About Me

Donna Hillyer

Publishing Consultant & Freelance Editor

About Me

Donna Hillyer

Prior to setting up my business in 2015, I worked in book publishing for 10 years. During my career, I’ve worked for a number of major UK trade publishers: Virgin Books, Piatkus, Little, Brown Book Group, and Harlequin UK.

I’ve worked across all levels from editorial assistant to company director/board member, and my skills are subsequently wide-ranging. I’ve commissioned and grown authors (both mainstream and genre) to bestselling and award-winning status, overseeing their individual publishing strategies whilst working closely with overseas markets (particularly Ireland, Europe, the US and Australia).

I understand the current climate, and what it takes to be competitive and stand out from the crowd. I’m hard-working, tenacious and always committed to achieving the best possible result. I’m in-tune with all formats, including digital; in 2012 I launched one of the first digital imprints in the UK, Piatkus Entice.

That same year, I was one of four people shortlisted for the prestigious Kim Scott Walwyn Prize, which recognises women’s creativity, professionalism and ambition in publishing.

I’m originally from Ireland, and prior to my move to and career in London, I read English and Philosophy at University College Cork.

My Services

My Services

The services I offer are incredibly wide-ranging, from bespoke projects to editing and proofreading manuscripts. Please contact me to arrange a quote, or discuss a potential project.



I offer a wide range of services to authors, drawing on my years of commissioning and editing experience:

  • First read: a reader’s report (i.e. reading the MS and assessing the plot/content)
  • A structural report (i.e. a thorough read, and analysis of the content and the commercial merits of the project)
  • A full line-edit, with detailed report

I’m incredibly passionate about editing and working closely with authors to enhance their project, while staying true to, and respecting, their overall vision for the book.

I’m also very flexible: if you have an idea/book, and are not sure what your next step should be, or have a particular budget to work within, don’t hesitate to get in touch and I’ll happily chat through options with you, without any obligation on your part.


I’m available for one-off or repeat projects, for example:

  • submission reading / assessing
  • structural edits / reports
  • copyediting / proofreading
  • bespoke research projects

I’m happy to discuss any project you have in mind, so please do get in touch.

Writing Festivals/events

I have run workshops and spoken at many writers’ festivals and conferences, e.g. RNA, Winchester Writers’ Conference, York Festival of Writing.

If you are interested in me attending your event, to give a talk or run a workshop, please contact me.


If you have a project that isn’t covered above, please do still get in touch! I’m very flexible, and happy to chat about any possible project and provide a quote if needed.



“Donna’s advice is incredibly valuable. She understands both the commercial and creative forces expertly and is able to guide manuscripts to reach their greatest potential. Working with her has been a great help.”

Samar Hammam – literary agent, Rocking Chair Books www.rockingchairbooks.com

“As a London-based literary agency, we have the contacts to find the ideal freelance editor when one of our authors needs significant help and guidance. Donna Hillyer is best-in-class for such work. She combines an expert editorial eye with a deep knowledge of the publishing business and can be relied upon to coax the best work from a writer with grace and warmth.”

Ivan Mulcahy – literary agent, Mulcahy Associates Ltd / MMB CREATIVE www.mmbcreative.com

“Cheerful, calm, no-nonsense Donna: love her. She copy-edited my novel ‘Imagine’ with the candour of a matron, the appetite of a wolf, and all the glee of a racehorse out of the gate. Her edit came back ahead of deadline, comprehensively marked, annotated with helpful suggestions and packed with extras. She gets right inside a story, and thinks outside the box. She’s neither bossy nor nit-picky. She nursed me through tech challenges. Her enthusiasm for my fiction was genuine, and my final draft sparkled with her fairy dust. I’m dancing my way through another novel, now, so that I can work with her again.”

Lesley-Ann Jones – author & journalist www.lesleyannjones.com

“Donna is an exceptional editor and always gets the best out of every manuscript. Creative, professional, insightful and offering a nuanced approach tailored to every individual author and project, I never hesitate to recommend her.”

Lucy Malagoni – Publishing Director, Sphere Fiction – Little, Brown

“It’s a scary prospect being editor-less, after you have relied on the support of the in-house copy-editing teams in the past. Donna’s fast and professional eagle-eye was immensely reassuring. Without making gratuitous changes, she pointed out errors and repetitions, and also offered useful high level suggestions. I would certainly recommend her work and will be back knocking on her door if I go the self-publishing route again.”

David Michie – international bestselling author, of such titles as ‘Hurry Up and Meditate’ and ‘Buddhism for Busy People’, as well as his popular novel series ‘The Dalai Lama’s Cat’. davidmichie.com

“I’ve worked with Donna on a few freelance jobs and recommend her to anyone who’ll listen! She is a terrific structural and copy-editor – thorough, reliable and a pleasure to work with.”

Dominic Wakeford – Commissioning Editor, Piatkus – Little, Brown

“Donna ensured my debut was in top shape before it went out to agents. She tailored a package exactly for my needs, and in addition to her flexibility, a keen eye, and a quick turn-around, she brought a wonderfully supportive element to our discussions. I would wholeheartedly recommend her to writers at all stages in the editing process.”

Evie Dunmore – author of ‘Bringing Down the Duke’

“I’ve worked with Donna on both developmental and copy edits, and highly recommend her services. Donna has a great understanding of the genre, a tremendous drive to ensure a manuscript is polished and ready for publication, and is a fabulous sounding board for working through storylines.”

Rachel Amphlett – USA Today bestselling author

Contact Me

Contact Me

Please email me at donna@donnahillyer.com

Tweet to @donnahillyer