Meeting writers on the page since 1996

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Our Story

Founded at the kitchen table…

The Literary Consultancy was started at the kitchen table of writer and editor Rebecca Swift in Crouch End, London. It was 1996. No other service like TLC existed.

Honest, professional feedback – for all writers

Becky and co-founder Hannah Griffiths had identified during their time in corporate publishing that there was a need for a space where writers working at any level could get honest, professional feedback; the kind that was usually reserved for those who had already gained book deals.

Unique founding principles

The key was to provide feedback that was market-aware, but that also engaged with the writing, and was at all times mindful of a writer’s motivations: why they might be writing in the first place. A thesis was produced: Is There Anybody Reading Me? (Tavistock Centre, 1999). The thesis is available on our website as a free ebook, as a reminder of TLC’s unique, psychoanalytic founding principles.

The best editors

Early readers for TLC included Richard Skinner, Julia Bell, Sara Maitland and Martin Ouvry. Since then, our team has grown. We now have a crack team of 90 first-class TLC Readers and Mentors covering all genres of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short stories, scripts and screenplays. Our editors are hand-selected, trained, and supported at every step by TLC. All TLC Readers and Mentors have biographies available on the website, and we hand-match every incoming manuscript with a Reader we feel is the best possible fit for your book. We don’t just employ big names: we recruit the best editors.

A track record for success

Over the years, TLC has supported more than 13,000 writers through its core services: Editing, Mentoring, and Events. We have helped hundreds of writers to get published and are immensely proud of the success of our clients. Beyond that, we’re just as proud that we can say we have helped writers build confidence, hone their writing skills, and gain a better understanding of their work and where it sits in the literary landscape. Have a look at our Testimonials page to hear from our clients directly.

More than just an editing service

We believe that high quality writing and editing services should be available for all, and are the only editorial consultancy to be core-funded by Arts Council England, with an Outstanding rating for our diversity and inclusion work with key literature development agencies across the country. Each year our partners submit work from talented, low-income and otherwise marginalised writers to our Free Reads scheme which offers a range of bursaries. In 2021, 20% of our professional writing services were offered at no cost to low-income writers, and 40% of our public programmes were bursaried or subsidised.

Our work has always been in service to writers, and to do this work we recognise the need for sector-wide advocacy: we have has always prided ourselves on TLC’s work with partners, from research institutions to charities and corporates engaging in advocacy, literary innovation, and social change. We offer consultancy and training on Ethical Editing to corporate publishers, and are currently developing a similar training offer for freelance editors.

In the writer’s corner

We can’t promise to get you published, because we don’t believe this can ever be a good faith promise. We can promise to take you and your writing seriously. Always. And to champion and support you however we can. We know from experience that the power of feedback can be transformative. With the right support, you will become a better writer.

We believe in the value of what we offer, and in advocating for authors in the same way that we advocate for editors. Our prices are competitive and inclusive of VAT – there are no hidden fees. And no aggressive up-sells.

Let’s talk

For more than 25 years, TLC has clearly set out our stall as fighting in the writer’s corner. We are here for you, and for your writing. Our dedicated in-house team is here to answer any questions, to help you get started.

Welcome. Let’s talk. 

“TLC is, put plainly, a force of good for writers.  Writing— and writing well— is such a solitary, often grueling endeavor. They champion, they challenge, they cheerlead. They look to demystify both the creative and professional sides of the writing experience.  My own career has come to fruition in large part thanks to their unwavering support, for which I’m forever grateful.”

Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott, author of Women’s Prize longlisted Swan Song


Arts Council England (ACE) – National Portfolio Organisation

Free Word – Founding Resident

Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) – Corporate Subscriber

Alliance of Independent Authors – Partner Member

Bridport Prize – Industry Partner

Rebecca Swift Foundation – Editing Partner

National Forest – Supporter (read about our pledge to plant trees for writers here)

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