Manuscript Assessment

Just finished a first draft? Gearing up to submit to a literary agent?
Or just looking for an honest, professional steer on your work-in-progress so far?
We have a manuscript assessment for you. Pick your perfect report today.

How's My Driving?

An honest, no-nonsense assessment of whether your Work in Progress has potential.

Full Report

Our most comprehensive report – a full MOT on your manuscript

Submission Review

Ready to send your novel out into the world? Check it’s in the best possible shape to snare an agent

What's a manuscript assessment for? Why do I need it?

People choose to have their manuscript assessed for lots of different reasons. It might be that you've just finished a first draft and you have no idea how to go about starting to edit it. Or perhaps you have edited it, once or several times, and you're still not quite sure you've got the thing right. Maybe you've had a few passes from agents or publishers, and you need some help figuring out how to get your novel through those gates; a fresh pair of eyes to show you where things could be improved.

Or maybe you're about to submit to agents, and you'd like some reassurance that your manuscript is in the absolute best shape it could be.

In all of those cases, a professional reader's report will be able to help.

“I am absolutely delighted with my reader's report. It feels so thorough and thoughtful, with such useful and constructive feedback… I feel so encouraged. Thank you and please pass on my thanks to my reader.” Mish, Full Report

Okay, fine. But who are your Readers?
What is a reader anyway?

A "Reader" is an experienced editor – they're often also called book doctors – who reads manuscripts and provides reports on them. They'll be looking at all kinds of things – the quality of the writing; the effectiveness of the structure, plot and characters; the market potential. We use a wide range of industry professionals, all of whom meet our rigorous standards. We've chosen readers from various disciplines and with lots of different interests to ensure we can always match you with someone suitable.

What's the difference
between your reports?

We offer three different services, depending on where you are with your novel. If you've finished a first or a second or a sixth draft, and you want to know how it's all looking, our Full Report is for you. You'll receive a 2,000 word report looking at your novel's structure, its plot and pacing, its characters and the writing itself, plus advice on where we think your novel might fit in the market.

If you've edited and edited and edited some more, and you think your novel's ready to make its way into the world, then choose our Submission Review. Send us your covering letter, synopsis and first fifty pages and we'll tell you if it's ready to snare an agent, in a report of 1,000 words. We'll look at the effectiveness of your synopsis and letter, and give a brief assessment of the writing in your extract – is it working as hard as it could? Will it keep an agent reading?

And if you're halfway through something and you aren't sure if it's the best novel you've ever written or a great unwieldy plotless monster of a thing, well, there's our How's My Driving? report. Send us up to 30,000 words of a work-in-progress and we'll provide a report of 1,000 words on whether we think it has potential. We'll give you feedback on what's working and what's not – looking specifically at the plot, the characters and the structure so far – and hopefully enough enthusiasm to spur you on through the rest of the writing.

Sample Reports
“This is a very impressive, erudite and helpful document. Many of the issues raised have, indeed, been on my mind for the new draft. Others I had not considered - so are even more constructive. Overall, this feedback is most helpful and encouraging.” Tom, Full Report

How does it work?

Once you've figured out which option is the one for you, you'll be asked to upload the relevant documents – so the full manuscript if it's the Full Report you're after, or the appropriate samples for the Submission Review or How's My Driving? report. There'll also be a space for you to write a short covering note, explaining a bit about your novel and what you're looking for from us.

As soon as we receive that and check it's all in order, we'll find a reader who's just right for you. We've got a wide base of them, so that shouldn't be a problem. Once we've matched you with someone, and we've checked they're ready and waiting to receive the manuscript, we'll approve your request. You'll then be able to purchase your chosen report and we'll send the manuscript straight off to the reader. This part of the process is important to us – it means we can make sure we have the perfect reader lined up before we take any money from you.

Our reader will provide your report within four weeks of receipt of the manuscript. If you can't wait quite that long, you can pay an express charge and get your report within seven working days.

What does it cost?

Full Report

We want to keep this part really simple: no confusing pay structures, no per-page fee. We aren't going to penalise you because your story can't be told in 70,000 words! Instead, we have two flat fees for a full read: one for works under 50,000 words (YA and children's novels, novellas) and one for those under 100,000.

For works up to 50,000 words £375
For works up to 100,000 words £500

Works over 100,000 words are a little different, simply because they take the reader longer to read and report on. Get in touch with your requirements and we'll be able to figure out the right package for you.

Submission Review
Covering Letter, synopsis and the first 50 pages £225
How's My Driving
Up to 30,000 words plus a synopsis £225
Need it faster than four weeks?
Express turnaround – receive your report in seven days £100

What if the reader just
doesn't 'get' my novel?

Firstly, it's important to say again that we'll be matching you to a reader who we know has both experience and interest in your genre. We aren't going to send your epic fantasy novel to someone who prefers crime thrillers.

Secondly, our readers are all looking for the same main areas to report on: the novel's structure, its voice, its plot and its characters (see a sample report here). They aren't looking to comment on the Lacanian themes or the pseudo-ghost of the meta-author; they're looking to see what works on a basic storytelling level. They aren't going to take against your novel because of its politics or its style, but they will tell you if it's going to work for a wider audience.

Having said that, if you're looking for feedback on something a bit more specialised, we can do that too. Include as many details as you can in your covering letter and we'll do our best to match you with a reader who'll be able to help.

I've received my report.
Can you put me in touch with the reader?

No. It's an important part of the process that both you and the reader remain anonymous to each other. They don't know anything about you either – we want them to respond to your manuscript and your manuscript alone.

Your report is a standalone product, rather than part of a dialogue. Having said that, if you've revised your manuscript in line with your reader's report, and you'd like the same reader to take another look, we're very happy to arrange that. There's a discount of 10% on our standard prices for resubmissions.

“Your reader certainly gave me plenty to work on. I appreciated the professional no-nonsense approach.” Isobel, Full Report

If you like my novel,
will Faber publish it?

If your reader thinks your manuscript has real potential, they'll suggest agents who might like it too. We'd always advise you seek representation before approaching publishers – it's better for everyone, in the long run.