Can a former newspaper reporter and editor make a successful transition to fiction editing? I believe so,
with every ounce of my being. I do line-by-line editing of my authors’ manuscripts, correcting errors both
major and minor. Along with basic copy editing, I look for ways to augment and enhance the story and
work in tandem with the author to create the best story possible. If I agree to edit a manuscript, it means I
believe in the basic premise. Even the greatest novels benefit from a professional edit, and that’s where I
There is a school of thought — and I used to subscribe to this belief when I was a newspaper reporter —
that a writer can churn out clean copy through diligent self-editing. Invariably, this approach fails; for
whatever reason, and I believe it can be traced to psychological roots, a writer cannot successfully self-edit
on a consistent basis. When I was a reporter, there were myriad occasions when I found myself in a horrified mental state because of some simple error that completely altered the direction of the story. Fortunately, my innocent but egregious mistakes were usually sussed out by seasoned professional editors.
I’ve been fortunate to have worked with several talented authors over the past few years. With a deep and varied background as a newspaper reporter and
editor, I was not a complete novice in the editing realm. After leaving the newspaper industry, I had designs on transitioning to editing books but I knew not
where to turn. Enter author extraordinaire Darcia Helle. Though sharing the same surname, Darcia and I were not directly related. We met through sheer
Facebook happenstance. She needed an editor and I needed a start. We clicked right away, on every conceivable level.
I’ve been able to parlay that chance meeting into a successful and ultra-satisfying side career as an editor of scintillating novels. Though I have not forsaken
my day job, I do embrace the opportunity to form partnerships with other indie authors.
Please contact me at Robert@quietfurybooks.com for additional information.
DARCIA HELLE: The right editor is absolutely a best friend. Even the most gifted author, with the best education and understanding
of language, can’t self-edit properly. For one thing, the brain simply doesn’t see those silly little mistakes in our own work. Another reason is that we authors are fully absorbed in our story. We know who the characters are, what their motives are, where the story is going and how it will end. Because we’re inside that story, it’s hard for us to be impartial. Maybe a character’s motives aren’t as clear as we’d thought. Or there could be a gaping hole in the plot that we didn’t see, because we were focused on a different aspect of the story. Editors’ viewpoints are vital in these instances.
An author and his/her editor have a special relationship. With the right match, an author can only get better. I’m fortunate to have an editor who is supportive,
has great instincts, and is truly a friend. Despite sharing the last name, Bob and I are not, that I know of, related. (Though I would love for Bob to be a family member!) If you're looking for someone who is both professional and approachable, who understands the business end of writing, and who will work hard with you to improve your book, Bob is your man.
LACEY CROWE, Sudbury, Ontario: Whether you’re taking the traditional publishing route or you’re an indie author, the assistance of an editor is invaluable. It was only after I hired Bob that my manuscript began to garner interest from agents and publishers. Not only is he an exceptional editor, he is
timely, supportive, communicative, affordable, and an absolute pleasure to work with. I highly recommend his services.
JOE SCHWARTZ: Bob Helle is not the first editor I have worked with, but he is the first to ever actually have a vision for my work and not merely come on board to make corrections regarding grammar and style. Bob was able to convince me to make some tough decisions, confront me when something simply didn't work, and always made himself available to me when I had questions. His care and regard for me as an artist and the treatment of my work as valuable convinced me early on that Bob Helle was likely as concerned about my novel as I was. If you are in the market for an editor, there are many, but very few like Bob Helle. His eye for detail, along with his sense of style, will reflect a writer's vision long after the work is published. I am absolutely grateful to Bob for taking my book seriously, seeing it truly as art, and treating it like it was his very own masterpiece. Thank you, Bob!
MARIA SAVVA, London, England: Bob is a brilliant editor. He has the ability to help the author make the best of a story. He has edited many short stories for me for The Mind's Eye Series and I found his help invaluable. It really showed me that a good editor can take all the stress out of the editing process. I now feel much more relaxed when I'm writing stories for that series, knowing that it will be seen by a trained eye and that he'll catch any mistakes. He also gives great feedback as to what he thought of the story. This led to me actually changing one of my stories to add extra detail, and I was much happier with the final version. Bob also suggests different words for certain sentences and I always find his suggestions to be spot on. I would definitely recommend him as an editor and am hoping to be able to use his services for more of my work in the future.
J. MICHAEL RADCLIFFE: Bob Helle is a pleasure to work with - he provides prompt turnaround on my stories and always has meaningful feedback for me. His suggestions have been spot on, and have helped me 'tighten up' several of my short stories. I'd gladly choose him for editing any time.