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FAQs on publishing and more.
Member only guide to the Australian book industry.
One of the hardest things to determine is when your manuscript is ready for publication. After a lot of hard work wrestling with words on the page, often over months and years, you’re likely to be too close to your work to see it objectively. So, who can you turn to for professional feedback?
The best thing you can do is invest in having your work assessed by an experienced professional. They will read your manuscript and provide a constructive report that specifies the strengths of your work, the areas of improvement, and whether they consider it to be at a publishable standard. If it isn’t, but they believe it could be, they will set out what you need to do to increase your chances of success.
If you’re ready to have your work assessed by one of our expert Manuscript Assessors read the FAQs below and then submit your application form.
A manuscript assessment involves an assessor reviewing your work and providing a professionally written report which evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of your manuscript, as well as its market potential. This report may highlight inconsistencies, deficiencies, pacing, character development, narrative arc, structure, reader appeal, and offer suggestions on how to bring your work to a publishable standard.
It is sometimes also known as manuscript appraisal, manuscript evaluation, manuscript critique or structural report.
A manuscript assessment provides a fresh, objective, professional perspective from a publishing expert. If you’re wondering if your manuscript is ready for publication, or you’ve been given conflicting advice from readers who aren’t publishing professionals, a manuscript assessment will give you an expert view, and guide you on what further work may be needed.
A manuscript assessment can also be a great way for you to be introduced to the editing process, if you have not been introduced to it already, and to learn how to take on board constructive criticism.
Before investing in a manuscript assessment we recommend polishing your manuscript as best you can over multiple drafts, and having it read by readers – whether they’re from your writing group or a friend who reads your genre – who can give you honest feedback. Manuscript assessments can be a substantial financial commitment and submitting your manuscript too early will not give the greatest value for your money.
A manuscript assessment involves an assessor providing a written report looking at the overall strengths and weaknesses of your work. Unless you book a follow up session, no discussion takes place between yourself and the assessor. The cost is also based on the length of the work.
A mentorship involves a dialogue with a mentor, working together one on one on specific issues with your manuscript. The cost is based on time, and includes the mentor’s reading time. Instead of an overall reading of your manuscript, you may choose to engage a mentor to advise you on specific issues – such as a character arc, or a plot point – that you know exists in your work, but which you are stuck on.
See the ASA’s Mentorships.
Your assessor will read your manuscript with the relevant genre and readership in mind. Assessments will include comment on:
Manuscript assessment reports for adult fiction, non-fiction and poetry are between 2,000-2,500 words long. Assessments of children’s picture books are 1,500-2,000 words long.
All genres across fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children’s literature.
The ASA offers several manuscript assessors who have been selected based on their skills and experience. They are industry professionals. You can choose your assessor or we can help to choose one for you. We cannot guarantee that the assessor you choose will be available at the time of your request, however, we will let you know when their availability opens up, or suggest an alternative.
See our manuscript assessors below.
The length of time it takes to complete the assessment will vary depending on the length of your manuscript and capacity of the assessor. It’s therefore important to let us know in your application form if you have a deadline you are working towards. Generally, assessments can take from 4 to 6 weeks.
If you’ve received your written report and would like to discuss it further, you can book a one-hour one-on-one follow-up with the assessor for an additional fee of $310. This session is subject to the assessor’s agreement and availability.
If you would like further assistance with implementing the advice of the assessor you can undertake an ASA Mentorship.
If you have any unanswered questions, please contact us on 02 9211 1004 or via email: [email protected].
Pricing for an assessment of a manuscript over 110,000 can be negotiated – contact us at [email protected].
Please use the booking button to request a manuscript assessment. You will be required to provide a synopsis (up to 300 words), and a brief explanation of what you’d like the assessor to focus on, if anything, as well as a copy of your manuscript as a Word document. ASA staff will be in touch to confirm your request and invoice you for payment.