Writers Advice Centre

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.

Louise Jordan

Louise Jordan

Managing Editor

I 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. Since their launch, Wacky Bee’s successes have included two Carnegie nominations, two books selected for the Summer Reading Challenge, an Empathy Lab inclusion, a Guardian Best New Kids Book selection, finalist in the British Book Design and Production Awards, not to mention two books starring on CBeebies and BBC Bitesize. 

Tess Jolly

Tess Jolly

Handles submissions of fiction for all ages and also poetry

Tess is a poet and freelance proofreader and editor who also runs creative writing workshops for children and young people. She fits her freelance jobs around working in her local library where she enjoys running Rhyme Time and Storytime sessions and promoting the Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge.

Tess’s poetry is widely published in UK poetry magazines and she has published two pamphlets – Touchpapers (Eyewear, 2016) and Thus the Blue Hour Comes (Indigo Dreams, 2017). Her first full collection – Breakfast at the Origami Café – was published in 2020 by Blue Diode Press. As a writer herself, she appreciates the need for a sensitive, respectful and honest approach to editing.

Tess has a First-Class Honours Degree in English Literature, a Master’s Degree in Creative and Critical Writing and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Primary Education. She is an Entry-Level member of the Chartered Institute of Editors and Proofreaders. For more details about her proofreading service go to www.poemsandproofs.co.uk

Andrea Rayner

Andrea Rayner

Handles submissions of shorter fiction for 5 to 8 year olds and also picture books

Andrea 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.

Francesca Pinagli

Francesca Pinagli

Handles submissions of fiction for 5 to 12 year olds and also picture books

Francesca is a bi-lingual freelance senior editor who has worked in publishing for over thirty years in both Italy and the UK. She has worked in-house for CIDEB Editore, Oxford University Press and Heinemann.

As a freelance senior editor, she has worked for many ELT publishers in the UK and abroad, including Cambridge University Press, Zanichelli Editore and Oxford University Press. She has also worked for children’s publisher Red Robin Books on their picture books, and for De Agostini Scuola on their graded readers.

Anna Bowles

Anna Bowles

Handles submissions for all ages but is particularly keen on middle grade. Anna is also an editor at Wacky Bee Books.

Anna is a freelance editor and writer who has worked in publishing for over 20 years. She has worked in-house primarily at Egmont and Hachette, first as a desk editor and then a commissioning editor.

As a freelance editor she has worked for many children’s publishers including Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hot Key, Stripes and Scholastic. She has completed hundreds of manuscript appraisals for independent clients and particularly enjoys helping YA authors bring out the best in their work.

Anna has also written or ghostwritten dozens of children’s fiction and activity books, from the fiction series Secret Kingdom and Agent Asha to activity books for brands such as Thomas the Tank Engine and Wallace and Gromit. She holds an MA in Russian Studies and gets very excited on the rare occasions she gets to deal with a manuscript containing a Russian component!

Cressida Downing

Cressida Downing

Handles submissions of fiction for older children and is also our non-fiction expert

Cressida 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.
Martyn Beardsley

Martyn Beardsley

Handles submissions of all types of fiction and non-fiction

Martyn 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.

Amy Waite

Amy Waite

Handles submissions for all ages and is also an editor for Wacky Bee Books.

Amy is a Research Fellow at the University of Roehampton, teaching and researching across both English Literature and Creative Writing. She also sits on the Editorial Board of Fincham Press.

Prior to joining Roehampton’s staff, and after completing her Literature PhD at the University of Oxford, Amy worked as a Literary Agent (specialising in children’s fiction) at the Felicity Bryan Associates for several years – representing a combination of middle grade and young adult fiction writers.

For the past twelve months, Amy has also consulted as a children’s fiction reader for Maria B. Campbell Associates, recommending titles for Netflix to adapt for television and film.

Coral Rumble

Coral Rumble

Handles poetry submissions for children of all ages

Coral has worked as a poet and performer for many years. In addition Coral delivers INSET training ‘poetryclass’ on behalf of the Poetry Society and the DfE. 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.

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 and is featured in Favourite Poets (Hodder). More recently she has written a picture book, The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat, which is illustrated by her daughter and published by Wacky Bee. She won the Caterpillar Poetry Prize 2018 with Mustafa’s Jumper and Wacky Bee have just released an early reader based on the poem, also illustrated by her daughter.

Michael Rosen says of her, “Rumble has a dash and delight about her work.”

Jenny Sykes

Jenny Sykes

Handles submissions for picture books and early readers. Jenny is also an editor for Wacky Bee Books.

Jenny is a freelance editor, specialising in picture books as well as fiction and non-fiction for younger readers.

She spent 8 years as an in-house editor for Macmillan Children’s Books, working on titles by a variety of both newer and more established, high-profile authors. She also researched and wrote the texts for internationally successful jigsaw book and pop-up book series, illustrated by Anne Sharp.

She has worked in primary and secondary schools, including 5 years as a school librarian.

She loves the creative process of working with an author to develop an initial story idea into a carefully crafted final text.

Success Stories

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)