London-based freelance book editor, ghostwriter and writing mentor. Co-author of two New York Times top-ten bestsellers and editor of numerous UK bestsellers.

If you want to write a book or have a manuscript that needs editing, I can help.


I’ve co-authored books on subjects from popular history to personal development and digital technology. If you’re a publisher and you’re interested in my services, I’m represented by Gordon Wise at Curtis Brown. If you’re an aspiring author with a great idea but you’re not sure you could write a book yourself, I could write it for you.

Editorial for commissioning editors

Looking for someone to transform a tricky manuscript into a successful book? I specialise in non-fiction projects that need heavy editing or rewriting. I can take a collection of notes and turn them into a clearly argued and carefully structured book. I work closely with authors so the voice remains theirs and they keep ownership of their project.

Editorial for authors

Want your book to be the best it can possibly be?
I’ve worked with indie authors on their novels, memoirs, self-help books and non-fiction proposals. I specialise in manuscript assessment and structural editing. I can give an opinion on your work or go a step further with detailed feedback and suggestions.

Mentoring for writers

Trying to become a writer but not sure how to start?
Already writing but struggling with a particular project?
Whether you’re writing for fun, trying to get published or to build a career in writing, I can mentor you to help you achieve your goals.
“Helen’s input was invaluably wise, adept and always persuasively delivered. Her qualities make her the best literary editor I’ve worked with.”
John Naish – journalist and author of Enough

My experience

I’ve been a freelance editor, writer and all-round literary consultant for nine years. During that time I’ve helped to run a weekly group for writers and have made the transition from editor to writer myself.
My regular editorial clients include UK publishing imprints such as Michael Joseph, Penguin Life, Hutchinson, Canongate, Hodder & Stoughton, Two Roads and Sceptre. I also work with individual writers in every genre from all over the English-speaking world.
Before I went freelance I commissioned non-fiction for Hodder & Stoughton. I’ve also worked in a rights agency in Paris and (way back when I was starting out) in the publicity and editorial departments at Virago.
“Alongside her outstanding editing skills, Helen possesses a temperament that makes all the difference: she is calm, supportive, judicious, perceptive and endlessly patient.”
Anna Swan – author of Statues Without Shadows

What my clients say about me

“Helen not only tolerated my eccentricities but fooled me into thinking that her brilliant ideas for improvements were actually mine. Quite simply the best book editor I have ever worked with.”
John Humphrys – journalist, broadcaster and author


“Thank you for your patient, sensitive and insightful comments. It really is very rewarding to have that kind of attention devoted to my work.”
John Dickie – Professor of Italian Studies at University College, London and author of the international bestsellers Cosa Nostra and Blood Brotherhoods


“Helen worked as an editor at Hodder for several years where she was supremely talented and efficient, regularly turning problem manuscripts into bestsellers. I would recommend her highly.”
Rowena Webb – Director of Non-fiction Publishing, Hodder & Stoughton


“Helen has the perfect blend of supportive encouragement and editorial rigour for a first-time author. She applied her razor-sharp editorial skills to restructure my novel, which I hope to publish in the coming year. I can’t recommend her highly enough.”
Tim Martin – first-time novelist


“I started working with Helen during a difficult transitional time in my life. I wanted to take the next step in building my writing career but I needed serious help getting my priorities straight and rediscovering a sense of confidence in my writing. Helen was more than just a mentor: she was a life coach, a therapist and a guru. Through our work together I was able to find new direction in my writing projects.”
Deb Sperling – memoirist and editor
“Helen’s appreciation of the writer’s experience and her honest, spot-on suggestions gave immediate credibility to her opinions. I had the utmost confidence in her. And she works fast.”
Steve Sundberg – indie author of the novel Street Logic

My story

I’ve been a fanatical reader all my life. By the time I went to the University of Leeds to study English literature I had already decided that I wanted to work in publishing. Twenty years on, collaborating with authors still feels to me like the best job in the world.
I now live in north-east London with my husband and daughters, but for nine years I was based in Buenos Aires so I speak and read Spanish fluently. I am fascinated by bilingualism and literary translation.
In my spare time I’m finishing my first novel. (You’d think I’d get a hobby that didn’t involve yet more hours at the keyboard in search of the right word.)
helen coyle my story portrait
“Helen is an editor with surgical precision — her cuts are delicate and leave no scars. I really can’t recommend her highly enough.”
Ashley Dartnell – author of Farangi Girl

Say hello! Let’s talk about your project.

helen coyle portrait 2


Tel: +44 (0)208 123 5312

Skype: helencoyle