Manuscript Appraisal

We aim to pitch appraisals appropriately. Whether already published or just starting out, our goal is to offer you an objective overview of your manuscript and a strategy for improvement. 

Published writers can rely on an informed opinion from an experienced writer in their field; emerging writers appreciate a more practical step-by-step approach. We offer guidance in various forms, covering everything from the strength of the core idea, through to full realization and packaging (synopsis and cover letter).

What can I expect?

A manuscript appraisal is a detailed and comprehensive report on your manuscript. It will give you a clear sense of what stage you have reached and what you need to be aiming for. Reports, for a full manuscript, are generally about ten pages long with a number of examples offered for each point raised. These are likely to include genre, marketability, story structure and characterization as well as more practical input on key technical issues such as plot-signposting and point of view. We also offer guidelines on professional presentation.

Note: Many agents make an assessment about whether to see a complete manuscript on the basis of a cover letter, synopsis and the first two or three chapters. Often they have made the decision within the first couple of pages.

Appraisal Package

If you would like to discuss your work in detail, we recommend that you supplement your appraisal with a structured one-hour consultation. (Availability varies. Consultations are conducted by phone, though one-to-one meetings or via Skype.)

The Other Mrs Walker

Mary Paulson-Ellis

“It really helped me to step back and take the time needed to consider how best to fulfill the potential of the material.  I am now embarking on a re-write, which has been energized by your intervention.”

Mary came to us after she was shortlisted in our Spotlight Competition. Since then, she has signed a two-book deal with Pan Macmillan and The Other Mrs Walker launched in 2016. An intriguing and evocative debut, it opens up the hidden world behind Edinburgh’s apparently genteel façade.


Writers come to us at various stages in their development.
The feedback offered here is designed to show a glimpse of the range and variety of responses.

“You would not believe how useful the assessment was. There is not a moment goes by that I don’t think of how much the MS had improved in terms of structure, content, and the development of my writing.  The completed MS is now out there and I already have one agent interested having requested the full MS. Thank you for a wonderfully worthwhile service.”

Paul Stretton-Stephens

“Brian (Keaney’s) advice is great. I’m really pleased I have a plan to take forward. We talked on the phone for an hour and he’s very kind as well as very knowledgeable. Well worth the money!!”

Dorothy Crossan

“Thank you for that brilliantly detailed appraisal. I felt very lucky to have the benefit of your expertise. Many, many, many thanks for your encouragement.”

Sylvestra La Touzel

“All I can say is … wow! What a clear insight you’ve gained into my novel and how incisive are your comments.”

Julian Desser

“I have to say that I was very pleased with the appraisal; (Claire Brown) had obviously taken a great deal of time to read and consider my MS in detail. Particularly helpful were the very specific practical suggestions she offered that gave me some new ideas for the novel and helped me to develop it further. I also liked the tone which was honest and frank without being derogatory (you might not believe it but I have had feedback from other “professional” sources which I found very negative and insulting.) I now feel much more confident in my approach.”

Tracey Iceton

“I feel excited and energised by this – I can see that your suggestions will make important improvements.”

Belinda Fiddler

“I just wanted to say how pleased I was with the AIF appraisal for my submission package, it was really encouraging and has helped me already to focus to my mind on what I’m trying to achieve and how to get there.”

Sophie Green

“Many thanks for your detailed and analytical appraisal. I found your structured response to the individual aspects of the novel immensely helpful. Many of your points made me consider my ideas from a reader’s perspective rather than my own. This, I believe, has made all the difference. Your appraisal has given me the inspiration to push through to the next level.”

Richard Cole

“… it enabled me to effectively redraft my opening, and to find a balance between description and narrative pace. All in all, I am very happy and would definitely recommend you!”

Christina Pishiris

“Your comments have been hugely helpful and I will certainly take them on board when I start to work on editing my first draft. The section about viewpoints was particularly helpful – and also the synopsis. I’m now spending some time doing a bit of critical reading and really noticing how other writers handle viewpoint.”

Lorna Hill

Our Fees

A manuscript appraisal is a detailed and substantial core document offering an objective editorial overview of your manuscript.

Partial Appraisals

Up to 50 pages: £180.00
Up to 100 pages: £325.00
Up to 150 pages: £355.00
Up to 200 pages (or 64,000) words: £395.00

Full Manuscript Appraisals

Up to 250 pages (or 80,000 words): £450.00
Up to 300 pages (or 96,000 words): £495.00
Up to 350 pages (or 112,000 words): £550.00
Up to 400 pages (or 128,000 words): £600.00
Up to 450 pages (or 144,000 words): £650.00

Longer Manuscripts

Up to 500 pages (or 160,000 words): £700.00
Up to 550 pages (or 176,000 words): £750.00
Up to 600 pages (or 192,000 words): £800.00
Up to 650 pages (or 208,000 words): £850.00
Up to 700 pages (or 224,000 words): £900.00
Up to 750 pages (or 240,000 words): £950.00
(+£50 for every additional 50 pgs/16,000 wds)

Note: Fees are based on A4 manuscripts in 12 point font, double spaced and printed on one side of the page only. (Both publishers and agents expect submissions in this format). To confirm fees contact us.

Print out costs. 10p a page (applies to all reports)

Fees are payable in advance.



Appraisal Package

(Example): Up to 300 pages (or 85,000 words) + structured one-hour one-to-one consultation: £570

+10p a page printing costs. (applies to all reports.)


Submission Packages

3 chapters (between 30-50 pages), blurb + synopsis + cover letter: £200:00

Short Stories
Up to 10 pages (or 3,000 words): £85.00
10-16 pages (or up to 5,000 words): £95.00

Children’s Picture Books
Up to 500 words: £120 per book

Children’s Illustrated Books
Up to 4,000 words: £130 per book

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