Helen Mortimer

Helen Mortimer - Editor

Oxford, UK

I am a freelance editor with over 25 years of in-house experience in children's publishing.

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Overview

I am an extremely diligent and imaginative freelance editor with over 25 years’ in-house children’s publishing experience. Having worked for Oxford University Press, Simon and Schuster, Gullane Children’s Books, David Bennett Books, Quarto and HarperCollins, I offer a range of services that can be tailored to your needs.
My area of expertise is in picture books, gift books, young fiction, pre-school, novelty and illustrated non-fiction. I love the alchemy that develops on the page as words and pictures combine to create a powerful storytelling whole for children and adults alike.
I can provide manuscript review, story shaping, help with character development, plotting and pacing for both picture books and young fiction.
I have worked with some stellar authors and illustrators including Lauren Child, Catherine Rayner, Yuval Zommer, Valerie Thomas, Korky Paul, Jane Clarke, Tom Moorhouse, Richard Byrne, Corrinne Averiss, Fiona Woodcock, David Roberts and many, many more.
I think this testimonial from Layn Marlow best describes what it's like to work with me: ‘Helen is an exceptionally talented editor. I’ve always found her to have a light touch coupled with deep understanding and this sensitivity extends to the all-important visuals too. Helen always manages to be friendly, prompt and responsive at the same time as taking a well-considered, thoughtful approach to every project. For me, that’s a perfect combination!’


Languages
English (UK)
Non-Fiction
Children's - Non-fiction
Fiction
Middle Grade
Picture Books

Certifications

  • University of Cambridge MA Hons Geography

Work experience

Freelance editor

Self-employed
July, 2019 – Present (over 1 year)

Senior Commissioning Editor

Oxford University Press
November, 2004 – July, 2019 (over 14 years)

Through commissioning and delivering exciting picture books, character brands, young fiction and gift
publishing, I helped to shape and build a successful children’s list.

My stable of authors and illustrators included Richard Byrne, Corrinne Averiss, Fiona Woodcock, Sean Sims, Layn Marlow, Tim Warnes, Lalalimola, Mark Sperring, Lauren Child, Briony May Smith, Tom Moorhouse, Ross Collins, Rebecca Ashdown, Sarah McIntyre, Valerie Thomas, Korky Paul and Simon Rickerty.

• Commissioned and edited commercially successful titles with strong market and customer appeal.
• Attracted high-profile author and illustrator talent to the list, including David Roberts, Yuval Zommer
and Catherine Rayner.
• Generated new ideas, characters and concepts for pre-school titles, picture books and young fiction
before bringing creative teams together to realise them.
• Developed storylines and wrote texts.
• Rejuvenated backlist gems into new formats appropriate for today’s market.
• Provided trusted author and illustrator care, including career and creative development support.
• Offered industry insights to organisations such as SCBWI, Bath Spa University and The Story Museum
through one-to-one mentoring, panel events and presentations.

Portfolio (6 selected works)

This book just ate my dog!

Richard Byrne

When her dog disappears into the gutter of the book, Bella calls for help. But when the helpers disappear too, Bella realizes it will take more than a tug on the leash to put things right. Cleverly using the physicality of the book, This book just ate my dog! is inventive, ingenious, and just pure kid-friendly fun!

When her dog disappears into the gutter of the book, Bella calls for help. But when the helpers disappear too, Bella realizes it will take more than a tug on the leash to put things right. Cleverly using the physicality of the book, This book just ate my dog! is inventive, ingenious, and just pure kid-friendly fun!

The Tree That's Meant to Be

Yuval Zommer

This Christmas, families can together this heartfelt, gorgeous holiday story about a lonely little Christmas tree that learns what it means to be loved—with a powerful message to children that they are perfect just as they are.A small, crookled fir tree is left all alone after the others near it in the forest are chosen by families as Christmas to bring home. But when the forest animals gather... read more

This Christmas, families can together this heartfelt, gorgeous holiday story about a lonely little Christmas tree that learns what it means to be loved—with a powerful message to children that they are perfect just as they are.A small, crookled fir tree is left all alone after the others near it in the forest are chosen by families as Christmas to bring home. But when the forest animals gather... read more

A Dot in the Snow

Corrinne Averiss

As Miki the polar bear romps in the snow, he spots a bright red dot far off in the distance. It turns out to be . . . a little girl with a twinkly face and gurgling laugh! Now Miki has someone to play with. Together the brand-new friends toss snowballs, have icy adventures, and eventually find their way home to snuggle with their mothers. Wonderfully sweet and spare illustrations capture a win... read more

As Miki the polar bear romps in the snow, he spots a bright red dot far off in the distance. It turns out to be . . . a little girl with a twinkly face and gurgling laugh! Now Miki has someone to play with. Together the brand-new friends toss snowballs, have icy adventures, and eventually find their way home to snuggle with their mothers. Wonderfully sweet and spare illustrations capture a win... read more

Ginger the Kitten (Dr. KittyCat #9)

Jane Clarke

We'll be there in a whisker!On a bright sunny day, Thistledown Meadow is the perfect place for a nature walk. But when frisky little kitten Ginger gets stung by a bee, it's up to Dr. KittyCat to come to her rescue!This book has two-color art inside! Supercute photographs of real puppies and kittens combine with hand-drawn blue line art for a completely unique look.

We'll be there in a whisker!On a bright sunny day, Thistledown Meadow is the perfect place for a nature walk. But when frisky little kitten Ginger gets stung by a bee, it's up to Dr. KittyCat to come to her rescue!This book has two-color art inside! Supercute photographs of real puppies and kittens combine with hand-drawn blue line art for a completely unique look.

I Don't Want to Be a Pea!

Ann Bonwill

Title: I Don't Want to Be a Pea! <>Binding: Hardcover <>Author: AnnBonwill <>Publisher: AtheneumBooksforYoungReaders

Title: I Don't Want to Be a Pea! <>Binding: Hardcover <>Author: AnnBonwill <>Publisher: AtheneumBooksforYoungReaders

I want to go first!

Richard Byrne

The littlest always goes last―that’s the elephant rule. But Elphie, the littlest elephant, is determined to go first. And where there’s a will, there’s a way! With a little help from you, reader.From the author-illustrator of This book just ate my dog! comes a new hilarious interactive picture book.

The littlest always goes last―that’s the elephant rule. But Elphie, the littlest elephant, is determined to go first. And where there’s a will, there’s a way! With a little help from you, reader.From the author-illustrator of This book just ate my dog! comes a new hilarious interactive picture book.

Helen has 3 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Juhi A
Helen is a very experienced editor. Her valuable editorial feedback helped in transforming my manuscript a lot. Thank you Helen for all your help.

Juhi A, August 2020

Helen Mortimer
Hello Juhi, I am glad you found the comments useful. Good luck with your ongoing work on this manuscript and your other ideas. Keep writing!

Reply from Helen Mortimer


Jenica Leah
Working with Helen was a pleasure. Communication was great and delivery was ahead of time. Thank you so much.

Jenica Leah, July 2020

Helen Mortimer
Thank you so much for this review Jenica and good luck with all your publishing ventures!

Reply from Helen Mortimer


Freeman Ng
Provided really detailed feedback on my picture book dummy, even going beyond what was asked for in a few cases, that didn't just point out lots of individual problems for me to fix, but helped me regularize the layout of the entire book in a way that, in itself, adding significantly to the power of the book. I felt like I had just undergone a course in picture book design!

Freeman Ng, June 2020

Helen Mortimer
Thank you for your review, Freeman, and best of luck for the rest of your picture book's journey.

Reply from Helen Mortimer

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