I’m Alastair Humphreys
I enjoyed reading as a kid, my back against the warm bedroom radiator, or under the covers with a torch. But it was the four years I spent cycling around the world that really escalated my appetite. So many evenings, all alone, in a tent with no digital distractions, were the perfect environment for honing a voracious reading habit and beginning my broader education.
My selection of books was determined by what I could swap my previous read for. I was introduced to new gems and genres by this element of randomness, as well as one or two duffers. I remember ploughing through a long tome about aliens raising the pyramids as I pedalled through Patagonia! When I found a good book, I grabbed it and lugged it in my panniers, despite trying to travel so lightly that I carried neither souvenirs nor underwear. (See this crazy photo of the pile of books that my friend Rob and I carried as we rode down Japan!)
Whilst it was a hearty appetite for travel and adventure literature that initially encouraged me to go on expeditions and write about them, my reading range these days is broad. I devour nature, history, memoir, biography and fiction, as well as more books on self-help and motivation than I probably should.
To become an excellent writer, you have to read and write as much as you can. I’ve been doing both for 20 years, and published 15 books to date. My favourite part of writing is always the editing phase. I relish tearing my manuscripts apart and then building them up again, tighter, clearer, and better. I love the back-and-forth discussions with my editors, and I have learned that a perceptive and trusted editor is a precious find.
It was my enjoyment of editing that persuaded me to work with other authors.
If I appreciate the challenge of untangling and tightening stories, why not do it more often? If I enjoy talking about books, why not have more of those conversations with interesting individuals telling their fascinating tales?
I take pride when I see writers whose manuscripts I’ve commented on, holding copies of their new books with grins of delight on their faces. That is why my fees include a request for a signed copy of your published masterpiece so that I can boast, “I was there! This was my adventure too!”
I have written, edited and published many styles of book. This gives me a broad range of experience to help you navigate your own writing journey. My books span the genres of travel and memoir for adults, children’s fiction, guidebooks, and illustrated biographies for children. And I am currently in the middle of writing my first novel.
I have climbed as high as Number 8 on the Amazon UK Bestsellers Chart and won the Stanford’s Children’s Travel Book of the Year award. On the other hand, I’ve also had plenty of not very glowing book reviews. I can help you prepare for the inevitability of those as you release your precious baby out into an unsympathetic world!
Over the years, I’ve prepared proposals for agents, signed deals with major publishers like Harper Collins and Bonnier Books, worked with independent publishing houses, and self-published books.
I have encountered editors so useless that they inserted more spelling mistakes than they found and drove me into a rage! I’ve collaborated with editors whose emails I treated like exciting Christmas presents as I knew how much they improved my work. And I once even published a book without showing it to a single editor or proof-reader in advance, which I enjoyed doing but wouldn’t recommend!
I understand how important your book is to you. I know how hard it is to untangle your story and tell it well. And I appreciate how much great editors improve my own books. My mission is to provide an honest, constructive, insightful, and good value edit. I will do all I can to help you write the best possible book.
You can read more about me here.