When I worked at Penguin, reading the slush pile late into the night, I saw many promising manuscripts declined because the work wasn’t ready, leaving the author unsure where to turn. So in 1998 I launched Cornerstones Literary Consultancy, providing writers with editorial help and guidance, and helping authors to prepare for submission and publication.
We believe that if we can tell a writer in five minutes what it may take them months to discover, that’s a good thing!
For years we’ve sustained the ranking of No. 1 UK literary consultancy; now we’ve launched in America, making us the first transatlantic literary consultancy.
Cornerstones has over 60 editorial consultants, all chosen for their agenting, publishing or writing experience. Every report is checked in-house to ensure a consistency and quality of advice that is paramount to our service. Michele Rubin, our US managing editor; Julie Gourinchas, our UK managing editor; Sarah Rouse, our desk editor; and myself are all on hand to answer your queries and guide your progress. Kathryn Price, my co-director for ten years, is now our chief editor and course tutor.
Cornerstones is a skills-based company and we strongly believe that self-editing techniques can be taught. We regularly give lectures at universities, writer conferences and workshops. Check out our Twitter feed for upcoming events and discussions.
Julie Gourinchas earned her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. An internship with an independent Portland publishing house, Elly Blue Publishing, nurtured a nascent interest in the publishing world. She pursued this dream while attending the Columbia Publishing Course at Oxford University in September 2016. Julie joined the Cornerstones team as an editorial assistant in 2017, and was later promoted within her first year. Her role includes managing author/editor relations, sourcing new editorial talent, and assisting Helen with scouting. Julie’s reading interests include literary fiction, southern gothic, historical, young adult, and narrative nonfiction.
Sarah Rouse graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature. She has prior experience as a proofreader and copyeditor, and completed internships at OUP and Palgrave Macmillan during her time at university. Sarah joined the Cornerstones team in September 2017 as the editorial assistant, before her promotion. Her role involves liaising with authors and editors, assessing new author enquiries, tracking project progress, and assisting the team. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys reading literary and experimental fiction, poetry, noir, dark/urban YA, and suspense narratives.
Helen Corner-Bryant spent a number of years in editorial at Penguin before setting up Cornerstones Literary Consultancy in 1998. In 2016, she opened Cornerstones US, creating the world’s first transatlantic literary consultancy. Cornerstones is known for teaching self-editing techniques, providing feedback on all types of genres, scouting for agents, and launching many writers such as: Ayisha Malik, Sarwat Chadda, Ava McCarthy, Kate Glanville, Victoria Selman and Emily Gunnis. Helen is a guest lecturer at writer conferences and leading universities including UCL Centre for Publishing and the Columbia Publishing Course at Oxford University. She is co-author of On Editing: How to Edit Your Novel the Professional Way (John Murray, 2018) and director of the Cornerstones/PWA online course: Edit Your Novel the Professional Way.