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. The core team works alongside Natalie Young to handle our new author enquiries. 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, later becoming Managing Editor 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.
Former Times journalist and Arts Editor of Prospect Magazine, Natalie Young is the bestselling author of Season to Taste or How to Eat Your Husband, published by Hodder Headline in the UK in 2014, Little Brown in the US and translated into several languages. Natalie is currently working with an all-women director, producer, writer team to bring Season to Taste to the big screen. Her first novel, We All Ran into the Sunlight was published by Short Books in 2011 and she is currently working on her third. She is a laser-sharp editor and passionate mentor of new authors and has been on the Cornerstones editorial team since October 2016.
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 becoming the Assistant Editor in March, and the Desk Editor in October 2018. 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. Over the past 20 years, she has developed it into the UK’s leading literary consultancy. She is passionate about writing, editing, and launching new authors, and particularly focused on the essential but mysterious art of self-editing. Helen and her team of over 80 UK and US editorial consultants use their working knowledge of the global book market to show what is and isn’t working in your manuscript, and how to fix it and fulfil the promise of your big idea, preparing for submission to agents and publishers and— eventually— publication. She is the co-author of On Editing (John Murray, 2018), the all-encompassing guide to self-editing, as well as the co-founder of Edit Your Novel the Professional Way, its associated online course.