The Writers’ Advice Centre Team
The Writers’ Advice Centre for Children’s Books is managed by me, Louise Jordan. I believe that writers like to know who they are working with, so I have deliberately limited my team to just six experienced editors, plus one specialist copy editor.
Managing EditorI was one of the original founders back in 1994 and have been in the children’s publishing industry for over 30 years. Having trained as a journalist, I initially worked for IPC Magazines in their youth sector. I was fiction editor on Oh Boy! Magazine, before leaving to write fiction for magazines and books.
After having children of my own, I studied children’s writing at the City Literary Institute where I was tutored by renowned children’s author Elizabeth Hawkins, and worked alongside prize-winning author and children’s laureate, Malorie Blackman.
Before founding the Advice Centre, I worked as Head Reader for Puffin – a role I only gave up in order to concentrate on the Advice Centre full time. I am a previous columnist for Writers News, Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum and am the author of the best selling title How to Write for Children and Get Published.
In 2015 I launched my own children’s publishing company, Wacky Bee Books, publishing ‘books with a buzz’ for 3 to 12 year olds. The company was specifically launched to pick up some of the more talented writers who come through The Writers’ Advice Centre. However we are now open to unsolicited submissions and are proud of the growing number of titles on our list. This year one of our middle grade titles, Elise and the Second-hand Dog, has been nominated for the 2019 Carnegie Medal.
Handles submissions of longer fiction for older childrenCherith is a bestselling author of more than 50 children’s books. Indeed the only books that sell better than hers in the States, are those of JK Rowling!
Science fiction is Cherith’s main interest (along with fantasy). Her first book Mutiny in Space was snapped up by Puffin and published in 1997. More books followed, including titles for the highly successful Puppy Patrol series.
However, Cherith’s greatest success has come with the creation of Warriors, now in its fifth series. The Warriors books are written under the name of Erin Hunter but, in reality, Erin is a team of three writers – Victoria Holmes, Kate Cary and Cherith Baldry.
Handles submissions of shorter fiction for 5 to 8 year olds and also picture booksAndrea is a freelance editor and writer who has worked in publishing for over 20 years. She worked in-house for Penguin and as Editorial Manager for Puffin.
As a freelance editor, she has worked for many children’s publishers including Bloomsbury, Element, Orion, Orchard and Scholastic. Notably, she copy edited the manuscript of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and updated a whole series of Enid Blyton titles for Bloomsbury.
Andrea has also written children’s fictional and educational materials. She regularly writes children’s book reviews for The School Librarian and Books for Keeps, is reviewer and web editor for Armadillo magazine and is the children’s specialist for The Good Book Guide. She has MAs in Children’s Literature and The Novel.
Handles submissions of fiction for 5 to 12 year olds and also picture booksHeather writes picture books and novels for children aged 7-11. The Girl with the Broken Wing was chosen as one of Richard and Judy’s ‘Best Children’s Books Ever’, and The Fish in Room 11 won the Highland Book Award. Heather also designed the Writing for Children module at Bristol University and taught there for 3 years. She currently teaches creative writing at Aberystwyth University as well as working as an editor for the Writers’ Advice Centre.
Her advice to writers is, “Don’t be too critical of your first drafts – just get words onto the page. The story you really need to tell sometimes appears when you’re right in the middle of writing another.”
Handles submissions of fiction for older children and is also our non-fiction expertCressida has been working in the book industry for more than 20 years. Starting as a bookseller in charge of the children’s department, she went on to work in publishing, back to bookselling, and now works as an editorial consultant. Her clients include Orion, a number of literary agents, and she also works directly with authors. She blogs for www.writersandartists.co.uk and gives workshops and talks on various aspects of publishing. A passionate reader, she is committed to getting the best out of every writer.
Handles submissions of all types of fiction and non-fictionMartyn is an experienced author, particularly in children’s fiction and non-fiction. His best known children’s work is the Sir Gadabout series of books. So far there have been 10 titles, published by Orion Children’s books, with co-editions in several countries worldwide. Sir Gadabout was adapted as an award-winning CITV series and the audio version is read by Clive Andersen.
His other books for children include picture books Five Naughty Kittens and The Cat that Went Woof! (Franklin Watts); The Bell Tower and The Hangman (Ginn); Sir John Franklin; The Last Duel and Smuggler!; The Lost Purse and The Great Fire of London.
Steph RoundsmithSteph is a children’s literary agent, freelance editor and is manager of a reading and writing scheme for children in the north east of England called KidsReadWriteReview. She previously worked as editorial assistant for Myrmidon Books in Newcastle, but now specialises in freelance editorial work for children’s books.
She spends a lot of her time working with children’s authors, schools, libraries, publishers, bookshops and children, and has built up a wealth of knowledge as to what children want, what publishers are looking for and what booksellers are hungry to sell.
Handles poetry submissions for children of all agesCoral has worked as a poet and performer for many years, and now specializes in writing and performing for children. She is featured in Favourite Poets (Hodder). Michael Rosen says of her, “Rumble has a dash and delight about her work.”
Coral has had 3 collections published – Creatures, Teachers and Family Features, Breaking the Rules and My Teacher’s as Wild as a Bison. She has also contributed to over 100 anthologies for children. Most recently she has written a picture book, The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat, which is illustrated by her daughter. It was published by Parragon and was long listed for ‘Oscar’s First Book Prize 2014’, launched by the Evening Standard.
In addition Coral delivers INSET training ‘poetryclass’ on behalf of the Poetry Society and the DfE, and has worked with children in hundreds of schools all over the country. She also works regularly on the ‘Poet in the City’ scheme and Creative Partners projects. In recent years she has worked as a writer and poetry consultant for the BBC.
Over the past 20 years we have been instrumental in helping writers find their place with publishers, whether directly or indirectly. The following is just a handful of our success stories…
"Thank you for turning this around so quickly for me. The feedback is invaluable and will allow me to make a number of really worthwhile amends before approaching publishers. As I go through the report in more detail I may have the odd question, so thank you for being open to further assistance."
R Myles (Manuscript Appraisal Service)
"I’d like to thank you for your words of encouragement. My wife said to my children after the phone call, ‘That’ll be it now, you won’t see your dad for months as he’ll be busy writing.’ How true!"
Neil Swinney (Telephone Appraisal Service)
"Sharing our book with Louise Jordan at the Writers’ Advice Centre was one of our most important steps on the road to publication of our book My Mum’s a Bug-Eyed Monster. Without Louise’s advice about story pacing and which publishers to target, our monster mum may still be languishing in the slush swamp!"
Andy Rigden & Jim Landen (Face to Face Meeting)
"I am finding this writing course very enjoyable and feel inspired by the assignments. I find your feedback particularly motivating and believe that signing up to this course has not only developed my writing confidence, but is one of the best things I did for my writing career"
Kim White (Home Study Course)
"Thank you for facilitating such an excellent workshop yesterday. I would strongly recommend it to anyone wishing to write for children. Experienced writers would definitely benefit from it as well. Pure gold!"
A Chisambo (Writing Workshop)