A Manuscript Assessment (sometimes known as a ‘structural’ or ‘substantive’ edit) looks at the overall structure, content, and style of your manuscript.
This may include things like plot, character, point of view, pace, writing style, narrative, dialogue, presentation, length, use of research, readership, marketing, or publishing possibilities.
A Manuscript Assessment may tell you that your work needs some editing or proofreading, but it won’t provide this service for you. Manuscript Assessments differ from copy editing or proofreading, as these tend to look in detail at the accuracy of things like spelling, grammar and punctuation, while a Manuscript Assessment will give you professional advice on the big picture.
Writers Victoria works with a team of authors, editors, and writing tutors to make sure your manuscript is read by someone with expertise in your area. They assess novels, short stories, memoir, poetry, children’s picture books, romance, non-fiction, theatre scripts, and more. You can learn more about some of these assessors on our Manuscript Assessors page.
A Publisher Submission Appraisal assists writers in perfecting their submission package for a publisher or literary agent. Publisher Submission Appraisals provide feedback on any two chapters of your manuscript (up to 6000 words), as well as on your one-page synopsis and cover letter.
When submitting your work to a publisher or a literary agent, you will need to provide them with a cover letter, a one-page synopsis, and several chapters of your work so they can get a sense of your writing, your story overall, and your publishing aims. Our assessors will look over your submission package and provide feedback on your early chapters and synopsis, the effectiveness of your cover letter, and how to refine and perfect your submission package for maximum effectiveness.
After your Manuscript Assessment or Publisher Submission Appraisal, you can ask to meet up with your assessor for a Post-Assessment Consultation. This will be a separate, optional service with its own fee.
Please read our terms and conditions for manuscript assessments here.
Manuscript Assessment & Publisher Submission Appraisal FAQs
- Why should I get a assessment or appraisal?
- Whenshould I get an assessment or appraisal?
- What do assessments or appraisals cost?
- Why have your prices changed?
- Where does my assessment or appraisal fee go?
- Do you have any subsidies or financial assistance available?
- How do I book a Manuscript Assessment or Publisher Submission Appraisal?
Why should I get a assessment or appraisal?
Manuscript Assessments and Publisher Submission Appraisals give you an objective opinion of your work that comes from an experienced industry professional. They help you make your work the best it can be, whether you want to share your story with your family, self-publish your own book, or submit it to a commercial publisher.
When should I get an assessment or appraisal?
A Manuscript Assessment gives objective, professional feedback from an industry expert who is unconnected with your work. Because of this, we recommend that your assessor not be the first person to read your manuscript. An assessment is most beneficial when it comes at the later stages of your drafting, after you’ve first received feedback from your peers (e.g. a writing group).
A Publisher Submission Appraisal helps you make your submission package clear and effective when you are ready to submit your work to a publisher or literary agent. This process usually takes place post-workshopping and drafting, when you have taken in all feedback on your work.
What do assessments or appraisals cost?
Manuscript Assessment costs vary depending on style and word count. Please refer to the table below for our current assessment rates.
Note that a full price membership costs $75, so often it is good value to become a member if you aren’t already.
|Type of Assessment||Word Count / Length||Member Rate||Non-member Rate|
|Children’s Book||250 words||$275||$350|
|Prose||Up to 10000 words||$315||$405|
|Publisher Submission Appraisal||For sample up to 6,000 words, synopsis, and cover letter||$370||$420|
Why have your prices changed?
The changes in price for our assessments and appraisals, effective as of 15 February 2022, have been made in order to pay our tutors and assessors a fair and competitive market rate for specialised work.
These rates remain very competitive within the market in Australia, and we are confident in the high quality of work our assessors offer.
Where does my assessment or appraisal fee go?
The majority of our fees go to our assessors, with the remainder going towards Writers Victoria’s overheads, including staff time to administer the program. As a non-profit, the very slim margin that Writers Victoria makes on our services goes back into the organisation in order to continue our work.
Do you have any subsidies or financial assistance available?
Writers Victoria runs The Writers Victoria Fund, which aims to increase opportunities for writers who experience financial and social barriers to developing their writing skills and connecting with the writing and publishing community. We encourage anyone wanting to book a Manuscript Assessment but having trouble financially to apply for The Writers Victoria Fund.
How do I book a Manuscript Assessment or Publisher Submission Appraisal?
Complete the booking form and email it to our Program Team. On receipt of this form, we will contact you with details of how to electronically submit your work for assessment.
We prefer electronic submissions over hard copy submissions, though if you need to submit a hard copy please contact the team to discuss this before posting.