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 80 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; Sarah Rouse, our desk editor; Isobel Leach, our assistant 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.
Isobel Leach graduated from Oxford University in July 2019, where she read French. Spending two years as a bookseller at The Alligator’s Mouth, an independent children’s bookshop in Richmond, sparked her interest in the publishing world. After interning in a copywriting agency in Paris as part of her year abroad, she undertook work experience at Caskie Mushens Literary Agency. Isobel joined the Cornerstones team as an editorial assistant in October 2019, and was promoted to Assistant Editor in January 2021. Her role includes managing author/client relations and assisting in assessing submissions, proofreading and copyediting editorial reports. Isobel enjoys reading everything from literary and commercial fiction, to memoir and YA.
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 assessing submissions, liaising with editors, authors, and agents, sourcing editorial talent, and overseeing the development of projects, in addition to scouting. 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.