Hello and thanks for visiting. I’m a former literary agent and in-house editor, now a developmental editor, writing mentor, copywriter, and the author of The Young Widow’s Book of Home Improvement and Girls at the Piano. I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia, but now live in Brooklyn, New York, with my family.
What do I do for writers?
I mentor writers looking to write a book and get it published. I help fiction and memoir writers to attract a literary agent or traditional book publisher, and I guide nonfiction writers with professional expertise to develop their book proposals and manuscripts to a commercially publishable standard.
Why do my clients get published?
Because as a published author I know how hard it is – and how satisfying – to write a book and see it published. I understand the joys and agonies of rewriting.
Because as an experienced structural editor I can see ways to improve most manuscripts that the author, who is typically too close to their material, cannot.
Because as a former literary agent I know exactly how selective agents can afford to be, the reservations they’ll have about an author query email, the editorial weaknesses they’ll spot a mile off in an unsolicited manuscript submission, and the crucial information they need – and rarely receive – from unsolicited submissions.
My clients value my strong editorial background because I know what constitutes a manuscript of publishable quality.
Some proof, please
“Your editorial advice was priceless.” — Brad Hutchins, author of Game Set Cash! (Black Inc, 2014)
Girls at the Piano, my second book, took me seven years, so I understand the joys and frustrations of the writing process. (I don’t recommend taking that long, but life happens and some books take as long as they take.)
“Virginia’s memoir mentoring was vital to the ultimate publication of my work. Her insights were helpful at every stage of the process – from big-picture thinking on narrative structure and focus, through to line-by-line editorial feedback at final draft. She is an expert editorial ‘curator’ and a godsend for a first-time author.” —Fiona Higgins, author, Fearless (2016), Wife on the Run (2014), The Mothers’ Group (2012; all through Allen & Unwin) and Love in the Age of Drought (Pan Macmillan, 2009)
Still reading? Thanks!
If you’ve read this far, thank you! Some relevant extra details about my background:
As part of my lifelong love for books and culture, I have always been a passionate volunteer with arts-related not-for-profit organizations. I grew up helping my father’s fundraising efforts for his local Rotary Club, and I guess that rubbed off on me. I am a Past President of Sydney PEN (International PEN Center) and a former Vice President of the Sydney Improvised Music Association.
A lifetime ago I completed a PhD in English Literature at the University of Sydney, but did not want to be an academic. Moving into publishing, I worked as the in-house editor of the Picador list (fiction and nonfiction) at Pan Macmillan Australia, one of Australia’s largest trade publishers. Working with authors and learning the publishing business stood me in great stead when I became an independent editor and literary agent, and eventually an author myself. Here’s my LinkedIn profile.