Helen BleckAdvanced Professional Member
|Location||Pencaitland, East Lothian|
Editor, copy-editor and proofreader based near Edinburgh, Scotland, with over 20 years' publishing experience both in-house and freelance.
I work with publishers, authors, businesses and museums on educational, academic, narrative non-fiction and fiction projects, whether they are for online, electronic or print publication. My specialisms are in the arts and humanities, with a focus on history, society, film, literature and general fiction, especially Fantasy. My MA in German with European history and my MLitt in Fantasy Literature fruitfully complement each other in my work. Although my experience is mainly in project management, editing, copy-editing and proofreading, I have also typeset books (using 3B2 and QuarkXPress) and worked in electronic publishing, as well as website creation, writing and editing (WordPress). Since going freelance in 2008 I have also been mentoring 'beginning writers', helping them improve their writing and prepare it for submission to publishers or for self-publishing.
I welcome all enquiries and provide a prompt, friendly, confidential and professional service. For more information, have a look at my website editingforwriters.com, or email me: [email protected]
Copy-editing, proofreading, plain/clear English, anglicizing, developmental/substantive editing, editing non-native English, project management, research, rewriting, website editing, writing.
Books, educational materials, illustrated books, journals, multi-author books, online materials, specialist papers, dictionaries, websites/blogs.
Freelance since 2008; Managing Editor, Canongate Books, 2004-2008; Project Manager, National Library of Scotland, 2001-2003; Editor and Project Manager, Chambers Harrap, 1997-2001. I also worked for East Lothian Council's Museum Service as Resources Development Officer, 2010-15, alongside my freelance publishing work.
Most recently: Introduction to Fiction Editing (CIEP) 2021, Efficient Editing (SfEP) 2018, Proofreading Progress (SfEP) 2018.
Ongoing training and experience in Mentoring with Creative Edinburgh.
Canongate Books, Birlinn Ltd, Collins Learning, Hodder Gibson, Edinburgh University Press, Sandstone Press, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Pearson Education, and numerous self-published authors
archaeology (Scottish), children's/teenage publishing (educational/informative, English, history; fiction), fiction (adult, crime/mystery/thrillers, literary, popular, science fiction/fantasy), history (British, European, World War 1, World War II)
MA German with European History, MLitt Fantasy Literature, Postgraduate Diploma in Information Studies with Librarianship.
I’ve really appreciated Helen’s proofreading work and her professional, responsive communication. Thank you Helen!
Joanna Ramsay, editor, Collins Learning
Helen has been working with the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland’s publication team as a copyeditor, proofreader and project manager for over a decade. She is a pleasure to work with, establishes great working relationships with our authors and is always prompt and responsive. Her experience with editorial work makes her insight and input into our style guide particularly valuable.
Catherine Aitken, managing editor, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Thank you for our wonderful collaborations! It's been a true pleasure to work with you and your fantastic talents. The perfect tonic for our projects.
Sally Lewis, print and marketing coordinator, Scottish Book Trust
You were an absolute joy to work with and the book is so much better for your valuable input.
Colin Gardner, Professor of Critical Theory and Integrative Studies at the University of California, whose thought-provoking and pertinent book, Chaoid Cinema, is published by Edinburgh University Press.
Helen copyedited my first manuscript, which I am currently polishing, and it was exhilarating to work with her. Her unique blend of precision and lightness of touch made it much easier to see my work with fresh eyes. The fact that she understood what I was trying to do instantly and that we shared important literary references made this difficult process pleasant and efficient. I hope we will work together again in the future. I couldn’t recommend her enough.
Giulia Loi, author of Children of Mars (working title)
Helen is a fantastic editor. She has helped me with two of my books so far. The first was a fantasy novel which required structural editing to create a much shorter second edition, and Helen was very supportive. She suggested exercises and techniques to help me learn how to pace and rewrite sections, and it was a much better book afterwards! The second book is a romance I'm working on, and her perspective was enormously helpful in working out how to improve the characters and balance of the novel. I would definitely recommend her!
Cole Todd, beginning author
Thanks very much for your invaluable work on my manuscript - you’ve improved it enormously.
Ian Ritchie, author of the memoir of his time at the cutting-edge of interactive IT development, The Web before the Web
From my shambles of disconnected thoughts, you created a magical, enjoyable and intensely readable book. I am acutely aware that without your help, Shaping the Shadows would never have seen the light of day.
I consider it a privilege to have worked alongside such a professional and capable talent, whose precision and eye for ordered detail made a significant contribution to my book.
Mark Littlewood, author of the memoir of his career in film, Shaping the Shadows
I engaged Helen to undertake a manuscript assessment and copyedit of two draft novels (one to be published in 2022, the other in 2023). Helen took time to talk with me about my writing preferences and what I hoped for from the process, provided sample edits before I committed to engaging her, and then delivered comprehensive reports on both manuscripts that exceeded my expectations.
If you are a new writer, like me, and are looking for an experienced professional editor to help you make your book the best it can be, then I can't recommend Helen highly enough.
Ian Burdon, author of The Raven and the Hart and (forthcoming) The Magpie Rhyme