Manuscript Assessments/Private Mentoring

I know how it feels. You’ve completed a manuscript, you’ve shown your partner/mum/best friend and they’ve given you all the positive praise you’re after. But how can you trust your family, or even a friend who has no experience with writing/publishing? How do you even know if your story is any good?

That’s where a manuscript assessment comes in. Over the years I’ve paid for many and relied on professional feedback to lift my stories, cut the crap and make the pages shine. It’s having someone in the industry gaze over your work and be critically, yet kindly honest.

There are so many manuscript assessors out there, it’s hard to choose who is right for you. You have to be able to trust the person who’s commenting and providing feedback on your work.

As an Author, English teacher, Curtis Brown Creative Alumna and graduate in journalism and creative writing. I have TONS of experience giving and getting editorial feedback. Four years of my University life was spent dissecting literature, working in groups and critiquing each other’s manuscripts. We had supervisors marking our own work too, spurring on the first real taste of rejection. After learning all the techniques at university, I then became an English teacher and suddenly I became the one doing the marking and critiquing.

A few years later I got my literary agent and book deals which meant re-write upon re-write, learning even more about what it takes to polish a story. I know what to look for— what works and what doesn’t— how literary techniques are used to position readers to respond with emotion towards your work. I know what agents and publishers are after. I know how to target the business minded industry professionals.

See below about what services I offer…

How I assess your work:

I’ll provide a close reading of your manuscript, assessing:


*Structure and consistencies

*Character development


*Pace, tension/conflict and how you’re maintaining reader engagement


What I provide:

*A report on suggestions and tips to improve your work

*Hand-written annotations on your manuscript

What I can’t provide:

*A marked-up manuscript in Track Changes

*Proofreading & editing on grammar and punctuation errors. (There are individuals/organisations online who will work with writers to edit manuscripts)

Before Starting, I’ll need…

  1. To determine what main feedback you’re wanting from the appraisal.
  2. To mutually agree on the number of words I’m working with (See below for rates)
  3. A 1-2 page synopsis/blurb of your work-in-progress


Up to 25,000 words, allow 2 weeks from receipt of manuscript

<50,000 words = 3 weeks

<90,000 words = 4 weeks

<120,000 words = 5 weeks

Please send your manuscript as a Word Document with double-spacing in a twelve-point standard font (e.g., Times New Roman). Number the pages and include a header with your name and the title of your work.

Pricing (excludes GST)

Up to 5,000 words $250 (1.5 hours)

Up to 10,000 words $400 (3 hours)

Up to 25,000 words $650 (7 hours)

Up to 50,000 words $850 (12 hours)

Up to  80,000 words $1,250 (16 hours)

Up to 100,000 (Manuscripts of this size require a lengthy reading time. Please contact for details).


If you’d like a more in-depth discussion on your manuscript: 45-minute $100 (via Zoom)


Need someone to bounce around your ideas and issues? Need to set goals and stay accountable? Are you stuck and need inspo or motivation?

I’m here!

1-1 private mentoring is for writers who just need someone to talk to who ‘gets it’.

1 hour zoom calls = $100 however many days/weeks/times you need it!

$120 for initial meeting whereby you send me (email) your synopsis and any issues you’d like to focus on.

***PLEASE NOTE: All meetings will be conducted via Zoom if COVID-19 restrictions in place All prices exclude GST Full payment is needed prior to commencement of the appraisal/mentoring

Holly Craig