If you’re looking for bespoke support, we’re happy to help. Common bespoke projects include query critiques, story concept critiques, and first chapter critiques. We also offer one-to-one coaching if you need help getting your story started or you’re looking for ongoing support as you write. Whatever you’re looking for and whatever stage of the writing process you’re at, we’ll build a service tailored to your needs.

Common bespoke projects

Query critique

A query critique typically involves an assessment of your synopsis, your first three chapters, and your query letter. It’s a great way of checking and refining your query submissions to agents and publishers.

First chapter critique

This involves an assessment of your first chapter, helping you to ensure your opening hook is as strong as it can be and identifying any problematic writing tics before you progress further.

Story concept critique

A story concept critique involves an assessment of your synopsis, novel outline, scene list, character notes, and other relevant materials. It’s perfect for refining your story concept before you start writing.

Partial critique

We’re happy to critique partial manuscripts (e.g. your first ten thousand words, your first half, etc.) This can be useful if you’ve reached a certain point in your novel and you’re not sure how to proceed.


“I have always wanted to write historical fiction, but I worried that, as only an enthusiast, I might be spinning my wheels. I initially asked Andrew to review my novel outline, but, after his excellent feedback, I asked him to take me on as a coaching client as well. His advice and support have helped me get my first novel off to a great start.”

LC Mason

“Having written and published poetry, articles and short stories for many decades, I decided to expand a novella into a full-length historical novel. By a happy chance, I came across Andrew’s website and submitted the first three chapters for his appraisal. The report which I received, on time and on budget, was excellent. It was encouraging, professional, and forensic. I cannot recommend Andrew highly enough as an editor. Any author, new or experienced, could only benefit from his skill.”

Simon Piney

How does it work?

How to book

If you’re interested in discussing a bespoke project, the first step is to email us at Tell us a little about yourself and your story, as well as what kind of help you’re looking for.

Picking an editor

If you decide to book, the next step is to pick an editor (see our list of editors here). Who you choose to work with is up to you, though we’re happy to make suggestions or allocate an editor if you wish.

What happens next depends on the nature of your project. If it’s a one-time project, we’ll agree a slot. If it’s ongoing coaching, we’ll agree a timeline.


You’ll either pay in full when you book, or you’ll be asked to make an advance payment to secure your slot, paying the remainder when you submit your manuscript/project materials. For coaching, you’ll normally pay a monthly fee.

Do review the FAQ section at the bottom of this page for more details.


Andrew Noakes

Andrew is the founder and executive editor of The History Quill, and he’s also our lead content editor. A graduate of Cambridge University, where he studied history, he spent nearly a decade working in the world of politics and international affairs before happily giving it up to pursue his real passion: historical fiction. He’s previously lived and worked all over the world, including in the United States, Belgium, Cameroon, and Botswana, but he now lives in London, UK.

Kahina Necaise

Trained in book publishing at NYU and Oxford Brookes University, Kahina has honed her writing and editing skills while living on three different continents. Originally from the USA but now based in the UK, she enjoys work that indulges two of her deepest passions: story structure and history. She has completed professional courses in both content editing and copy-editing.

Jenny Papworth

Jenny has been working as a copy-editor and proofreader for over 25 years. A graduate of the University of Leeds, where she studied English and Chinese, her work has taken her all over the world, including Hong Kong, Brunei, and Cyprus. Fiction editing has always been her passion, with a special interest in historical fiction, and she now works exclusively in this field. She lives in Herefordshire, England.

Barbara Henderson

Barbara is a content editor, creative writing teacher, and former BBC journalist. She holds a PhD in creative writing and is programme leader for creative writing at the Open College of the Arts. She lives in Berwick upon Tweed, England.

Naomi Munts

Naomi is a proofreader living in Southampton, England, with her husband and three children. She graduated from Southampton University in 2006 with a first class degree in English language and literature. Naomi has a lifelong interest in history, and she’s currently writing a novel set during ancient Egypt’s Middle Kingdom.

Pippa Brush Chappell 

Pippa has been teaching writing for more than 25 years. She has a PhD in English and has taught at colleges and universities in Canada and the USA, and at secondary school in the UK. Her short fiction has been published, most recently, in a Grindstone anthology and online in The Virtual Zine. She is a content editor and tutor for The History Quill.

Sarah Dronfield

Sarah works on copy-editing and proofreading projects for The History Quill. She has been trained by the Publishing Training Centre, the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, and the Editorial Freelancers Association. She has a degree in archaeology and environmental management. Having lived in Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands, she is now settled back in her home town in South Wales.

Cecily Blench

Cecily Blench is a freelance writer and editor. Originally from Herefordshire, she studied English Literature at the University of York and worked for several years at an independent publisher in London. She has written for Slightly Foxed, Reader’s Digest, The London Magazine, and Hinterland, among others. Her first novel won the 2019 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize for unpublished manuscripts. She is a copy-editor and proofreader for The History Quill.

Rebecca Ferrier

Rebecca Ferrier is a seasoned editor, ghost-writer, and journalist. She was shortlisted for the Tibor Jones PageTurner Prize and has released two novels with one of the Big Five publishers, written under a pen name. She splits her time between Bath and Edinburgh, and is a content editor and tutor with The History Quill.

Edward Willis

Edward is a freelance writer, editor, and pitch coach based in London. He has a first-class degree in History and French from the University of Exeter, which included a year teaching English in France. He is an avid reader and writer of historical fiction, and loves nothing more than helping people to tell stories.

Craig Hillsley

Before turning freelance, Craig was Editorial Director at the award-winning independent publisher Saraband, where he edited a diverse collection of titles, including Graeme Macrae Burnet’s historical thriller, His Bloody Project, shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2016. Named as a Bookseller ‘Rising Star’, Craig has edited books that have won or been shortlisted for more than forty major literary awards, including the Rathbones Folio Prize, the Historical Writers’ Association Debut Crown, and the Society of Authors’ Awards.


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How much does a bespoke project cost?

The cost will depend on the nature of the project. To get a quote, do email us at

How long will the editing process take?

The exact timescale will depend on the nature of your project. A query critique or first chapter critique might take three or four days. A partial manuscript critique could take a week or two, depending on the length.

Should I book in advance?

For bigger projects, we advise booking one or two months in advance if possible. Smaller projects like a query critique can usually be completed within a week or two of you booking, so you don’t necessarily need to book in advance for these.

Which sub-genres do you edit? Is there anything you don't edit?

We edit a wide range of takes on the historical fiction genre, including (but not limited to) time-slip, dual timelines, thrillers, romance, drama, action/adventure, mystery, children’s, YA, alternate history, and historical fantasy. We do reserve the right to turn down any project if our schedule doesn’t allow it or if we don’t feel it’s a good fit for us. If you’re not sure, just get in touch and ask.

Do you accept international clients?

Yes! We welcome clients who are resident in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and any EU country. We don’t currently serve clients who are resident in other countries.

What if I'm not satisfied with the work?

Our terms and conditions clearly outline expectations for our projects. If these haven’t been met by the deadline, we’ll offer you a full refund, claimable for 30 days following completion of the work.

What are your full terms and conditions?

You can view our full terms and conditions here.

How do I arrange payment?

We accept payment by credit or debit card, either in GBP or USD according to your preference. You’ll either pay in full when you book, or you’ll be asked to make an advance payment to secure your slot, paying the remainder when you submit your manuscript/project materials. For coaching, you’ll normally pay a monthly fee.

How can I send you my work, and how should it be formatted?

The best way is via email as a Microsoft Word document.