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.

If you’d like to join our community of experts, please contact


jenny geras

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.



david daley


David has over 22 years of legal experience in the UK publishing industry, working firstly at HarperCollins and now 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.


philippa donovan


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.



valeria raimondi


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. 



ricardo fayet


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.



wendy yorke

Author, Editor and Book writing Coach, helping you to make your manuscript the best it can be before you engage a professional editor.

Wendy Yorke is an Author, Editor and Book Coach who helps first time authors in particular, through the stages of: Write; Edit; Publish, ensuring they achieve their goals at each step of the process. She published her first book in 2013, with Adlard Coles Nautical, part of the Bloomsbury Publishing Group and is currently writing two further books. 

Her session will focus on the following two key cornerstones of an effective writing process for both fictional and non-fictional books:

1. Building your book structure; and

2. Self-editing top tips for authors. 

More book writing and editing tips can be found in her blogs and on her website at


ian mason


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.



Matthew Smith

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 to find out more.

Feel free to have a natter with Matthew

Twitter: @urbanepub


Sarah Taylor

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

Email: /

Twitter: @matadorbooks


Andrew Lowe

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.

Twitter: @andylowe99


Ali Dewji

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 or visit 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.

Twitter: @iamselfpub


Jem Butcher

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.

Twitter: @jemmoviebook



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. 

Twitter: @sarahsmilesxxx /