Averill Buchanan

Advanced Professional Member
Location Based in Belfast, Northern Ireland (UK) | Work with clients worldwide
Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Web www.averillbuchanan.com
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I specialise in fiction editing (literary fiction, commercial fiction, crime/thriller/suspense), and can help you take your novel to the next stage, whether that’s via the agent/traditional publisher route or through self-publishing.

I’m particularly interested in working with authors who feel stuck or unsure, or who have lost their creative mojo. If your manuscript has been rejected by agents and publishers, or you’ve been getting mixed feedback from readers, or you instinctively sense that something’s not quite right with your novel, do get in touch. I’m a compassionate straight-talking editor who enjoys diagnosing problems and helping authors get on the right track.

Services

  • manuscript assessment
  • developmental editing
  • structural editing
  • line editing
  • copy-editing
  • proofreading
  • indexing
  • blurb writing
  • agent and publisher packages (synopsis, opening chapters, cover letter)

I also offer book production services:

  • formatting & layout
  • typesetting
  • file preparation for print and print-on-demand (POD)
  • ebook conversion
  • advice and hand-holding through the publishing process, incl. uploading your books to self-publishing platforms (e.g. CreateSpace, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP))

About me

A recovering graphic designer, I returned to university as a mature student to study English literature and have been working as an freelance editor since I graduated in 2004.

I’m a tutor on the SfEP’s Introduction to Fiction Editing online training course, and a Partner member of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).

Qualifications, training & CPD (abridged version)
BA English Literature (1998), MA Modern Literary Studies (2000), PhD English Literature (2004)
Fiction Editing (Publishing Ireland, 2013)
Professional Development Day for Fiction Editors (SfEP, 2016)
Rewriting and Substantive Editing (PTC, 2016)

The full story is on my website, where you can download a copy of my CV.

Media & genres

Books (single and multi-author), short stories, essays and articles.

  • Fiction (adult): crime fiction, literary fiction, commercial fiction
  • creative non-fiction (memoir, biography)
  • academic monographs (literature, art and art history, history). (I enjoy working on texts with footnotes and bibliographies!)

Clients include

Blackstaff Press; Lagan Press; Whittrick Press; Booklink; authors such as Bernie McGill, Amna K. Boheim, Rosemary Jenkinson, and Caroline Healy; and more than 100 manuscripts for authors of all types.

Equipment & software

PC Windows 10 (with PC laptop as backup)
Microsoft Word & Excel 2016
Adobe CC 2018 (incl. Photoshop, Acrobat Pro and InDesign)
Dropbox (secure cloud storage and file backup)
Jutoh (ebook conversion)

Testimonials

Averill worked with me extensively on my second novel, Through Hollow Lands (Urbane, 2018). [She] was unfailing in her forensic attention to detail and clearly indicated her thinking to me on issues of pacing, plotting and POV. I came to understand her perspective on the necessity for brevity at key junctures. She remained accessible and engaged throughout the process and, indeed, afterwards. My writing style on this task – and by extension the novel itself – was enriched by her involvement. It is without hesitation that I recommend Averill’s services to other authors.

Thomas Paul Burgess, author of Through Hollow Lands (Urbane, 2018)

Averill gave me a time frame and a very reasonable quotation to typeset my first novel, Call Billy. She listened patiently to me about fonts and line spacing and everything with no hint of professional superiority and graciously converted my manuscript to illustrate the various ideas I put to her. In the end, having had a chance to explore my options, I went with Averill’s initial recommendations, which attests to her experience and expertise. But there is more: she answers all emails within a few hours, and her answers are detailed and clear. Not once did I have to ask the same question twice. She even helped with my back-cover blurb. I felt incredibly safe and lucky.

Sam McColl, author of Call Billy, forthcoming, 2018

My first novel, Look Without Staring, is the result of a close and very special collaboration with my editor, Averill Buchanan. She did a superb job of taking my words and giving them life, without detracting from my storyline. She was also knowledgeable and patient as she led me through the minefield that is self-publishing. I look forward to her continued help and support with my next novel.

John Bradley, author of Look Without Staring (2017)

In 2017, Averill provided a manuscript report on my first novel Have You Found Luke?, a winner at the Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair 2016. From the get-go, she showed absolute care and attention by exploring and establishing what my editorial need was and proposing a tailor-made plan of work. At various points during her readings, Averill contacted me with progress reports, and went the extra mile by requesting to read an earlier short story that the novel grew from. The resulting manuscript report on the novel was in-depth, respectful and encouraging. The experience of working with Averill was hugely validating and educational, and is helping to guide me through my rewrite.

Fiona O’Rourke, Author & Creative Writing Facilitator

The text [of Cúchulainn: Ulster’s Greatest Hero] is much crisper and flows more naturally. Proofreading and editing is certainly a fine art, a fine art over which you have the highest level of mastery, that much is clear. I was really impressed with your attention to every detail.

Réamonn Ó Ciaráin, Gael Linn; translator of Cúchulainn: Ulster's Greatest Hero, 2017

I was put in touch with Averill through The Literary Consultancy, which turned out to be an excellent recommendation. I cannot thank Averill too much for her professionalism and technical competence in dealing with my non-fiction book on the Isle of Man and the First World War. Above all, I am grateful for her endless patience in dealing with a text which I constantly kept on changing. The book is so much the better for her assistance.

Patricia Skillicorn, The Hammer of Thor: The Impact of the Great War on the people of the Isle of Man, 2016.

As a first time author, I was in need of developmental editing, copy-editing, and proofreading for my debut novel, 'Death by DNA'. Averill performed all of these tasks with exceptional expertise and skill. When we first started working together, I had certain ideas about how much ‘science’ I wanted to include in my novel. Averill listened diligently (and patiently) to my point of view, and helped me shape the book so that there was still plenty of science, but not at the cost of bogging the story down. As an added bonus, she helped shepherd me through the intimidating process of self-publishing. Her expert guidance was invaluable every step of the way. Averill is an excellent editor and advisor, and I can’t wait to work with her on my next novel!

John S. Shaw, III, author of Death by DNA, 2016.

I cannot recommend Averill’s service highly enough. She has shown skill, wisdom and patience in equal measure. She not only brings technical expertise to bear on projects, but a commitment to excellence in publishing aligned with a heartfelt passion for good writing. Her help and support has been invaluable to us.

Hugh Odling-Smee, publisher, Whittrick Press, 2016

Averill worked as my editor on my debut novel, The Silent Children. I couldn't recommend her more highly. She immersed herself in my story world and really understood from the offset the tale I wanted to tell. She took my novel from 70% done to 100%, pushing me to improve every step of the way. I couldn't have done it without her. She has that great balance of delivering constructive criticism and encouragement. I loved working with her so much that I have asked her to work with me on my second novel.

Amna K. Boheim, author of The Silent Children, 2015

I approached Averill Buchanan with a unique request for development editing. Throughout our work together, she was always prompt and thoughtful in response to my questions. After she provided her feedback, [she] responded quickly to follow-up questions and ...  gave me concrete next steps that I was able to use immediately, while also being respectful of my right to make the final calls. I enjoyed working with Averill and would recommend her to anyone looking for novel editing.

Sarah Carlson, independent author, 2014

I just wanted ... to thank you for doing such a good job. You saved us from quite a number howlers, and it's all very clearly marked-up.

Helen Wright, Senior Editor, Blackstaff Press, 2012