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Manuscript Assessments

Editing Services Here

Spellcheck is no substitute for a meticulous and objective eye!

For book-length manuscripts of fiction and non-technical non-fiction, including memoirs and family and organisation histories.

Confidentiality is guaranteed. I have no wish to plagiarise your words or steal your ideas. I have more than enough needing to be expressed.

No matter how dear to the heart the writing project, money is often the deciding factor when a writer considers enlisting guidance with a project. And, I don’t know about you, but I loathe scrolling forever to discover how much something is going to cost. To avoid giving you that loathsome feeling, money matters take second to top billing (pun intended), followed by the whys and wherefores. Click your choice from the list below.


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This preliminary assessment is ideal for writers who:

  • Have a manuscript in progress and wish to know how they are going, and
  • Do not want the expense of a full manuscript assessment as yet.

NOTE: A Discovery Assessment is only available for hardcopy material sent by regular mail - this service is not available for electronic submissions.

The Process - Send 20 consecutive pages of your manuscript as follows:

  • A4 white paper.
  • Lines double-spaced.
  • Font to be in 12 Point Times New Roman - please, no smaller
  • Pages numbered and with a header or footer containing title and your name.

Along with payment (Australian cheque, Australian Money Order or through PayPal. For direct deposit, please contact me) and a Stamped Self Addressed Envelope of appropriate size and postal rate for the return of your manuscript and Assessment Report.

Turnaround time is 2-4 weeks.

You will find the mailing address on the contact page or go to the Store if paying by credit card through PayPal.


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Apt Medium is an Australian business. Prices are in Aussie Dollars.

Discovery Assessment - $75.00

Submissions of Book-Length Manuscripts

Up to 35,000 words $160.00
Up to 50,000 words $210.00
Up to 100,000 words $350.00
Up to 150,000 words $440.00

For manuscripts exceeding 150,000 words, please contact me.

A Stamped Self-Addressed Envelope (SSAE) of the appropriate size and postal rate must be included for return of your manuscript and the Assessment Report.

File Submissions for Assessment (Email attachment or CD) - only for Full Assessments
If you would like to send your manuscript as an electronic file, you are welcome to submit that way. BUT, please be aware it incurs an additional fee of $30. This covers paper and ink for printing, as well as return postage of your printed and marked-up manuscript and Assessment Report. Contact me to make arrangements for the additional payment.

Work does not begin until payment is received.

Payment methods:
Australian Money Order or Cheque, or PayPal to pay securely by credit card (you do not need a PayPal account). You can also contact me to arrange a direct deposit from your bank.

PayPal Option - Please visit the Store, where you can select and pay for the appropriate word count assessment.

The Benefits of an Assessment

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Writing is a learning, as well as creative experience. Publishers and Literary Agents understand this, but only to a degree. They are busy people. Most will not read past the first couple of pages if typos or misused words and lousy grammar spoil the reading experience. When submitting manuscripts for consideration, your work needs to be presented in a professionally accepted form. It has to be the very best you can offer, not only to be fully read, but also to compete with the multitude of submissions sent to publishers and agents every week.

It is a daunting challenge to aspiring writers is having their manuscript stand out from the others in the pile on a publisher’s desk. If your aim is publication, an assessment (or appraisal) provides unbiased and objective assistance. It recognises strengths in your writing and addresses any areas that need improvement.

Writing from the heart is fantastic. Unfortunately, our hearts do not have 20/20 vision when it comes to looking objectively at our own work, which is undertaken with passion and so much dedication. Too often, even when reviewing our writing for the umpteenth time, we read what we think should be on the page rather than what is actually there. We know the story in our minds, so well, that we neglect to inform our readers of all that is necessary for a thrilling journey into the world we create. Or, we distract them with superfluous detail and lose them along the way.

What I Provide

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I take pride in providing a detailed report on all aspects of what will make your manuscript a manuscript great read with a professional presentation. Gone are the days when a ‘rough’ manuscript will be accepted by a publisher, purely on the story’s merit. Criticism is not easily accepted by creative folk. However, my assessments are constructive as well as honest. There is no point in you sending your manuscript and me taking the time and effort to assess it if I gloss over what needs improvement. None of us learns by being patronised or when fed waffle to stroke our egos. I am a writer too. So, I will be gently honest while giving you suggestions on what aspects would benefit from attention.

As I read your manuscript, I mark-up the manuscript with comments, and take additional notes. These combined are used to write up the report, which takes into account all facets of the writing and manuscript development process.

Due to the amount of reading, all manuscripts are assessed using hardcopy, which also provides you with the marked-up pages for reference when your manuscript is returned.

NOTE: Proper formatting is essential for any and all submissions. It proves a serious and professional approach to the submission process. Go to my Formatting Tips.

During the Assessment, I consider the following:
  • Format and Presentation
  • Storyline and Plot
  • Characterisation
  • Point of View
  • Dialogue
  • Coherence
  • Consistency
  • Tense
  • Structure
  • Sentence Structure, Sentence Fragments and Ambiguities
  • Word Usage
  • Repetition, Redundancies and Tautologies
  • Clichés
  • Active and Passive Voice
  • Adverbs
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling
  • Hyphenation

And, Marketability and Commercial Value.

Depending on the stage of development of the manuscript, and the writer's experience, more or less areas may be discussed. The use of numbers, abbreviations and capitalisation are also considered and discussed.

Not all manuscripts are destined, or written, for commercial publication. Many authors wish to take the self-publishing path. Whatever the intended readership, select family and friends, or a broader field, your manuscript is assessed with your aims in mind.

A Final Summary aids the writer, and any reader of the assessment, to grasp the reasoning behind comments and suggestions made about the manuscript and writing. Here, also, I discuss options for future development of the work.

Turnaround Time

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Turnaround Time for assessments is 6-8 weeks, depending on length of the manuscript and my current workload.

Submitting a Manuscript for Assessment

Format for Hardcopy Submissions

  • A4 white paper.
  • Lines double-spaced.
  • Good margins all around (3 cm is the norm for manuscripts).
  • Font to be in 12 Point Times New Roman - please, no smaller. If I need a magnifying glass to read it, your manuscript will be returned unassessed.
  • A Title Page, telling me the title, word count, genre (Romance, Fantasy, Biography, Self Help, etc.), your name and contact details. Pretend you're sending it to a publisher. It's good practice.
  • Pages must be numbered and each page to contain the title and author's name.
  • No staples or binding. A rubber band or ribbon does the trick.

If in doubt about presentation, please go to my Formatting Tips

Include a Stamped Self Addressed Envelope (SSAE) of suitable size and paid postage for the return of your manuscript and Assessment.

Payment is to be included with the manuscript. (See above for Assessment Rates)

File Submissions (Email attachment or CD)

  • Due to the amount of reading, all manuscripts are assessed using hardcopy. Therefore file submissions incur an additional fee of $30.00 as quoted in Money Matters - Rates.
  • Manuscript is to be a Word (.doc) file. I do not accept .docx files, so please 'Save As' an earlier version of Word.
  • Formatting of the document is to be the same as hardcopy (see above), as it will be printed out for assessment.
  • Your Assessment Report and the printed and marked-up copy of your manuscript (plus the CD, if you have sent one) are returned to you through Australia Post.
  • NOTE: I delete all files containing your manuscript from my system two weeks after sending the assessment.

Feedback from Pleased Writers

What a great service this is. As you could probably tell I haven't written before so all your comments are important to me. I cringed several times to see you highlight items that just should not have got through my 'editing' process, but having read it so often I guess I've just memorised it and can't see the obvious. I shall take up your suggestions and comments and continue to polish it in my 'spare time'. When I started this I had no idea how much work there really is in writing.' J.B.

'Many thanks for assessing my work. I was not distressed at the outcome - in fact I was very pleased.' L.W.

'My deepest thanks. The generous comments and concise criticisms are exactly what I needed and I'll be immersing myself in the re-work immediately.' And later: 'Thank you for such a thorough primer on editing. It's given me plenty to think about.' And later still: 'Just a quick note to let you know that the MS and supporting material went off to [the agent]. My baby's finally left home!!!' I.M.

'Just to let you know how genuinely pleased I am with your assessment. I'm currently working right through [the manuscript] and you're right. It's tedious! But now I feel as if I know what I'm looking for.' L.B.

'Thank you for your appraisal of my manuscript. I only wish I had sent the manuscript earlier in my writing, as I may have avoided the many errors I now see in the remaining ten chapters. I hope you continue to offer this service. The fee is very reasonable and the money well spent.' R.H.

'Appreciate all you have done.' L.M.

'When I sent [my manuscript] to you, I was looking for direction and advice, and you have given me both. With no opportunity to workshop, network or interact with other writers, your feedback is particularly gratifying. Carefully reading through your appraisal and referring back to my manuscript is a valuable exercise. I am most appreciative of both the encouragement you have given me, and the constructive criticism. I hope that you will be prepared to take another look at [my manuscript] when I have given it the attention it needs.' I.B.

I am writing to thank you very much for the invaluable advice of your assessment. P.C.


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Last updated January 2011