Manuscript Critique

NOTE: I currently only take a very limited number of manuscript critiques each year, but please do contact me if you are interested.

Many authors who approach me for a manuscript critique are actually more than capable of revising their manuscript independently. If you would like advice on how to approach a self-edit, please consider booking a Book Doctor appointment to discuss this one-to-one.

If you would like a manuscript critique, and I’m not available, I recommend Rhoda Baxter and Janet Gover who offer similar services.

This service provides a in-depth critique report on your novel manuscript, or on a shorter piece or partial manuscript. I will give detailed feedback on areas such as plot, structure, narrative voice and prose style, characterisation, setting and use of language. The aim of the service is to provide feedback that will help you develop your work to a publishable standard. This is not an editing or a proof-reading service. I can’t do whatever work is needed on your novel for you, but I can suggest areas for improvement and highlight what is already working well.

Rough fees for manuscript critiques are shown below. These are guideline prices – precise pricing will depend on the exact length of your manuscript:

Up to 3000 words (eg. synopses, opening chapters or short stories) – c.£60

From 3000 to 10,000 words (eg.short stories or partial manuscripts) – c.£125

From 10,000 to 50,000 words (novella or partial manuscripts) – c.£150-£300

From 50,000 to 100,000 words (usually a full manuscript) – c.£300-£500

If your manuscript is significantly longer than 100000 words, then I am very likely to advise you to consider whether the story can be shortened or the prose style tightened up. If you are absolutely sure that you can’t edit your 120,000 word epic, and would like a critique, please Contact Me to discuss a price.

Please do not send manuscripts without contacting me first. I try to only work on manuscripts where I feel I can offer genuine assistance to the author. I’m happy to look at work in most genres, but I specialise in commercial women’s fiction, accessible literary fiction, romance, crime and comedy.

‘Alison’s critique advice is just so so wonderful. I can’t believe how helpful it is. Her advice and knowledge have been spot-on every single time. Not only does she point out the little niggles that I knew, in my heart of hearts, should probably be addressed, but she sees the things I can’t see because I’m simply too close to the manuscript. She helped make my debut novel The Forgotten Village worthy of both agent and publisher attention. I wouldn’t be without her.’ Lorna Cook

What’s the difference between an edit and a manuscript appraisal?

There are obviously similarities, but there are key differences. A manuscript appraisal is a developmental document, intended to help you develop your novel further and also to help you develop as a writer. An edit is focused on one single issue – getting a manuscript publication-ready.

Which do you need?

I would suggest that if this is your first novel and you’ve not had any professional input so far, then a manuscript appraisal would be more appropriate.

Beyond that, think about what sort of publication you are aiming for. If you are intending to self-publish your novel then I would advise you consider paying for professional editing services. The editing process is the last step in getting your manuscript ready for publication, so think about whether you would like to share it with beta readers or revise it yourself before you pay for editorial input.

If you are intending to submit your novel to agents or traditional publishers then your agent and editor are both likely to offer editorial advice, and the cost of editing your novel should fall to your publisher. If you feel you need an outside pair of eyes on your novel, and advice on how you could develop it further, before submitting to agents or publishers, then a manuscript appraisal would be more appropriate for you.

I do also provide structural editing services, but these are usually only to existing clients. Details here.

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