Over the years we’ve worked with some wonderful people. Here’s what some of them have to say about us:
Random House, Australia
Melissa is an outstanding editor, creative and perceptive in her structural comments and careful and consistent in her copy-editing. She was pivotal to the success of the series, gaining the writer’s confidence immediately and challenging him to work at his very best to create a wonderful book that surpassed my expectations. Melissa has an ideal editorial manner, caring yet decisive. Her feedback on all aspects of book production, including illustration and design, is perceptive and extremely useful. She is reliable, conscientous and charming. I recommend her to you highly.
David Fickling Books
Jane Burnard is an immensely talented editor with a rare eye for what works for children and how to make it better. The biggest problem with children’s books is that most often, through a failure of proper structure, empathy and attention to detail, they don’t work at all. A bad book loses readers just as fast as a good book makes them, faster maybe, but Jane really knows the secrets of better books. Her grounding in editing from picture books to fiction is thorough, and when we worked together she lost no time in growing a whole list of wonderful titles with authors that readers have come to love. She is a delight to work with and that, to my mind, counts for a lot.
Little Tiger Press
Adria is a talented and creative author/illustrator with a wealth of experience in picture books. She has a strong instinct for narrative and language, and great flair for creating drama, humour and visual impact through use of composition, colour, and the nuances of interaction and expression in characters. Her ability to analyse books, plus her passion, humour and energy make her a really inspiring mentor.
Commissioning Editor, Picture Books
Jessica Meserve’s creativity coupled with her professionalism make working on picture books with her an absolute joy.
I have worked with many fine editors in the UK when I was writing for Harper Collins, Frances Lincoln and Egmont. I did a two-book deal with Egmont for their Red Go Bananas series featuring an eccentric wild-west character called Pa Jinglebob. I also wrote two stand-alone books for the same series: Nick and the Canal Painter and Larkspur and the Grand March.Melissa Balfour was my editor for all four. She was an excellent line of communication between myself and the illustrators, Korky Paul and Debbie Boon. From the moment we met, I was inspired by Melissa’s infectious air of confidence as well as her ability to suggest subtle improvements, thus ironing out any snags. It helped enormously that Melissa was so comfortable working with humorous books, and immediately understood and appreciated my objectives. Thanks to Melissa’s commitment and professionalism the end results saw all four taken up for translation in many countries.
Publisher and Managing Director
Piccadilly has worked with Jane Burnard for over ten years. She has done a wide range of work for us, from reading and reporting on manuscripts, copy-editing and proofreading, structural editing and adapting and reworking a non-fiction title for us. She is calm and thorough and has come to the rescue for us more than once when we were stuck with something that seemed unworkable. On top of that, she is great to work with, everyone likes her. I would recommend her very highly.
Editor, Writer, Book Packager
As a published author/illustrator, Adria Meserve is highly skilled and deeply talented, using both traditional and digital media to produce her unique artwork style. From an editor’s perspective, she is wonderful to work with because she understands the commercial concerns and pressures of today’s publishing industry, but never compromises on the quality of her work and puts in whatever extra effort is necessary to produce something exceptional within deadline. Her skills, knowledge and personality equip her to be an outstanding mentor.
I worked with Melissa Balfour on the Banana Books series for young children, and very much appreciated her sensitive and professional editing. She has an eye for detail and is as thorough as she is sympathetic to the author’s intentions.
I worked with Jane Burnard over a period of two years on a series of books called Football Mad, published in the Hippo Sport imprint. Jane was a wonderful editor, both patient and perceptive, and the success of the books is due in no small part to her attention to detail. Jane was always extremely professional, but managed to combine this with an easy friendliness that made working with her a joy.
Melissa was my editor at the very start of my career when I was, quite frankly, terrified of the London publishing world. Although I was always fortunate in my editors, I sometimes felt insecure and defensive when my work was subjected to scrutiny, but when I worked with Melissa her gentle, encouraging manner made me feel supported and valued, and her obvious enthusiasm for my stories really buoyed me up.
It’s never easy or pleasant to accept criticism of one’s work, however positively it is given, but it’s something writers have to learn to live with. An editor who can suggest changes and give constructive advice in a kindly way that doesn’t undermine one’s self-confidence is truly worth their weight in gold. Melissa is one of those editors.
I worked with Melissa when I had finished a draft of my novel and wanted to bring it up to a standard that I was happy to submit to agents. I found her advice invaluable. Her sensitivity to the stage I was at was impressive and I felt supported througout the process. She was always clear about how she thought the book could be strengthened and her suggestions always rang true. I knew she would be honest about what worked and what didn’t, but she left me to interpret her comments creatively without imposing her view. I would strongly recommend her as an editor.
Editorial Director, Simon & Schuster
Finding someone whose taste you trust is no easy thing, so Melissa’s reader reports have proved invaluable to the team here at Simon & Schuster. They are always extremely helpful and insightful and bear in mind the children’s book market as well as our own list and style. I would wholly recommend her for support with submissions.