Kelly Thompson

Saturday 20 May 2023

14:00 to 15:00


Non-fiction books are very different to pitch from their fictional counterparts. Former commissioning editor at Watkins Publishing turned freelance editor and book doula Kelly Thompson is passionate about helping writer’s “birth” their non-fiction books with ease. From the seed idea stage through to the structural and developmental edits, Kelly has brought to life and worked on many successful books throughout her career, from reference and popular culture titles, travel guides and memoirs, to books in her now-specialty areas of holistic health, self-development, mind-body-spirit and conscious living.  

In this session, she will give you insight into what publishers look for when acquiring non-fiction books, the all-important role that the book proposal plays in this, and how to go about creating a compelling proposal that is not only likely to get the attention of agents and publishers, but will also give you an invaluable blueprint to use as both an anchor and a springboard for your writing – allowing you to infuse your book with a much clearer overall sense of vision, structure, purpose and flow. 

Kelly (Thompson) has worked in non-fiction book publishing for over 25 years.

In the course of this time, she has developed, commissioned and edited books on everything from crafts, cookery, travel and fitness to yoga, meditation, positive psychology and spirituality – for publishers including Dorling Kindersley, Penguin Random House, Carlton and Quarto.

Her most recent in-house role was Commissioning Editor at Watkins Publishing where she developed and oversaw the publication of titles such as Mel Collins’ bestselling The Handbook for Highly Sensitive People.

Kelly was also a longstanding Associate Lecturer at Falmouth University, where she mentored students specializing in non-fiction on the MA course in Professional Writing, many of whom have gone on to publish successful books.

She now works as a freelance editor and book doula from her home in Hastings, specializing in helping budding writers in the personal development space to nurture and shape their book ideas into well-thought through propositions that they can then “birth” into the wider world – with the aim of transforming readers’ lives for the better.