Nina Rachel Leon
“You mustn’t assume that aesthetic expression is the prime motive for writing; it is really only a means to the more profound end. So, don’t worry about it if you write out of sadness or hate or love – fear – or fascination, the important thing, if you wish to do it, is to write.” Ralph Waldo Ellison (1913 – 1994)
After graduating from the University of Cape Town, I worked in the film industry for a year. It was during this time that I realised where my true passion lay- in publishing. Every moment of my career thus far has cemented my passion for the publishing industry.
In 2019 I undertook an honours degree in publishing at the University of Pretoria. I have since then, read for a literary agency in the UK as well as Pan Macmillan South Africa.
In 2021 I completed an internship with the Irene Goodman Literary Agency of New York working with principal, Whitney Ross – a priviledge and an exciting learning experience.
I am currently a Junior Literary Agent with High Spot Literary Agency of Auckland and loving every moment of my career!
Bachelor of Arts (Film & Television and
Media & Writing) University of Cape Town
Bachelor of Information Science (Hons) (Publishing) University of Pretoria
Contact Nina to discuss, your needs, the services that are offered and any information you are seeking
“There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”
W. Somerset Maugham (1874 – 1965)
Manuscript editorial work (or copy-editing) is the process of polishing up and correcting a manuscript. In this process, everything from grammatical errors, sentence structure, clarity of plot, and character development is perfected in preparation for either submission to a publisher, self-publishing, or traditional publishing. The editorial process can make or break a book, and is therefore one of the most crucial elements to get right during the publication process. Furthermore, a well-edited manuscript stands out against poorly edited manuscripts when being reviewed by publishers or literary agents. Editorial work also includes fact checking to ensure that what is written is accurate. My editorial services ensure your manuscript will be as succinct, well-written and polished as possible. I can help make your character and scene descriptions are colourful, interesting, and suited to the tone of the book, the plot clear and logical, and that the book flow. These are all factors that publishers and literary agents look for in submissions.
Publishers and literary agencies are often flooded with manuscripts (either full or the first three chapters). These publishers and agents hire people with knowledge of publishing and writing to read through submissions. The reading process generally follows a three step system. If a reader rejects a manuscript in round one, that manuscript will not be read by publishers further down the line. If your submission is approved by two readers (as publishers like to cross check approval) then a full manuscript is requested. If the author passes round three, then their manuscript will be put forward to publishers or agents for consideration. My services as a reader include reading through submissions and drawing up a report for each. Reports highlight the strengths and weakness of the author writing, whether their story is relatable is terms of the themes it touches on, and whether or not it would likely succeed in the market.
Self-publishing has become a popular alternative to traditional publishing. To authors rejected by traditional publishers (or those not wanting to take the traditional route- which happens) it serves as a chance to make sure their book is published and potentially read by a vast audience through online platforms such as Amazon kindle. But self-publishing is a tricky process which sees the author shouldering every step in the publishing process that would be handled by a traditional publishing team. The author carries the financial risk and is responsible for the quality of editorial work, as well as marketing and sales management. It is therefore of the utmost My services include guiding you through the complicated self-publishing process. I will offer a step by step guide to the process, as well as general advice and support.
Ghost writing is the answer to “I have a story I want to tell, but I’m not a writer”. Ghost writing is writing someone else’s story for them-whether that story is a biography or general fiction. For those who don’t have the time or the ability to write, a ghost writer is there to write your book for you. Conversations are had, ideas are shared, and once the writer understands the book perfectly, they can write it. There are more books than you think that have been written by a ghost writer. Often celebrities or politicians make use of this services as a well to tell their story without having to dedicate months to sitting down and writing it.
My services involve receiving a book idea and then bringing that book to life in a way that reflects the would-be author.
Writing a book and writing a film script are two very different things, yet many books go on to the adapted into film scripts. Many of the greatest films ever made were adapted from books. But many films are original and were created only for the screen. Each process is unique and requires a different approach and skillset.
My services include book to script adaptation as well as general screenplay writing based on the story provided.
RESEARCH & TRAINING
“That day Mount Vesuvius erupted in 1473, was a day the world would remember.”
Does something about that sentence feel off? Well, it should. Mount Vesuvius actually erupted in AD 79. That isn’t the type of fact you want to get wrong in your book. Getting your facts right is essential when writing- and not just when you’re writing non-fiction. Even fiction writing should be factually correct. Fact checking takes time and requires detailed research- but getting it wrong could damage the integrity of your work. My services as a research include researching all facts needed for your book- both for fiction of non-fiction. Everything from historical dates or names of cities will be double checked and then checked again.
While writing a book can be incredible fun and hugely rewarding, it is a task done by you and you alone. Writing is a long process and can often through you curve balls or leave you with a bad case of writer’s block. Whether you’re a new writer or a seasoned one, having a mentor and guiding hand can be a saving grace. As a writer, I know how important it is to have someone to turn to for advice or help. My services include providing a guiding hand at any point in the writing process. Everything from charters and scene setting to plot layout and structure, I will be able to help you where needed.
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“Sometimes the ideas just come to me. Other times I have to sweat and almost bleed to make ideas come. It’s a mysterious process, but I hope I never find out exactly how it works. I like a mystery, as you may have noticed.” J.K. Rowling
“My first feeling was that there was no way to continue. Writing isn’t like math; in math, two plus two always equals four no matter what your mood is like. With writing, the way you feel changes everything.” Stephenie Meyer