Friday, February 10, 2012

Helen Woodall Freelance Editor

A lot of writers are self-pubbing these days and are looking for a freelance editor. Other authors are looking for an editor to proof their work before they submit it to the house they want to publish with. Guesting with us today is free lance editor Helen Woodall. Helen edited The Crystal, The Amulet series, Silverhills and many other books you've read through Ellora's Cave and Cerridwen. I really enjoyed working with Helen and, if you are in need of an editor, I believe you will too.

Helen Woodall has been editing professionally and full-time for over twenty years, first for an Australian company with newspapers, magazines and books in their stable; then for an Australia-wide newspaper; and finally for Ellora’s Cave from 2006 until October 2011.
She is now a freelance editor of both fiction, and non-fiction, using US English or Australian English.


If you want to succeed in a writing career you have to treat it professionally, as a business. Your facts and choreography must be accurate, just as your spelling and grammar should be. Several years ago in Australia a fiction book won a bunch of awards. Until some readers realized that the two countries where the heroine supposedly walked across the border from one to the other do not share a border. Do your research and get it right. And yes, the awards were taken away from the book and the author and publishing house were castigated for their unprofessionalism.

A freelance editor can choose how much input she’s prepared to give. I do not rewrite anything, nor do I go researching your book for you. I will indicate where your spelling, grammar, POV etc are wrong, telling you what CMOS/common practice would use, and/or with suggestions to fix your problems. I’ll suggest you check historical and geographical facts if they seem inaccurate or messy to me. I’ll point out where I think there are plot holes and loose threads. But it is the author’s choice whether or not they accept my suggestions. This is very different from publishing houses which have strict rules to be followed and where the author is often bound by her contract to follow house style.

If your book is being written for a specific publisher, I’ll check to make sure you’re following their submission guidelines, formatting and style.

This is a business relationship, it’s not personal. I will offer advice that is soundly grounded in what is expected by publishing houses and which will help you sell your book. You pay me. It’s up to you whether you accept my advice or not.Fiction writing is a tough business world. Readers are picky and want a good book. That is, they want a clean manuscript, and a solid story without plot holes and inconsistencies. If it’s an erotic romance they want hot sex and a genuine connection between the characters too. If you give them that they will be faithful and come back and buy all your books, and tell their friends about how wonderful your books are.

I update my blog with tips and hints for writers and aspiring writers several times each week:
If you have any questions contact me at:

Helen Woodall


Sherry Morris said...

Hi Helen!
I've heard how fabulous you are for years. :) How has going Indie changed your life for the better?

Diana Layne said...

Good info to have! Good luck with your new career path!

Clover Autrey said...

This is a great business to be in right now.

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Hi Helen! So glad you're freelancing!

Helen Woodall: Freelance Editing said...

Hi Sherry, The fun part of being freelance means I no longer have to work with overly dramatic divas, or books that really need far too much rewriting. I'm really enjoying this stage of my career.
Thanks for the good wishes Diana.
Absolutely Clover.
Hi Julia, Nice to see you again.
Sandra, thanks for the warm welcome and for hosting me today.

Sandra Cox said...

Always my pleasure, Helen. Glad you stopped by.

Shelley Munro said...

Ah, I didn't realize you were doing freelance editing. I'll definitely keep this in mind.

Helen Woodall: Freelance Editing said...

Hi Shelley,