Cat Cobain

Cat Cobain – Editor

Fiction Editor of contemporary, historical, crime and thriller. Ex Penguin Random House Publishing Director and Hachette Associate Publisher


I’m a fiction editor with more than twenty years experience of commissioning, editing and publishing, at Penguin Random House (Transworld) as a Publishing Director, Hachette UK (Headline) as Associate Publisher and as a freelancer including for top publishers Bookouture and Orion Books. I moved back to my hometown in Northern Ireland a few years ago and now work entirely on a freelance basis as a developmental editor, line editor and copy editor. I also love working on general publishing consultations and reviewing author submission packages (agent letters, biographies and sample chapters).

I am passionate about helping authors with almost any aspect of their writing at any stage of the process! I find working at the developmental stage so rewarding, helping authors see when and how to move their story on to maintain page-turning pace, working on how to create drama and tension through plot hooks and turns, and how to tie it all up into that satisfying finale. I also enjoy close line editing where I can support writers to get their work to a professionally polished state.

I’ve been lucky enough to work in some of the most successful divisions of the world’s biggest publishers, working on fiction strategy and my personal passions – growing new names into established authors and helping authors to find good publishing homes and successful careers. I'm always open to discussing a flexible approach to what an individual writer needs.
Contemporary Fiction Historical Fiction Literary Fiction Romance Thriller & Suspense Women's Fiction
English (UK) English (US)

Work experience


Apr, 2015 — Present

I provide developmental and line-edits for contemporary fiction, psychological thrillers, police procedurals, women's fiction and romance. I work for publishers and private clients, including for an award-winning Channel 4 cult show. I'm practised in reviewing and consulting on submissions letters, and can do a 'ready for submission' read on bio, letter and sample.

Transworld, Penguin Random House

Sep, 2009 — Apr, 2014 (over 4 years)

I grew a list of wide ranging fiction authors in this role. I published Julie Cohen's Dear Thing and Louise Douglas's The Secrets Between Us, both successful Richard and Judy Book Club picks. I continued to publish Sarra Manning with You Don't Have to Say You Love Me. I published IMPAC-nominated Alison Jameson's Little Beauty, Kathy Lette's The Boy Who Fell to Earth, and Ashley Prentice Norton's The Chocolate Money. I also looked after a list of mostly USA, UK and Irish crime, literary and women's fiction authors.

Headline Publishing Group, Hachette UK

Oct, 2003 — Sep, 2009 (almost 6 years)

I worked on a wide range of fiction, from Sunday Times bestselling author Adele Parks, award-winning American literary authors Erick Setiawan to New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author Rachel Gibson. I also launched the mainstream adult fiction careers of YA writer Sarra Manning with Unsticky, and screenwriter Jessica Ruston with Unsticky.


You & I

Murphy, Emily Gillmor

The Movie Girl

Lace, Kate

It Should Have Been Me

Ashley, Phillipa

Wish You Were Here

Ashley, Phillipa

Stop the Clock

Alison Mercer

In Her Shadow

Douglas, Louise

The Secrets Between Us

Douglas, Louise

Love Lies

Parks, Adele

Little Beauty

Jameson, Alison

Dear Thing

Cohen, Julie


Manning, Sarra

Cat has 4 reviews





David A.

David A.

Aug, 2023

I asked Cat to assess a draft of my manuscript. The quality and depth of the assessment was outstanding. Cat provided outstanding suggestions about potential improvements to the plot, the characters, and their relationships, which have ultimately led to a more polished next draft. Cat identified potential issues with the broader social context of the manuscript which provided a lot of food for ...
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Cat C.
Thank you so much David! It has been a complete pleasure to work on your engrossing and page-turning thriller and I can't wait to see how your writing and publishing journey works out for you!
Rachel L.

Rachel L.

Jun, 2023

I am thrilled with Cat's edit of the first draft of my novel. She identified what was, and more importantly, what was not working and delivered a hugely insightful, clear and thought-provoking review. This has made me so excited and energised to get back to work on the script. She also placed my work within the broader publishing context, and the need for me to really think about the reader's p...
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Cat C.
It was such a pleasure to work on your exciting project, Rachel! Thank you so much for your kind words and I can't wait to hear how you get on.
Harold K.

Harold K.

May, 2023

Cat's developmental assessment of the MS was insightful and rang true to me.
Cat C.
Thank you Harold! It was a pleasure to work on your novel.
Tamara H.

Tamara H.

Mar, 2023

Working with Cat was a joy from start to finish. She is a highly approachable and professional editor whose work went above and beyond my expectations. Cat identified the weaknesses in my manuscript and advised me how to correct them in a logical and structured manner. I was impressed by Cat's knowledge of story structure and her level of editorial advice was outstanding. Cat was also gen...
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Cat C.
Thank you so much Tamara! It’s been an absolute pleasure working on your wonderful book!

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