Helen and Richard Francis are launching a new agency, Francis Literary Consultants, offering authors help with manuscript development and mentoring.
The father and daughter team's services include "a standard editorial assessment, a detailed editorial report including line edits, help with submission, or a full mentoring package while you are writing your book". The hope is also to move into agenting.
Helen Francis is a professional editor who has 20 years' experience. She was most recently was commissioning editor at Head of Zeus for two years and, prior to that, a fiction project editor at Faber & Faber for eight years. She also ran the classics list at Vintage (part of Penguin Random House) and was a commissioning editor for Arcadia Books, and has previously worked at literary agencies Abner Stein Associates and MMB Creative.
She said: "I've worked in lots of different areas of publishing, and have always got a kick out of helping authors shape and develop their books. It’s great working with Richard in guiding writers along the road to publication. My father and I bring to bear our own experience and perspective but we share the same literary values. We plan to develop the agenting side of our business too, and we're excited about the potential talent we'll discover."
Richard Francis has written 11 novels. His next novel, Laura Laura, will be published by Europa this August. He has also written four non-fiction works, comprising two biographies and two histories. An academic, he also established the MA in Novel Writing at Manchester University.
He said: "I think it’s healthy for a writer to be involved with the work of others – you can get a bit one-track thinking about your own books all the time. Helen and I realised that our experiences complemented each other, mine as an author, hers in publishing, though we have both enjoyed teaching creative writing. Between us we cover just about every aspect of the business, but the most important thing is that we each have complete faith in the other’s judgement."
Further details for the new consultancy can be found at www.francisliteraryconsultants.co.uk.