Manuscript Assessments & Submission Appraisals
Current status: Open to enquiries.
“Emily’s manuscript assessment was a game-changer for me. I was seriously considering ditching this manuscript I had worked on for years, as I had no idea how to fix its problems. Emily helped me understand key issues with its structure and plot, at the same time conveying a palpable sense of belief that there were solutions, and I could find them. Her feedback was wise, rich and accurate. Just reading the report, and learning her insights into my writing, I feel I am already a better writer.” Sue White, author of Take The Shot
“I had the good fortune to have Emily as editor on my first middle-grade novel, How to Spell Catastrophe, Pan Macmillan, 2022. Working with her is an absolute delight. She has a great story brain and is informed, perceptive, incisive and encouraging. Emily gets to the heart of things and poses all the right questions. Her editorial report was meticulous. I recommend her unreservedly and hope I have the opportunity to work with her again.”
Drawing on 25 years in the book industry – specialising in Children’s & YA – I’m keen to work with emerging and established writers seeking editorial support or publishing advice. I offer three services:
- manuscript assessments for those who want a detailed structural edit of their completed manuscript
- submission appraisals for those who want to test out their material on someone who has experienced the slush-pile from three angles (publisher, literary agent and author)
- mentoring by the hour for those seeking quick advice or feedback on any aspect of their writing or the publishing industry
My experience as an editor
For many years I’ve worked freelance as a manuscript assessor. My clients include published and aspiring authors. I specialise in Junior, Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction and my experience in these areas includes: in-house editorial (Penguin & Egmont in the UK), freelance editorial, children’s book-buyer for a large independent bookshop (Australia), reader for an Australian literary agent, member of a high school library team. I’ve also had six novels published (YA and Middle Grade, shortlisted for several awards), a narrative non-fiction book, and a Junior duology translated into multiple languages.
What are my assessments like?
I’m thorough – you will get a few thousand words of critique that covers all bases, from big things like structure to the nitty-gritty of style. As a fellow writer, I understand how overwhelming a report can be but I will be honest in my critique because I appreciate straight-talking from my own editors. I will also be sure to point out what is working wonderfully in your writing. My goal is to give you the most detailed report possible so that you can make all the necessary decisions when you come to redraft. I’ll discuss where your work sits in the current market and supply a breakdown of your creative options so that you’ve got a clear place to begin. Once you’ve received and digested the report, I’m happy to answer a couple of clarifying questions via email or a short Zoom call so that you are in a confident place for the next step.
What is a submission appraisal?
When you submit your work to a literary agent or directly to a publisher, they will generally ask for: a covering letter, a one-page synopsis, and three chapters of your novel – or “up to 10k words”, depending on their particular guidelines. During my 20 years I’ve been on both sides of the “slush-pile”. It was via the slush-pile that I ended up signing three novels with Penguin Random House. And it was while working on a slush-pile that I discovered brilliant new voices for a literary agent, including Australian YA award-winners Vikki Wakefield and Claire Zorn. I can write you an appraisal of the package you intend to send out, giving advice on your early chapters and synopsis, feedback on titles, how to sell your work in the covering letter, and suggestions for where to send your work. If you have already approached publishers or agents and haven’t had any luck, I might be able to shed some light on that and help you to refine your package.
To enquire about a manuscript assessment, please email me – email@example.com – describing your work, why you’d like a report on your manuscript and when you need it by, attaching the first few pages of your manuscript (no more than 10). To enquire about a submission appraisal, please email me a brief background of your work.
For manuscript assessments, my pricing is based on the length of your manuscript.
10k-20k words = $600
20k-30k = $700
30k-40k = $850
40k-50k = $1000
50k-60k = $1150
60k-70k = $1300
70k-80k = $1450
80k-100k = $1600
For submission appraisals, I charge a flat fee of $400.
If you’d prefer to hire me by the hour for mentoring, my rate is $150 per hour and mentoring can be in person (Melbourne only), by phone, Zoom or email, depending on how you like to work.
“I contacted Emily because I was interested in getting some feedback on the first section of a work in progress. I sometimes struggle with plot and pace and wanted to get a sense of how I was tracking in those areas before I continued with it. The turnaround on the feedback was fast and, more importantly, super valuable and insightful on what was/wasn’t working so far. I would—and have already—totally recommend her.”
“I can see how thorough and thoughtful and insightful they [the manuscript notes] are – I know they are going to be immensely helpful to me in developing the manuscript. I so much appreciate all the work you have put in (I know it was a very big task) and how sensitive and respectful you have been towards my writing and towards me as a writer.”
“Thanks so much for your hard work and for your considered and considerate approach to my work. I do feel that ultimately it will be stronger as a result of your supportive editing suggestions.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed reading your notes. Thank you so much! They were very insightful and have given me lots to think about for the second draft.”
“Lots to absorb and ponder, as I was reading it I just kept nodding my head and saying ‘Yep,’ and ‘Doh!’ and ‘of course’ out loud. I love your idea of the [deleted for privacy] and am going to take it and run with it.”
“I didn’t think I had the energy to tackle a re-write but after reading Emily’s assessment, I’ve got that feeling of clarity and excitement back.”