First Feedback

We know that a reader wants to be grabbed in the initial pages of a novel or collection as they’re standing in the aisle at the bookstore or reading a sample on their eReader. Publishers and agents have been known to give up after page one. In order to capture interest and keep it, your story’s opening has to do many things. Engage or pique interest, be relatable or create anticipation, salacious or dramatic, and definitely build an expectation in what is to come. We have two tiers of first feedback to consider for those writing fiction or nonfiction in any form or genre, and poetry.

First 1500

Up to 1500 words ($130 members only – join from $60 here)
Submit the first 1500 words of your work in progress, or four pages of poetry (double spaced, times new roman 12pt) for feedback on initial setup and enjoyability. We’ll tell you if it works, if we’re tempted by the build up, and give you an overall unbiased view of your sample not as a reader but as a publishing professional.

First 1500 feedback can be on any form of writing, including:

  • Short story/flash fiction
  • A key poem or suite of poems
  • Creative nonfiction
  • Memoir
  • Essay
  • The opening for your novel.

First Three Chapters

Three chapters (Members: $385 | Non-members $550)
Whether it’s memoir, nonfiction or fiction, we’ll focus your feedback on the opening sentences, the introduction of your world and characters, setting the scenes and your prose. We’ll point out problematic areas like info dumps, stilted dialogue or introspection. You can expect two to three pages of detailed feedback.

Why book a First Feedback?

It might be that you’re getting prepared to submit to a literary magazine or journal, need a fresh set of eyes to help you see how your writing could be improved, want to sense-check a new project, or are seeking advice on a work in progress before you send it out to agents or publishers. In all cases, First Feedback will help.

First Feedback is the perfect option for short stories, first chapters, essays, poetry and other shorter-form writing. An expert will provide you with a report on your writing’s strengths and areas for improvement, asking questions to make your writing the best it can be.

If you’re considering a full manuscript assessment, First Feedback is also a great way to get an idea of what you can expect.

How does it work?

  1. Choose the right option for you from the above (First 1500 words or First Three Chapters)
  2. Submit your writing as a word document, Times New Roman, 12pt, double-spaced
  3. Your submission will be assessed by one of our team of experienced publishing professionals
  4. Within four weeks, you will receive written feedback, with questions designed to develop your work and provide you with clear next steps, addressing any particular topics you have identified in your submission.

Fine print: Submissions must be written by humans and be your own work. We do not assess AI generated works or public domain rewrites.

Other services

Manuscript Assessment
Provides comprehensive, structural feedback on your manuscript, identifying its strengths and areas for improvement, to help you bring your work into the best shape possible.

Pre-submission Assessment
Once your manuscript is ready for submission, you need to spend time perfecting your pitch. While all publishers and agents have their own submission guidelines, we can give you a general assessment of your synopsis, cover letter, biography and first chapter (or chapter outline if your manuscript is nonfiction.)

Personal Consultations
Writers SA offers thirty minute consultations for guidance and advice on ways to achieve your writing goals, or as a follow up to a written assessment.

For more information, please contact [email protected]

Booking form

Submit your details below.

  • Max. file size: 50 MB.
    Please upload your piece here. Only upload a Word doc, Times New Roman 12pt, double spaced. No other format will be accepted. Failure to submit to these guidelines may slow down the process of your assessment. If your file won’t upload, please email [email protected] to complete the process over the phone.
  • Please put the title of your submission here. You are welcome to put ‘Untitled’ if your piece/s do not have a name as yet.
  • e.g. fiction, nonfiction, memoir, poetry.
  • Please select a feedback option: assessment of your first 1500 words, or first three chapters.
  • MasterCard
    Supported Credit Cards: MasterCard, Visa

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