The skills of a truly gifted editor far exceed the ability to fine-tune grammar and punctuation. Empathy, a sense of humor, a willingness to listen and to probe, to ask deep questions... These are a few of the less obvious but hugely important qualities that transform a manuscript into a finished book. Ellie Robins has them all. She reads between the lines. Her work as an editor is a revelation.
— Brenda Cullerton, Little, Brown–published author
You did it! You wrote a novel.* Congratulations! Now what?
No doubt the goal is publication, in some form or other. But if you’d like some professional feedback on your work before you send it to agents or take the plunge and self-publish: I can help.
What I offer
I love to nurture novels.
I’ll read your manuscript and give you a detailed, written report and inline notes on the text. My notes will be tailored to your novel, wherever you are with it, but I’ll likely mention most of the building blocks of fiction: structure, plot, narrative, setting, character, tone, language, and more.
I’ll help you to see what works, and what needs work. I'll offer constructive suggestions and guidance for addressing any problem areas, and I might recommend some further reading.
Most importantly, I'll give you a sense of the lay of the land. We'll determine exactly what you're writing, and why—then I'll help you to understand where the book fits in today's publishing landscape. From here, I can recommend next steps. Specifically, I'll give you an honest appraisal of whether your book is a good candidate for traditional publishing, or whether you would be better advised pursuing the self-publishing route—though please bear in mind that there’s always a heavy dose of chance in publishing, and nothing is ever guaranteed.
Ellie's inspired approach to manuscript assessment and her unique blend of psychological and professional insight are at a master-class level. Her understanding of craft is unparalleled.
She gave me practical and effective solutions to improve my manuscript while still showing me how to connect to my most authentic voice. She is highly professional, warm, motivated and really fun to work with.
— Aditi Khorana, Penguin-published author
How I work
Before I write your report, I will ask you a lot of questions.
You are the first authority on your novel; you know best what you hope to write. My job is to help you get there. Over years of working with writers, I’ve found that the right questions can guide an author to the deepest truth of their work.
What I don’t offer
My services are purely editorial: I’ll help you get the very best out of your novel, but I don’t offer introductions to publishers or agents. Neither will I do a fine-tooth copy-edit or a proofread, though I’ll let you know whether you need one, and I can usually provide a referral.
It’s also worth noting that the report is a stand-alone service, not the beginning of ongoing mentoring or a developmental edit. The report I send you will contain all the information you need to tighten your novel on your own.
For a decade, I worked closely with authors as a fiction editor, in-house at Hesperus Press in London and Melville House in New York, and freelance for both major and indie publishers—my clients included Penguin Random House, Soho Press, And Other Stories, Pushkin Press, Bitter Lemon Press, and others. I now review fiction for major publications such as the LA Times, the Guardian, the Times Literary Supplement, the LA Review of Books, and elsewhere.
Ellie Robins took my chaotic mess of pages and helped me shape it into compelling, professional storytelling. I cannot recommend her strongly enough. Do it.
— Dominic Orlando, TV writer
Available on request. If you have questions or you’d like to book an assessment, please email me at email@example.com
* Or maybe you haven’t finished yet. I can help at any stage of the writing process. For earlier drafts, the work is often finding what’s truest to you in the novel and making it sing; pieces that are further along often require more attention at the linguistic level. I’m also happy to work with either an excerpt or a full novel.