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Many authors we have worked with over the years have gone on to be successful in trade publishing and self-publishing.

Brendan Nichols, one of Laurel Cohn's clients

Brendan Nichols
Your Soul Purpose
Harper Collins

Manuscript Development

'Laurel Cohn, did an outstanding job in editing and providing valuable feedback on my book. At all times she was genuinely interested in my project and often gave me great insight in how I could improve the text. The book went on to become a best-seller as a self-published book and then published by Harper Collins.'


about Madeline Oliver

'Got the report for my manuscript and am very impressed with how thorough and insightful Madeleine is. It was exactly the 'fresh eyes' I needed and gives me focus and direction (for this and other writing projects!). Thanks so much - will definitely recommend your ed consults to my writerly friends!' Louise Ralph

'Getting a manuscript assessment provided me with a sense of clarity that I was missing after several years of working on my novel. Reading the marked up manuscript was like looking over the shoulder of my audience and listening to their reaction as they read. Madeline provided a clear analysis of what the problems are in my novel and how I might fix them, as well as an indication of what works. Her suggestions for change have given me a vision of a greatly improved second draft.' Rebecca D.

about Maria Simms

'I'd like to express my appreciation for the superb quality of work provided by Maria Simms in assessing my manuscript, Mama's Courage. Her gentle and constructive guidance provided much relief and encouragement in preparation for the next stage of manuscript development. When I finally had an opportunity to read the report and review the mark-ups, my motivation soared. Maria was a ghost tutor in the manuscript assessment process. She has helped hone my writing skills and bring this book to life. Thank you!' Lisa Matousek

'I am very happy with the work that Maria Simms has done on my manuscript. The feedback has helped the book generally read better and has sharpened the message. Truly valuable! Please pass on my deep appreciation for the work she completed.' Warren Mayocchi

about Helen Williams

'I had this MS assessed last year by a freelance editor, and although it helped me to hone my original draft, it did not provide me with the detail of feedback I have received from your report.The feedback on the story, structure, problems with the plot, notes about pacing, the thoughts on the settings, characters, arcs, and the notes regarding my style of writing was exactly the type of feedback I was looking for. I needed to know if my story was heading in the right direction, if the plot and characters worked, if my writing style was interesting enough, and what areas I needed to work on to make the story as strong as possible, and your report gave me that and more. Thank you again.' K. M. Allen

'I found Helen’s comments to be incisive and helpful. She raised some good points about many things, and it was good for me to see that much of the novel was working as I had hoped, and surprising to see how an astute reader found themes and ideas in there that I may only have considered subconsciously. I am delighted with the feedback, and it has spurred me into re-editing.' Stewart Sheargold


Who are Laurel Cohn and Associates?

Laurel Cohn and Associates are passionate about communication and the power of words to engage, inspire and challenge. With expertise in editing, layout and design and project management, we are able to offer a comprehensive service as well as guidance and advice for anyone intending to publish in print or online.

Laurel Cohn and Associates offer active, intelligent and professional engagement with our clients, from individual writers to publishers, commercial businesses to government and community organisations. We work on book manuscripts, text for websites, newsletters, magazines, brochures, handbooks and reports.

Laurel Cohn and Associates are experienced in working with fiction (literary and popular), narrative non-fiction (e.g. memoir, biography), general non-fiction (e.g. reference, educational, how-to books) and children's books. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the genre of your manuscript.


Laurel Cohn, photo by Peter DerrettLAUREL COHN has been working with writers since the late 1980s, including five years with one of Australia's top literary agents and four years as Consultant Editor to the NSW Writers' Centre.

As a freelance editor she works with individual writers, publishers, businesses and community organisations, as well as presenting workshops on a range of writing, editing and publishing topics. She is experienced in editing fiction, children's books, narrative non-fiction, general non-fiction and illustrated non-fiction. She has a PhD in Literary and Cultural Studies.


Laurel Cohn Editing and Manuscript Development Services works with experienced editors, published authors and innovative designers.

DESMOND BARRY is an award-winning Welsh writer currently living in Australia. He has published novels, short stories and a range of non-fiction articles on travel, philosophy and the arts. His novels include The Chivalry of Crime, A Bloody Good Friday and Cressida’s Bed (all published by Jonathan Cape). Far South (Serpent’s Tail), a multi-platform novel with graphic novel sections and web-based components was finance by a Creative Wales Award. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Glamorgan. Currently, while working on his next writing project, he is a tutor in Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne.

MADELINE OLIVER has been writing and editing for many years. She studied Book Editing at Macleay College and has degrees in Sociology and Social Policy from UNSW. She is interested in most genres and loves collaborating with writers. In 2015 Random House published the popular women’s novel The Painted Sky, co-written by Madeline with four other members of her book club under the pseudonym Alice Campion. “Working in a group made me aware of the importance of structure," she says. "Constantly giving and getting feedback was excellent practise for critical appraisal and for honing writing techniques.” Since 2014, Madeline has run a weekly facilitated writing group at Gleebooks in Sydney and she gives workshops at writers' centres and festivals and for Varuna, The Writers' House. Madeline has also ghostwritten memoirs for clients and enjoys long-term mentoring. Her greatest satisfaction is in seeing writers progress from draft to draft as their stories unfold in fiction or non-fiction.

MARIA SIMMS is an editor and author who has been assessing a broad range of manuscripts for over two decades. Theatre sketches were a springboard into a career of writing long and short fiction and non-fiction, articles, book reviews, academic and business texts and advertising material. Her historical crime novel, The Dead House, published in 2008, was awarded New Holland Publishing’s prize for genre fiction. Jack’s War, an RAAF war diary/biography that she compiled and edited, was published in 2013. Along the way Maria has acquired PhD and MA degrees in creative writing and numerous awards for her writing and academic performance. She has lectured in creative and academic writing at university and published educational texts. Maria runs workshops in writing fiction and non-fiction. It gives her great satisfaction to work with emerging writers of all genres, offering support and guidance from initial concept to final draft.

HELEN WILLIAMS has many years’ experience in editing and book production, both freelance and in-house. At The Federation Press and at Aboriginal Studies Press she worked across a wide range of non-fiction disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.  She edited To My Delight, the autobiography of the Aboriginal stockman Bill Cohen, which won the Christina Stead Award from the Fellowship of Australian Writers. She has also been a reader, editor and advisor for numerous authors of crime fiction, literary fiction and memoir, and has written educational resources, and non fiction for government agencies. Helen has worked in Australia, the United Kingdom, China and Argentina. What she enjoys most is exploring each author’s unique voice and assisting them to bring their work into full form, clarity and power. Helen is accredited with the Institute of Professional Editors.

PRUE MITCHELL is a Swinburne Institute (Melb) trained graphic designer with more than 20 years experience in a range of disciplines including signage, branding and web design. She has worked in some of the country’s most respected design agencies, such as Emery Studio, where she was part of a team that worked on the complete signage for Parliament House. Her work in print and online publishing includes the redesign of the Herald Sun newspaper (Melbourne), magazines and books. From highly illustrated, complex layouts to small handbooks, Prue has a professional, structured approach. With both commercial publishers and self-publishers she applies her extensive knowledge of design parameters and current trends to produce work which meets her own exacting standards and is a winner with clients and consumers.