As authors ourselves, we understand how tempting it can be to submit to a publisher or agent or to hit load and self-publish before a work has developed to its full potential, and we know the pain of the ensuing disappointment. Often we writers become so close to our story, our ability to judge its readiness clearly and objectively is blurred.
What Happens Now?
Email us through the Contact Us page. Introduce yourself and tell us a bit about you and your book - your background, length and genre of your manuscript etc. Either Anna or Amy (who will depend on our workloads) will be in touch promptly. Once we've established contact and you decide you'd like us to undertake an assessment we'll invoice you. Once the invoice has been paid (we will only proceed once full payment has been received) you email us your word document and we'll get to work on your assessment.
What Can You Do?
Accepting criticism in the spirit in which it is offered has to be as much a part of a writer's skill set as dreaming up a plot. But relax, we are humans too! While our critiques are necessarily frank, we understand the psychological imperatives of the creative process. We appreciate that you have dedicated many gruelling hours to perfecting your work of art before you send it to us, and it is our aim to help you grow and flourish without crushing your tender spirit.
Our feedback is constructive, and always given within a supportive and encouraging framework.
Bear in mind that the point of an appraisal is to assist your next rewrite. You may even find yourself performing more than one of those before you are satisfied. This is the reality of honing a manuscript into publishable form.
What Can You Expect From An Assessment?
A clear, honest, sensitive appraisal in a written report detailing the work's strengths and weaknesses. We endeavour to offer concrete ways of improving the work, from the big picture issues all the way down to minor refinements, including suggestions to improve clumsy phrasing or sentence structure. Issues we are likely to discuss include plot, structure, voice, tone, characterisation, pacing, dialogue, scene settings etc.
We are not copy editors, and do not perform a full line edit, although we may mark up grammar or punctuation errors in the initial pages to give you a benchmark.
The actual page length of each assessment will not necessarily be dictated by the word count of your manuscript. Most of our assessments, however, amount to approximately 5-8 pages of text.
While we take our support role very seriously, we are assessors, not publishers. We offer you clear and specific advice and suggestions to help you do the work of re-writing and improving your piece, but we do not guarantee you publication. Neither do we act as literary agents, or undertake to recommend you to any publisher.
How Long Will It Take?
Please allow 4-6 weeks from payment of invoice. There may well be times when turnaround is swifter.
Manuscript length is based on computer word count.
Should you require critical feedback at an early stage of a manuscript, you may submit three chapters. Your synopsis should encompass the full story. It'll be costed as per the above word counts.
This is why a prior assessment by an experienced person can be of such immense value. A fresh set of eyes can offer you new insights and concrete suggestions to stimulate your ideas, help you solve any technical difficulties or open new directions in your story.
It is our aim to help you take your story to the "next level'. This will mean different things for different people depending on the route you want your career to take but our experience tells us that any professional editorial process you undertake strengthens your skills and informs your subsequent works. For many writers, a professional manuscript assessment at the right point in their development is a very worthwhile career investment.