Creativity is not a solitary process. It happens when talented people get together, when idea systems and mentalities merge. David Brooks, NYT

Recent Work

Here are a few of the recent projects I've had the privilege of collaborating on.

The Whole Foods Diet by John Mackey, Matthew Lederman, MD, and Alona Pulde, MD

Working with John Mackey, Matt Lederman, and Alona Pulde on The Whole Foods Diet was both an education and a pleasure. Publishers Weekly described it as “inspiring”: [The Whole Foods Diet] reaches beyond the typical diet plan tenets of eating right to feel better and lose weight; this plan is expressly intended to help save and...

Holacracy by Brian Robertson

Coming June 2015, this book has been many years in the making and I’m thrilled that it is being published by leading business publisher Henry Holt & Co., who won a bidding war for this exciting title. Working to help Brian translate his unique and innovative “business operating system”...

My Isl@m by Amir Ahmad Nasr

Congratulations to client Amir Ahmad Nasr on the publication of his acclaimed memoir My Isl@m from St. Martins Press. My Isl@m tells the story of Amir’s journey from the fundamentalism of his childhood to the freedom of the blogosphere. When I first heard his story, I was captivated by how...

Slow Medicine by Michael Finkelstein, M.D.

William Morrow, 2013 Working with Michael on the proposal and manuscript for Slow Medicine was a real privilege. Michael’s medical expertise, combined with his deep insights into the multidimensional nature of wellness, make his approach a truly integrative one. I looked forward to every opportunity to visit Michael & Robin at...

SQ21 by Cindy Wigglesworth

I loved working with Cindy Wigglesworth on this book and learning about her groundbreaking work on Spiritual Intelligence (SQ). I deeply appreciate her pragmatic approach to spirituality, and the way she’s translated often esoteric concepts into a measurable skill-set. Cindy is the creator of the first competency-based Spiritual Intelligence...

Evolutionaries by Carter Phipps

One of the projects I’m most proud to have been a part of (full disclosure – I’m married to the author!), “Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea,” was published June 26, 2012. I wrote the proposal which sold this book to Harper Perennial. Publishers’ Weekly called...

About Me

Ellen B&WI’ve always loved books. My dad taught me to read at the age of three (to the dismay of my Waldorf kindergarten teachers) and so began a life-long love affair with the written word. I can spend hours lost between the shelves of my favorite local bookstore, and nothing makes me happier than when I stumble upon a copy of a book that I helped to bring into the world.

I’ve been helping people fulfill their dreams of authorship since 2005. It’s been my privilege to collaborate with some amazing visionaries and leaders in the fields of business, spirituality, health, nutrition, and personal development, and I have played a role in the writing and publication of almost 20 books. Check out some of my recent work, read what my lovely clients have had to say about working with me, and learn more about how I work and the kinds of projects I’m looking for.

I grew up in beautiful Devonshire in South-west England, and got my degree in English from University College London. After working on B2B magazines for a few years, I moved to the U.S. in 2000 to work on the spiritual and cultural magazine EnlightenNext, where I honed my collaborative skills with an amazing team and edited interviews with spiritual, social, and scientific luminaries. I lived on the East Coast for 12 years before I discovered that there’s a place called California where the sun shines all year round.

These days, I live in a wonderful neighborhood in Oakland with my husband (author Carter Phipps) and our beloved cat Kitty (I know—couldn’t two writers come up with something better than that?). Most days, I can be found at the counter of my favorite coffee bar with my Mac Air and a mug of chai, writing someone else’s book and enjoying the sunshine. When I’m not working, I enjoy cycling, trail running, and wine-tasting—three more reasons why I feel so at home in this lovely state. I also like to cook. Very occasionally, I host elaborate vegetarian dinner parties with wine pairings for my closest friends. I blog about wines I love at

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Recent Blog Posts

December 28, 2014 |

Five Tips for Sustaining a New Year’s Writing Resolution

Did you know that as many as 40% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, but fewer than 8% will actually succeed? While it doesn’t figure in the Top 10 most common resolutions, one of the resolutions I tend to hear from people I meet is “I’m going to get my book written this year!” If this one’s on your list, here are five tips to help you beat the odds and be one of the few who actually succeed in following through. 1. Be Realistic Many people fail because the goals they set themselves are not realistic or achievable. If you’re a first-time author, for example, don’t set yourself up for failure by declaring that...

September 23, 2014 |

Planning Your Writing Retreat Part III: Choosing the Perfect Place

When you think “writing retreat,” do you dream of a secluded cabin in the woods, miles from anywhere? A beachfront condo on a tropical island? Or perhaps a mountain refuge, high above the world and its distractions? Unfortunately, options like those are not always available to writers, especially those struggling to make ends meet while pursuing their dream of authorship. But the places I described above may also, in fact, not be the most conducive choices. If you’ve decided to set aside some time for a writing retreat (read Part I in this series for more on why this is a good idea), your choice of place is critical. Here are some criteria I’ve...

July 23, 2014 |

Planning Your Writing Retreat Part II: Making the Best Use of Your Time

In the midst of our busy lives, many writers dream about getting away to some secluded haven with nothing but a laptop and a pile of books. If only we could escape all the distractions, we imagine we’d be blissfully focused and creative from dawn to dusk. The reality, however, is that most human beings are not built that way. In fact, it’s been estimated that most of us can do no more than 4.5 hours of our best, focused creative work each day, usually in three 90-minute increments. (For more on this idea, read this article from Tony Schwartz, founder of The Energy Project.)  And we need to make sure we build in time...

July 23, 2014 |

Planning Your Writing Retreat Part I: Why It’s a Good Idea

Do you struggle to find the time or energy to write amidst the demands of your busy life? Do you wonder when you’ll ever have the space to finish your book? For many of us, juggling work, family, and some semblance of a social life barely leaves time to catch up on email, let alone dig in to a creatively demanding project like writing a book. Even those like myself, who are lucky enough to write for a living, can still find it challenging to carve out the focused time and space to be satisfyingly productive and creative. A great solution to this dilemma is to plan a Writing Retreat. Whether it’s a week,...

November 6, 2013 |

3 Ways to “Slow Down” Your Writing

I had lunch today with a new client who was having trouble writing on his blog. He had no shortage of ideas and was good at explaining them person-to-person, but found that when he sat down to write, the results were dense, hard to follow, and inaccessible to people not very familiar with his field. He asked me for some tips to “slow down” his writing process — to make sure he was connecting the dots and taking readers with him. I thought I’d share a few of my suggestions here — let me know if you find these helpful, and tell me about your favorite ways to add some breathing space to your writing!...

October 23, 2013 |

Is the Publishing Industry Thriving?

This month’s issue of the New Republic is dedicated to the theme of books, with a special feature section entitled “The Book Industry Is Thriving! Somehow.” It’s well worth a read for anyone who cares about books, and presents interesting evidence that the book has made the transition into the digital era better than any other major cultural product. Here’s a short excerpt from Evan Hughes’ article “Books Don’t Want to Be Free” and links below to read the full articles. At the individual level, everyone in the trade—whether executive, editor, agent, author, or bookseller—faces threats to his or her livelihood: self-publishing, mergers and “efficiencies,” and, yes, the suspicious motives of Amazon executives. But the book...

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