what is a manuscript review?
I read your writing, be it a short story or a novel, and I tell you what I think. That really is it. I will read your work twice over then compose a lengthy, informed critique (with chapter-by-chapter breakdowns for larger pieces) along with suggestions for improvement. Unless it’s good, in which case I’ll steal it.
why do you need it?
Literary agents receive hundreds of manuscripts each week, and most are nowhere near the standard of publishable work- I used to be the person who would read, then more often than not reject, the manuscripts that came in to a major London agency. Of those which were vaguely original, an even smaller percentage were actually handed to real agents to read. Most just didn’t ‘click’. A smaller percentage clicked with the agents, who would contact the writer to ask for the completed manuscript. Then maybe that full manuscript was just… eeh. Perhaps the ending didn’t really wrap up the story, perhaps the second act meandered. For one reason or another most those manuscripts end up in the same garbage pile. The odds of your manuscript ever making it in front of a publisher are vanishingly small, and they, for their own obscure reasons, may not pick the book up. Perhaps they have another work on the same theme by a higher profile author coming out soon, perhaps they think that the dinosaur-erotica trend has peaked.
Every book that has been released to the public via a reputable publishing company in the last century has been edited. Not just for spelling and grammar, but plot consistency, the strength of its characters, the overall snappiness of its dialogue. It doesn’t matter if you’re E.L James or Cormac McCarthy, one or more editors will have been through your work before it sees print, asking themselves ‘is this any good?’ One apparently thought that line in Fifty Shades’ about an inner goddess doing the meringue was a keeper.
Having other people read your work and offer constructive, actionable feedback is the absolute only way of improving your odds of publication.
I have a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from one of the best courses of its kind in the world (not the one in Girls, the other one.) I’ve worked with Random House, Bloomsbury and a kind-of-massive London-based literary agency, as well as putting together two writing anthologies. My writing that hasn’t been published elsewhere is here if you want to make sure that I can string a sentence together.
More importantly, for you at least, is the fact that I’m not doing this for a living, I don’t rent an office and I don’t pay a staff, so I can offer prices that are substantially lower than other manuscript reviewers out there.
How much does this cost?
- I’ll read what you would send to a literary agent: a synopsis and the the first fifty pages
- Get in-depth feedback on your book’s plot and theme, plus the first fifty pages, focusing on whether your book’s opening pages will hook the reader
- 2000 word synopsis plus the first fifty pages
- I’ll read your short story
- From the overall plot and character arcs down to individual sentences, you’ll get a full, in-depth review of your work.
- 7500 words max
- Full analysis of your novel, non-fiction work or memoir
- Focusing on readability, themes, pacing, plot and market appeal. In addition to a full reader’s report you’ll receive a chapter-by-chapter breakdown and recommendations for improvement.
- Anything over 7500 words
- I’m yours
- I’ll work with you to get your novel-length piece of writing (75000 words or more) to a level of quality that you are happy with. This includes a thorough assessment of the book’s merit and marketability, along with line-by-line editing to get the prose to a publishable standard.
- Hourly billing
Do you need something that you don’t see here? E-mail me with a full description and I’ll get back to you with a quote.
Small print: I’m not actually going to steal your work. Documents should be submitted in .doc format (not .rtf or .pdf). Pages should be A4 size with standard margins- the default setting when creating a new document in Microsoft Word, Pages and most other word-processing software. Text should be formatted in 12 point Times New Roman font, double spaced. If for any reason you need to deviate from this (for example, if you work contains graphic or typographic elements that are integral to the story) then please ask before submitting.
Payment to be made via Paypal. Deposit of 50% made upfront, refundable if for whatever reason I am unable to finish the project. Payment of the remaining 50% to be made on receipt of an e-mail containing the finished work. For time-based projects such as the full editorial service payment will take place at intervals agreed upon by both parties.