I specialise in Science Fiction and Fantasy or Contemporary Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction, but I’ve worked on non-fiction and memoir writing too. I’ve edited the work of over fifty writers, with multiple clients going on to receive offers of representation from agents and traditional book deals.
I focus on developing plot, pacing, character, dialogue and world-building to help analyse the work in preparation for submission to a literary agent. I can help with sensitivity reading your manuscript for LGBT+ representation. I also specialise in climate change science.
I will not be reading your writing for grammar or spelling mistakes, and won’t judge you for errors – I am purely looking at the bigger picture. The fine tuning comes later, when all of the building blocks are in place.
Query Package – Feedback on a cover letter, synopsis and the first 10,000 words of a manuscript. Critiques will be a minimum of 1000 words of overall feedback, which includes line edits and comments on the documents. I will also read the edited query when it is complete to provide any final notes before agent submission.
Full Manuscript Package – Feedback on a cover letter, synopsis and full manuscript. Critiques will be a minimum of 2500 words, which includes a mix of line edits and comments on the documents, and a letter of overall feedback. I will also look over the edited manuscript when it is complete to provide any final notes before agent submission.
This is the best choice if you are willing to invest a lot of time into editing the manuscript to make it the best it can possibly be. If you aren’t able to commit to that level of work, I suggest the line edit package below.
£5.50 per thousand words of manuscript, or £220 for works shorter than 40,000 words (excludes word count of cover letter and synopsis)
Email me at email@example.com for more information or fill out this form. It would be helpful, though not essential, if you could send a 1,000 word writing sample along with your enquiry. I currently have the capacity to edit one manuscript per month, and I’m now taking bookings for October-December 2021.
If you would prefer to edit in a peer group with other writers, I also run a WriteMentor mentoring course.
Critiques will be sent back within 4 weeks of payment. Manuscripts must be sent as a Microsoft Word document with double line spacing. Payment is taken by PayPal on acceptance of the manuscript. An invoice will be provided. Refunds available upon cancellation, providing the work has not yet been completed. I reserve the right to refuse applications due to time restrictions.
My experience: I have written 10 novels and 4 novellas, and I’m published traditionally in the United Kingdom, USA, Australia, and in 5 languages worldwide. I am a career novelist and make a living wage from my writing. I work as a creative writing teacher for Coventry University, Writing West Midlands and WriteMentor. My writing has been nominated for the Carnegie Medal, YA Book Prize and STEAM Book Awards.
“Lauren is my first port of call for all my works-in-progress. She has a keen eye for errors and inconsistencies and has made some phenomenal suggestions for improvement, while completely understanding and respecting my own vision.”
Alice Oseman, YA author of Radio Silence and Solitaire and creator of webcomic HEARTSTOPPER.
“Comprehensive feedback, well thought-out comments, and just the right balance between praise and criticism.”
Lucy Saxon, YA fantasy author of The Tellus Series, including Take Back the Skies, The Almost King and The City Bleeds Gold.
“Lauren provides extremely helpful feedback to a high standard and is someone I really trust with my work.”
Kate Ormand, YA author of Dark Days and shape-shifter circus series, The Wanderers and The Pack. The Wanderers was honored as “Winner” in the “Fiction: Young Adult” category of the 2015 USA Best Book Awards.
“I was excited to have my critique edited by Lauren James! With her stellar advice I was able to get recognised! I trust her with my work.”
Alexandra Perchanidou, Blogger/Author of THREE GHOSTS FOR ANASTASIA
Lauren gave incredibly detailed, insightful feedback about my manuscript, which pushed me to get my manuscript ready for submission to agents. It’s really useful to get a fresh perspective from someone so knowledgeable and with a proven track record. I’ve since got an agent and MINA AND THE UNDEAD will be published by UCLan in April 2021.
Amy McCaw, Author of Mina and the Undead (UCLan, 2021)
Lauren James was an absolutely superb teacher, providing an entirely new viewpoint to my work and telling us all the little secrets about writing.
Melissa Welliver, Author of The Undying Tower (Agora Books, 2021)
It’s difficult enough as a writer to share your work with your friends but asking a writer whose work you absolutely love is mildly terrifying. I’m pleased to say that Lauren quickly put me at ease with her helpful mix of positive and constructive feedback. She reminded me of all those things I loved about my stories but helpfully pointed out where the plot wasn’t quite working and challenged me to think the story through. Not only that but she was efficient and exceptionally encouraging, coming back to check how I was progressing with my edits. As a result I had lots of positive feedback describing my manuscript as polished and well written, Lauren has played a vital role in helping me feel confident to query.
Jo Clarke, Author of Libby and the Parisian Puzzle (Firefly Press, 2022)
Lauren is so generous and insightful with her feedback and I found her query package critique hugely valuable. It’s clear that she really knows her stuff; I found her comments supportive, encouraging and practical. I was able to make edits with clarity and confidence, getting my submission to a really good place. It’s given me a much needed boost as I head into the querying process and I highly recommend working with Lauren.
Rosie O’Neill, Aspiring author
Having Lauren James critique my work was an incredibly helpful experience. She offered great ideas for improvements and was really positive and encouraging about my chapters, and as such I feel so much more confident about moving forward with edits!
Sarah Corrigan, Blogger & Aspiring author
Lauren’s services have been invaluable – I’d been stuck in a cycle of rejections and knew I needed a professional eye to help. Lauren is very fast, efficient and kind which is what you need when sharing your creative work. She’s always there for follow up questions despite her busy schedule. If you’re not sure what to do next with your manuscript, Lauren will have the answer!
Shelley Bartup, Aspiring author
Lauren really helped me shake up stagnant parts of my manuscript that had largely remained in the same format since the first draft. I was unsure of what to do to improve them, but Lauren’s keen editor’s eye and compassion helped me to understand what would work best for my characters.
From using Lauren’s services I have a newfound confidence in my writing abilities and a determination to keep improving my manuscripts. I cannot recommend her enough!
Georgia Campbell, Aspiring author
I can’t recommend Lauren’s editorial services highly enough. Besides her obvious credentials as a successful writer, she is also a talented editor. The feedback she provided on my opening chapters, as well as my book proposal, was not only brilliantly insightful but also super speedy, supportive and great value for money. She is everything your manuscript needs.
Lorna Riley, Aspiring author
Lauren’s editorial eye is superb and her suggestions on changes for my manuscript and query were insightful and spot-on. Her critique gave me the confidence to continue writing LGBTQ stories with complex, realistic, characters – and her knowledge of the YA market is invaluable! Lauren showed a deep understanding of what I was hoping to achieve with my manuscript and working with her was an absolute joy that I would recommend to any aspiring author. With Lauren’s guidance I have received some good feedback from agents on my submission and hope to further this success in the future.
Jen Gallagher, Aspiring author
After floundering about in a state of writerly anxiety, I knew it was time for my manuscript to be read by someone other than myself and my dog. Lauren has since proved to be completely invaluable. Her thoughtful comments and brilliant feedback left me nodding at my computer; eager to get the next draft underway. Her kindness, efficiency and keen-eye are just what your work-in-progress needs!
Blake Polden, Aspiring author
Lauren James understood exactly what was at the heart of my novel and how to kick it into shape and gave me heartfelt advice and recommendations for how to move forward for which I am extremely grateful.
Jamie-Lee Turner, 2019 class of the WriteMentor mentoring course
Lauren James is an amazing tutor – so approachable and I am in awe of her work. The feedback she gave on my writing was perfect. She showed me areas to improve and think about. Character relations I hadn’t thought about before speaking to her.
Eiman Munro, 2019 class of the WriteMentor mentoring course