A blue pencil was traditionally used by editors to show corrections to manuscripts as blue didn’t show in most reproduction processes. In the digital world blue pencils are seen more rarely but they still exist as a metaphor for editing.

The idea of collaboration between editor and writer isn’t new. Once it was the job of agents and publishers to nurture new literary talent. But in today’s saturated market you need to arrive with a polished manuscript. An editor is your second pair of eyes. Our job is to encourage, persuade and problem solve. Working with us is making the leap from the fear of criticism to accepting support and establishing a clearer perspective of the market – understanding work as product, not just art.

 

“Writing isn’t just being heard, it’s about forming a relationship with the reader and understanding who that reader is.”

Sara Sarre

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Head Editor & Founder

Sara discovered a talent for editing following her involvement in a number of writers’ workshops. After being asked to read more and more novels she was eventually offered a fee and in 2015 founded bluepencilagency. Prior to this she worked as an Interiors journalist for magazines and newspapers. She has also written short stories that have been published, recorded for radio and shortlisted. Sara studied scriptwriting, completed an MA in creative writing and a novel writing course at Curtis Brown Creative, all of which helped her to understand the fragile psyche of the writer and the workings of the publishing industry. Now she can connect the right novel with the right agent.

“Writing was my first love, editing is my passion”

Emma Haynes

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Consultant

Emma is responsible for BPA’s bespoke programme of literary events and retreats as well as managing the First Novel Award and submissions to literary agents. With a background in communications and special events she has an eye for detail and a desire to give writers the best possible experience in an imaginative programme of events. Her retreats at Asthall Manor, the childhood home of the Mitford sisters have set a new benchmark in literary experiences.  With an up to date knowledge of what literary agents are looking for, Emma offers a reading service and advises writers with a polished manuscript which agents to approach and how best to ensure your work gets read. She also contacts agents on behalf of writers where there is a potential match.

“Being part of a writer’s journey to getting published is an incredible privilege”

J. David Simons

David’s novels include the best-seller An Exquisite Sense of What is Beautiful (2013) and most recently A Woman of Integrity (2017). His work has been short-listed for The McKitterick Prize, he has been awarded several writers’ bursaries from Creative Scotland and The Society of Authors, and is a former recipient of the prestigious Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship. He has many years experience as an editor of both fiction and non-fiction and is currently a mentor for the Scottish Book Trust.

“David Simons was assigned as my editor and his report, completed promptly on time as promised. He showed me why my story hasn’t received agent interest and inspired me to move on.”

Rachel Hubbard

Iain Maloney

Iain is a published author, poet and journalist. He has also worked as an editor for several years for Freight Books. He works in all genres of fiction though contemporary literary fiction and science fiction are his main areas of expertise. Iain has also worked in non fiction editing with an interest in history, science and popular culture. He’s also an experienced copy editor.

“Iain Maloney has reviewed two of my novels and both have been meticulous and hugely helpful. He has guided me and educated me in every aspect of writing a novel.”

Dom Schunker

Saskia Sarginson

Saskia’s best-selling debut novel, The Twins, was a Richard and Judy pick 2013. Her other novels are: Without You, The Other Me, and The Stranger. Her books are published in 20 countries, and were longlisted for the New Angle Prize for Literature, 2015, shortlisted for Best Historical Read, 2015, and shortlisted for the Leserpreis (German) Book Award, 2014. Her new novel, How It Ends, will be out in spring 2019. She’s been a columnist for The Guardian, worked as a script reader, and writes for women’s magazines. She has a BA in English Literature from Cambridge University, and an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway. She discovered a love of editing while doing her MA. “The collaboration between writer and editor is the catalyst that turns a manuscript into a novel.”

“Saskia offered very thorough and thoughtful advice. I found all of her tips and suggestions very helpful. I’m now fired up and ready to tackle the revisions.”

Karen Mckibbin

Lesley McDowell

An author and critic, who has reviewed for The Independent, The Guardian, The TLS and many other publications, Lesley’s novels include The Picnic (2007), Unfashioned Creatures (2013) and The Three Lives of Madeline Smith (date yet to be confirmed). In 2010 she published Between the Sheets: The Literary Liaisons of Nine 20th Century Women Writers. She has a PhD on the work of James Joyce and is the recipient of two arts council writing awards. Her agent is Laura Williams at Peters, Fraser and Dunlop.

“Lesley McDowell reviewed several drafts of my work in progress. Her observations and criticisms were deft, intelligent, clear and entirely apt.”

Tom Allen

Oliver James

Oliver works in publishing as a reader for various literary agents and as a private tutor with an extensive client base. He is an accomplished editor and well regarded mentor. He also writes music and plays in a band. Oliver holds a BA in English from UCL and an MA in Text and Performance from RADA.

“Oliver showed me how to structure a novel. He showed me the vitality of dialogue and how to pick out small observations which bring the story to life.”

Elisabeth Sears

Fiona Mitchell

Fiona Mitchell’s debut novel, The Maid’s Room, was published internationally by Hodder & Stoughton in 2017. It has also been translated into five languages. Her next novel, The Swap, is published in April 2019. Fiona worked as a journalist for more than 20 years, first in news then as a features editor on women’s magazines. Before all that, she read English Literature at the University of Sussex. Fiona judged this year’s Blue Pencil First Novel Award alongside literary agent of the year Madeleine Milburn. She is currently working on her third novel and is represented by literary agent Rowan Lawton, deputy managing director of Furniss Lawton. She is a dedicated and sensitive editor whose interests lie in character-led fiction and upmarket women’s commercial fiction.

“Fiona is an insightful and hardworking editor. I’m truly grateful for her generosity and inspiration.”

Megan Whitley

Frances Merivale

Frances Merivale is a freelance writer and editor with a background in writing reports for UN agencies. Her tastes in fiction are broadly literary and she has a particular interest in character-driven novels. Frances has a flare for language and loves succinct prose and unexpected observations. She loves a good story and has a strong sense of structure, learnt from years spent turning reams of bureaucratic material into real-life stories that are compelling, human and moving. She has experience of editing children’s books and working with international writers. Frances has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck College, and is a graduate from Curtis Brown’s six-month writing programme. She lives in London with her husband, two children and wall-to-wall bookshelves.

“Frances’s report was incisive, supportive and incredibly thorough. I couldn’t believe how well she understood my novel.”

Roberta James

Frances Senn

Frances is currently an English Literature undergraduate student at Durham University and she has been working with blue pencil agency since June 2018. She is our social media coordinator and the writer behind our blog page.

Editorial Services…

A blue pencil was traditionally used by editors to show corrections to manuscripts as blue didn’t show in most reproduction processes. In the digital world blue pencils are seen more rarely but they still exist as a metaphor for editing.

The idea of collaboration between editor and writer isn’t new. Once it was the job of agents and publishers to nurture new literary talent. But in today’s saturated market you need to arrive with a polished manuscript. An editor is your second pair of eyes. Our job is to encourage, persuade and problem solve. Working with us is making the leap from the fear of criticism to accepting support and establishing a clearer perspective of the market – understanding work as product, not just art.

Single-Quotes

“Writing isn’t just being heard, it’s about forming a relationship with the reader and understanding who that reader is.”