates. She has always been a supportive and engaged voice within the industry and has worked tirelessly promote inclusivity and diversity within the Industry. Aimée is a regular festival and panel speaker and has worked with Byte the Book, FutureBook, A Place at the Table, LSE Library, Bologna Children’s Book Fair and London Book Fair.
Phoebe Morgan is an author, senior commissioning editor at HarperCollins and co-founder of SYP London. She studied English at Leeds University after growing up in the Suffolk countryside. She has previously worked as a journalist and now edits crime and women’s fiction for a publishing house during the day, and writes her own books in the evenings. She lives in London and you can follow her on Twitter @Phoebe_A_Morgan, or find her blog about publishing and writing at phoebemorganauthor.com. Her debut novel, The Doll House, became a #1 iBooks bestseller in 2017 and spent over 8 weeks in the Kindle top 100. Her second book, The Girl Next Door, will be out in paperback and ebook in April 2019, followed by a third in 2020.
author and tv chef
Theo Michaels is best known as a chef but he’s also an author…of cookery books. Theo’s career kicked off when he got to the semi-finals of BBC stalwart Masterchef back in 2014. Since then, he’s been a regular face on TV cooking up a storm wherever he goes. Most recently, you’ll have seen him creating delicious dinners in minutes on This Morning. Theo was commissioned to write his first book back in 2015 by Lorenz Books. Microwave Mug Meals was published in October 2016 and led to a flurry of media coverage reaching more than 2.5 billion people. Theo and his first book were featured on ITV and in the Daily Mail, MSN, Daily Mirror, The Sun, The Independent, The Huffington Post, Evening Standard, Metro, BBC, UTV Ireland, Look Magazine, Best Magazine, Vegetarian Living, Exclusive, Daily Express, Reveal and many more! The success of his first book prompted a second commission by Lorenz Books (Microwave Mug Soups came out at the end of last year) and he was signed by a literary agent who represented him at the London Book Fair, in the Middle East and in the Frankfurt Book Fair. He has since signed a deal (more details to follow!) with a major cookbook publisher and his new book will be out in spring 2019
children's author platform
Pendragons is a platform for new and aspiring children’s authors and illustrators that can help you build your fan base and readership, even without a publisher or an agent. Founded by Lisa O' Connor, Pendragons can take your work directly to schools and the children in them; giving them access to you as a creative, your work and a scoring system with feedback facilities to tell you exactly what they think. This is what the agents and publishers of the world want to know. Would they buy your book?
You can build relationships with your readers and increase your fan base, keeping readers interested and engaged in you and your work. You may even be invited to online and real world workshops with your readers to give ‘behind the scenes tours’ of your work; your processes and practices as a creative and insights in to your characters. Pendragons will link popular work with the curriculum and bring it to life in schools.
Head of Media at Blake Friedmann Literary Agency
Conrad has represented numerous leading scriptwriters, directors, playwrights, chefs and production companies over the years, and been involved as a deal-maker and middleman in most aspects of the audio-visual business. Particularly active in the book-to-film/TV field his ‘credits’ go back to the original House of Cards, which he sold to the BBC in 1989. Recent productions of client’s work include Stuart Urban’s BAFTA-nominated The Secret, Roger Spottiswoode’s box office hit A Streetcat Named Bob, the Jack Taylor series starring Iain Glenn (all adaptations) and the movie Unless based on Carole Shields’ novel. Recent book-into-film projects include deals for Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fires, The Husband Hunters by Anne de Courcy, Fever by Deon Meyer, What We Did by Christobel Kent, and Summary Justice by Jack Finch. Forthcoming productions in 2018 include an 8-part adaptation of Sarah Lotz The Three for the BBC, and Beecham House created by Shah Husain, an original six part series set in 1820s India for ITV to be directed by Gurinder Chadha
Gillian McAllister has been writing for as long as she can remember. She graduated with an English degree and lives in Birmingham where she now works as a lawyer. Her debut novel, Everything But The Truth , was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller
children's director of the stoke newington literary festival
Kate Manning celebrates 20 years in the children's book world next month. Starting at Waterstones she then moved into publishing, working at Random House and Pan MacMillan, before becoming Children's Sales Director at Simon and Schuster and then at HarperCollins. She held the post of Sales and Marketing Director at Hot Key Books and was part of the team that set up and launched the imprint.
Two years ago she moved into magazine publishing, working at The Phoenix comic and is now the Sales and Marketing Director of Scoop, a magazine about different forms of storytelling for 8+, which launched in September 2016.
In her spare time, Manning is the Children's Director of the Stoke Newington Literary Festival. Stylist Magazine named the Stoke Newington Literary Festival one of the top 3 lit festivals in the UK!
treehouse digital ltd
film, tv, animation and vx production company
Treehouse Digital is an award winning production company specialising in high concept family entertainment. Founded by childhood friends, we are a 'Story Laboratory' that nurtures original ideas through each stage of production via our writer's room, VFX studio, editorial and sound facilities in Bournemouth. From web videos to TV and film the driving force behind every production is awesome narrative. The Treehouse is a place of creativity and play where we strive to find solutions to any obstacle using 'old tricks with new tools’. We are passionate about telling stories across all platforms and in any format.
literary agent at darley anderson literary agency
Clare joined the Darley Anderson Agency in January 2011. Clare is currently building the children’s list and is scouting for new authors of picture books, middle grade, teenage, YA and illustrators. Clare also represents a boutique list of commercial and accessible literary women’s fiction.
At the Agency Clare represents authors both in the UK and the US including Vanessa Altin, Rosie Blake, Sophie Cousens, Caroline Crowe, Kerry Fisher, Martyn Ford, Stewart Foster, Helen Grant, Olivia Hope, Polly Ho-Yen, K L Slater, Olivia Levez, Cesca Major, Gillian McAllister, Phaedra Patrick, Beth Reekles, Dave Rudden and Kim Slater and illustrators Claire Powell, Lorna Scobie and Natalie Smillie.
Graduating with a first from a BA in Creative Writing and Cultural Studies at Bath Spa University, Clare went on to gain a distinction on the MA in Creative Writing. She has proof-listened to hundreds of adults and children’s audio books and worked as a research assistant at Cardiff University and a coach to international students.
Ross Armstrong is an actor and writer based in North London. He studied English Literature at Warwick University and acting at RADA. He has performed on stage in the UK with the RSC in shows including Oppenheimer and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and on Broadway in the Donmar Warehouse production of Hamlet. He has also starred in numerous TV shows including Foyles War, Jonathan Creek, Mr Selfridge and DCI Banks, and will be appearing in the new series of Ripper Street. THE WATCHER is his first novel. It will be published by HQ in the UK and in Germany, France, Italy and Spain in 2017.
Patrice Lawrence was born in Brighton, raised in Haywards Heath and migrated to London in the mid-90s. She has had a number of jobs including cleaning the wards of a psychiatric hospital and handing out condoms in young people's sexual health clinics. Her debut YA novel, Orangeboy (Hodder Children's, 2016), has been nominated for a number of awards, shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award and won the Waterstones Children's Book Award for Older Fiction. Her second novel, Indigo Donut, will be published in July, 2017. Patrice is Programme Manager for Spread The Word, London's regional writer development agency.
Katherine Webber is the author of Wing Jones published by Walker Books. She is also the co-author of the upcoming illustrated series Sam Wu Is Not Afraid, for readers 6+. Katherine was born in Southern California but has lived in Atlanta, Hawaii, Hong Kong and is currently based in London. For several years she worked at the reading charity BookTrust, where she worked on projects such as The Letterbox Club which delivers parcels of books to children in care, and YALC, the Young Adult Literature Convention.
EDITOR AND FOUNDER OF SPECKLED PEN
Named a Rising Star of 2017 by The Bookseller, Karen Ball has over 25 years' experience of the publishing industry and expertise in Intellectual Property. Her career includes periods as Head of Editorial at Working Partners and Publisher at Little, Brown Books For Young Readers. She has commissioned some of the bestselling series of the past 15 years – from Beast Quest to Frankie’s Magic Football.
In September 2016 she launched Speckled Pen, a creative consultancy aimed at helping content generators develop publisher-facing projects. She has worked with publishers, licence owners, authors and agents. Karen has authored over 20 books, writes one of the UK’s leading sewing blogs at Did You Make That and has contributed to The Guardian. Together with three industry friends, she organises the Book Bound writers’ retreat, aimed at children’s and YA authors.
Karen lives in Walthamstow with her miniature schnauzer, Ella.
publishing director at bookouture
Jenny was the Publishing Director of Arrow, the commercial paperback list of the Cornerstone division at Penguin Random House, for the last four years. Her authors included Dorothy Koomson, Donna Douglas, Emma Kavanagh, Douglas Kennedy and Donna Douglas. Prior to working at Penguin Random House, Jenny ran the commercial women's fiction list at Pan Macmillan for five years.
MEDIA /BUSINESS CONSULTANT (SOLICITOR) & former IN-HOUSE LAWYER AT BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING
David has over 22 years of legal experience in the UK publishing industry, working firstly at HarperCollins and then Bloomsbury. He has undertaken freelance consultancy work for Hayhouse, Constable & Robinson and Little Tiger Press. David's areas of expertise include media and commercial contracts (including author contracts), copyright and trade mark laws, brand protection, licensing, defamation and privacy law. During his time in publishing, David had to opportunity to work first hand with the right owners of global publishing properties, including JK Rowling/Pottermore, Agatha Christie Estate, Enid Blyton Estate, C S Lewis Estate and the Tolkien Estate.
David is also a published author, so he understands the publishing process from both sides of the fence.
FOUNDER OF SMART QUILL
The editor, Philippa Donovan, established Smart Quill in 2011. Since then she has worked with around 300 authors and recommends to a stable of 50 literary agents based in the UK, Australia, and the US. In 2014 she was named Publishing Rising Star and is Editorial Consultant for the Authors' Club at Soho House West Hollywood.
Philippa's recent move to LA will herald great opportunities for authors; connecting up selected manuscripts with literary agents, film and tv producers via an online platform, The Smart Quill Boutique.
Previously Philippa commissioned children's and YA fiction for a major UK publishing house, and managed authors of literary and commercial fiction and non-fiction as a literary scout (for Random House) and a literary agency (A P Watt - now United Agents). She has a vast network of worldwide contacts, and offers personalised editorial advice to writers of any genre. The aim is to enable a direct conversation between editor and author, enhancing text, and improving traditional or digital publication prospects.
CO-FOUNDER AND LITERARY AGENT AT RAIMONDI AND CAMPBELL LITERARY AGENCY
Valeria is a literary agent and the co-founder of Raimondi & Campbell Literary Agency, a literary and content management agency with offices in London and Milan. They represent an exciting and varied list of international writers, across all genres, in all media and languages throughout the world.
Valeria has been commissioning editor of the children list in Feltrinelli since its start-up, and later has worked as publisher for De Agostini, a major multinational company.
CO-FOUNDER OF REEDSY.COM
Ricardo is the co-founder of Reedsy, an online marketplace connecting authors with the best editor;, design, marketing and translation talent. A technology and startup enthusiast, he likes to imagine how small players will build the future of publishing. He also blogs about publishing and book marketing on the Reedsy blog.
Every professional on Reedsy has worked for a traditional publishing house and specialises in specific genres.
FOUNDER OF ECHO BOOKS AND INSTRUMENTAL IN CREATING VIRGIN START UP
Ian is an economist, author and entrepreneur. He is the founder of an education company providing physical and digital learning resources to schools across the UK and globally.
Ian was instrumental in the creation and development of Virgin Start Up, Sir Richard Branson's not-for-profit company for entrepreneurs.
More recently, Ian was appointed Leader of the UK's delegation to the Y20 Summit, thus representing the views of young people in the UK to the G20 Leaders at their annual summit and has subsequently founded the Future Leaders Network, an organisation that seeks and develops the business, academic and political leaders of the future.
Ian is passionate about supporting first time authors and set up Echo Books - a tool to help first time authors self-publish
literary agent AND DIRECTOR at the madeleine milburn literary agency
Madeleine formed the agency at the beginning of 2012 and it has quickly become one of the top literary agencies in the UK. Madeleine represents a wide range of bestselling authors writing literary and popular fiction including crime and thrillers, psychological suspense, literary, upmarket women's fiction, comedy, romance, high-concept, children's, Young Adult and crossover fiction. She represents author based all round the world and has a reputation for launching writing careers internationally.
Madeleine is looking for upmarket fiction, crime and thrillers, psychological suspense, accessible literary fiction and non-fiction, as well as children's and YA. Whether it's fiction or non-fiction, she's looking for a strong, unique voice and stylish, distinctive writing.
Director & Founder OF Urbane Publications
Matthew is the founder and director of Urbane Publications Limited. Urbane was born out of a fascination with the value of content, and a belief in the strength of collaboration. The company combines the skills and experience of a traditional publishing company with a thirst for pioneering, innovative solutions in order to produce the most effective and commercially successful content.
Every project is driven by the three core principles of Care, Content and Collaboration, with the emphasis on developing a strategic partnership with the author/producer to create the most valuable content possible. Visit http://urbanepublications.com to find out more.
Feel free to have a natter with Matthew
Group Marketing Manager – Troubador Publishing
Sarah Taylor is the Group Marketing Manager at Troubador Publishing, where she has worked for over five years. Sarah works on books published by Troubador’s academic imprints, the high-quality self-publishing imprint Matador, and titles produced by The Book Guild, which was recently taken over by Troubador. She is also the Editor of The Self Publishing Magazine. Sarah studied at English and Journalism at De Montfort University, Leicester, and has over seven years of publishing experience. She works with self-publishing authors daily to help them market their books and has given numerous speeches at industry events on a variety of self-publishing topics.
Troubador is an independent UK-based trade and academic publisher, which also offers authors a high quality self-publishing service through the widely recommended Matador imprint. Our commercial lists include Italian Studies, Fiction in Translation, General Non-Fiction and Social Justice.
Matador is a high quality self-publishing service for authors who want to see their books published well and see them having a real chance of selling in a busy market. From print on demand, short run digital printing through to longer litho print runs, Matador offers honest advice and a top quality service to authors. Matador is the UK's most widely recommended self-publishing services company: recommended by writers' organisations, PR agencies and many successfully self-published authors.
The Book Guild is an independent partnership and commercial publisher that publishes about 100 titles a year. It offers an eclectic list of titles; novels and stories to enchant both adults and children, vivid memoirs and timely books of current affairs.
Phone: 0116 279 2299
Editor, Author & Partner Manager/Watchdog for the Alliance of Independent Authors
Andrew is an experienced magazine journalist recently turned book editor and author-publisher. He’s worked with titles like GQ, Vogue, Total Film and Vanity Fair, and written for The Sunday Times, the Guardian and short-lived humour website Bubblegun.
He offers a variety of editorial services, from structural work through to pre-proof copy-editing. He prefers to work with fiction, but will consider anything that lights up his brain.
He’s also the Partner Manager/Watchdog for the Alliance of Independent Authors, a global association that offers world-class support and advice from the alphas of indie publishing.
His debut novel The Ghost, a psychological thriller, was released in 2015. He’s currently working on a follow-up for 2016.
Director OF I_AM Self-Publishing
With a business management degree and a solid background in sales, advertising and marketing, Ali sees the market from a commercial perspective and now helps authors to see it that way too. He worked at one of the largest magazine publishing companies, EMAP, whilst it underwent the transition from paper to digital, and has taken what he learnt working with big brands and translated that to working with individual authors.
I_AM Self-Publishing produce beautiful books and eBooks for self-publishing authors, and gives them the tools, materials and knowledge they need to market their work successfully. Services include: design, typesetting, editing, proofreading, print-on-demand and short run printing in b&w and full colour, eBook conversion, web design and author branding. The stand-out feature is their author marketing and publicity course, which equips authors with the tools and practical knowledge they need to succeed in the most challenging area of self-publishing today – getting people to buy their work.
Find out more on their website www.iamselfpublishing.com or visit www.iamselfpublishing.com/free-consultation/ to book a free 1-on-1 self-publishing consultation in which you will get: tailored feedback and advice on your title; cover ideas; pricing, distribution, format and printing options; analysis of your USP and potential hooks for marketing/publicity.
Book Cover Designer
After graduating in Graphic Design at Bath College Jem worked at various design consultancies including Fitch RS where he was involved in branding and corporate identity. He moved into book publishing, working for Longman, Dorling Kindersley, Random House, Transworld and Simon & Schuster where he was Art Director for six years.
Jem has been working as a freelance designer since 2008. Working for most of the large publishing houses such as Harper Collins, Random House, Penguin, Orion, and many smaller ones such as Alma, Elliot and Thompson and Severn House. He also takes on work from self published authors.
In addition to his book cover work, he runs Movie-Book, a company that creates animated book covers and book trailer videos.
BLOGGER & book reviewer
Sarah Smiles is a recent Psychology graduate, an internet marketing specialist in an e-commerce agency and she blogs at Sarah Smiles in her spare time. Sarah reads a lot in her spare time and she is pretty much constantly on her mint green Macbook, choosing to spend time being social, catching up on emails and watching her favourite TV shows, The Vampire Diaries and Once Upon A Time! Sarah has a whimsical nature with a love of Disney and fairytales and she is not planning on disbelieving in unicorns anytime soon!
Sarah Smiles was originally born as a nail art specific blog, sharing her nail art creations back in August 2013. Since then, it has expanded rapidly to include a little bit of everything but specifically, beauty and lifestyle. It wouldn't be uncommon for her to be sharing the latest beauty products she has been buying alongside her fitness journey, her favourite books and just some personal thoughts on a topic.