Manuscript Appraisal Services
A development strategy tailored around your novel. Whether you already published or just starting out, our goal is to offer you an objective overview and a strategy for improvement.
What is a manuscript appraisal?
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.
Appraisals draw upon the time honoured traditional editorial approach which takes a two-step approach to preparing a manuscript for publication. The first step is to take a step back and look at the big picture, to develop an overview. The second step is the look at the details of narrative development.
Appraisals combine elements of both steps in one document, with the crucial additional understanding of the writers process and the stages of development from first draft to a complete polished draft with publishing potential.
What makes our appraisals so special?
Our appraisals are so much more than a summary assessment, though they contain that element too. Think of an appraisal as a pre-publication stage in your development as a writer.
An appraisal will combine an overview of your novel, with a masterclass on narrative development tailored to suit you. As well as encouraging you to see your novel within a wider context, we also offer practical pointers, clarification on key issues, plenty of examples and a clear strategy for moving forwards.
The feedback we receive on our appraisals is overwhelmingly positive. The most frequent responses include the following: helpful, empowering, energizing and invaluable.
Take your novel to the next level
Appraisals are designed to be constructive, honest and helpful. 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 areas does an appraisal cover?
Appraisals cover every aspect of the writing process, with a number of examples given for each point raised. These are likely to include genre, marketability, story structure and characterisation as well as more practical input on key technical issues such as plot-signposting and point of view.
Our starting point is empathy. What is the writer aiming for? What are they hoping to achieve? Between these two polarities a number of questions arise. For example:
- What category of fiction is this?
- Where might it fit within the broader picture?
- How does the manuscript work within those terms?
- Who is telling the story?
- When? How?
- How does the narrative unfold?
- Are the key elements in place?
- Does the narrative voice complement the story?
- Is there an identifiable lynchpin?
- Does the manuscript have momentum?
- How has the author set up the unfolding narrative?
This last question is fundamental. A good opening lays the groundwork for the rest of the novel. Once this is in place, the rest will follow.
What can I expect?
Each appraisal is as individual as the manuscript and the author and pitched accordingly. We will treat your manuscript with respect and honour the work that has gone into it. Reports, for a full manuscript, are generally about ten pages long. (Between 2,500 and 3,500 words. For a partial you can expect an appraisal of 1,750 – 2,000 words.)
Guidelines on profession presentation are offered as standard. (Where appropriate, we also provide additional editorial notations on the manuscript.)
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.
If you would like to discuss your work in detail, we recommend that you supplement your appraisal with a structured fifty minute consultation. (Availability varies. Consultations are conducted by phone, or via Zoom or Facetime.)
How to maximise the impact of your appraisal
It is worth taking time to read through your manuscript and consider what you think is working and what isn’t. Correct any errors, typo’s, glaring omissions.
Use professional publishing formatting: A4, 12 point font, double spaced. Don’t forget page numbers. (If you are not sure how your pages should look go to the first page examples in Profiles.)
Take this opportunity to get your manuscript in the best possible shape you can at this particular stage. Think about what you would like from this appraisal. Are there any particular areas of concern, for example.
Prepare yourself for receiving a professional, impartial and objective feedback on your manuscript.
Recommendations: how to make the most of your appraisal.
Ready to go? Go to our contact page.
The Other Mrs Walker
“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.
Covering every aspect of the perfect pitch
“Thank you for such an excellent appraisal… for giving my confidence a boost and for such thoughtful insights. There is a huge amount I can work with here. I really appreciate it.”
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.
A manuscript appraisal is a detailed and substantial core document offering an objective editorial overview of your manuscript.
Up to 16,000 words/50 pages: £275.00
Up to 30,000 words/100 pages: £399.00
Full Manuscript Appraisals
Up to 65,000 words/200 pages: £495.00
Up to 100,000 words/312 pages: £695.00
Up to 150,000 words/468 pages: £850.00
Up to 200,000 words/625 pages: £1025.00
Up to 250,000 words/780 pages: £1,200.00
(+£55 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.
Fees are payable in advance.
(Example): Up to 300 pages (or 85,000 words) + structured one-hour one-to-one consultation: £695.00
Three chapters (30 pages/10,000 words), blurb + synopsis + cover letter: £325:00
Up to 10 pages (or 3,000 words): £95.00
10-16 pages (or up to 5,000 words): £105.00
Children’s Picture Books
Up to 500 words: £130 per book
Children’s Illustrated Books
Up to 4,000 words: £140 per book