Manuscript Assessments & Submission Appraisals

September 2021: I am unable to accept any further manuscripts for the rest of the year.

Drawing on over twenty years of experience in the book industry – largely specialising in Children’s & YA – I’m keen to work with emerging and established writers who are seeking editorial support or publishing advice. I currently offer two services: manuscript assessments for those who want a detailed structural edit of their completed manuscript, and submission appraisals for anyone who is embarking on the submissions process and wants to test out their material on someone who has experienced the slush-pile from three angles (publisher, literary agent, and author).

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), freelance editorial, children’s book-buyer for a large independent bookshop, reader for a literary agent, volunteer school librarian. I’ve also had four novels published (YA and Upper-Middle), a junior fiction duology, and a few picture books.

What are my assessments like?

I’ve been described as thorough – you will get a few thousand words of critique (ranging from 3k-7k words). I try to be kind with the way I express criticism and, as a fellow writer, to see the report from your point-of-view. 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 (whether you agree with my suggestions or not). I’ll discuss where your work sits in the current market, which I always try to keep abreast of with regular reading of Junior, Middle-grade and YA.

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 twenty years, I have been on both sides of the “slush-pile” as they call it. 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 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 and how to sell your work in the covering letter, and suggestions for where to send your work. If you have already approached several publishers or agents and haven’t had any luck getting a response, I might be able to shed some light on that and help you to refine your package.

What next?

To enquire about a manuscript assessment, please email me – – 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 and where you’re thinking of submitting (if you have worked this out).


For manuscript assessments, my pricing is based on the length of your manuscript.

10k-20k words = $600

20k-30k = $650

30k-40k = $700

40k-50k = $750

50k-60k = $800

60k-70k = $850

70k-80k = $900

80k-100k = $1000

For submission appraisals, I charge a flat fee of $300.

If you’d prefer to hire me by the hour for mentoring, my rate is $100 per hour and mentoring can be in person (Melbourne only), by phone or Skype, or by email, depending on how you like to work.

Testimonials (names withheld for privacy)

“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.”