Manuscript assessment

A 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. Writers SA offers writers access to a professional, independent reading and assessment service to provide this feedback for you. All our assessors are industry professionals, with many years’ experience in reading, assessing, reviewing, and publishing manuscripts.

We offer manuscript assessment for the following:

  • Fiction (long and short form) – all genres
  • Non-fiction (long and short form)
  • Poetry (and collections of poetry)
  • Children’s books
  • Short stories and short story collections
  • Scripts and screenplays

Why do I need one?

A manuscript assessment is a valuable means of preparing your manuscript for the publishing world, whether your next step is submitting it to a competition, querying a literary agent, or pitching to a publisher. Many writers find it beneficial to have their manuscript read not only by acquaintances, but by an independent reader who has an eye for what makes stories work in the different genres and markets.

What you can expect:

Writers SA will match your manuscript with the most appropriate assessor, and 4-6 weeks after payment, you will receive an assessment report (minimum of five pages of notes) outlining specific strengths and weaknesses, with a focus on plot, pacing, style, character, setting, voice and dialogue. It may also provide information on potential markets, readership and publishers, and constructive feedback on how the manuscript can be improved.

There is also the potential to book a paid phone consultation with your assessor if you have follow-up questions (not all assessors offer this service).

What you won’t get:

There are various types of manuscript assessments, that provide different levels of editing. This service is not a copy editing/proofreading service. Nor is it about connecting you with an agent or publisher. This service is about getting independent professional advice on your writing and the development of your writing, and about getting the best possible manuscript prior to submission.

If you require assistance with line editing, grammar, formatting etc., we recommend getting in touch with Editors SA, the South Australian branch of the Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd).

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

How do I apply? 

To apply for a manuscript assessment, and for costs and submission guidelines, please contact us at [email protected]. Please let us know the word count of your manuscript so we can provide you with a quote for the service. Writers SA members receive a 30% discount on the assessment cost – to join our membership, you can sign up here.

Other Services:

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 general assessment of your synopsis, cover letter, biography and first chapter (or chapter outline if your manuscript is nonfiction.) Both synopsis and cover letter should each be no longer than one page.

First Feedback
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.

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


Our assessors are highly experienced industry professionals. To learn more about some of the assessors we are proud to work with, see the list below. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and we cannot guarantee that you will be matched to a specific assessor, but we will ensure you’re matched with an expert in your genre/area.

Patrick Allington

Specialises in: literary fiction; non-fiction.

For more information read his bio.

Lauren Bevilacqua

After training as an editor in 2016, Lauren now works with authors to draw out the best in their stories, whether fiction or nonfiction, spanning most genres.

For more information read her bio.

Adam Cece

Specialises in: junior fiction; crime fiction; screenwriting; traditional publishing; young adult.

For more information read his bio.

Rommie Corso

Specialises in: self publishing; book marketing and business support; children’s books; nonfiction; book design.

For more information read her bio.

Lisa L Hannett

Specialises in: fantasy; short stories; speculative fiction; dark fantasy/horror.

For more information read her bio.

Jennifer Mills

Specialises in: literary fiction, non-fiction; contemporary; short stories.

For more information read her bio.

Sumudu Narayana

Sumudu is a freelance editor and beta, specialising in literary fiction, romance, YA, fantasy, and crime, with interests in general and historical fiction.

For more information read her bio.

Victoria Purman

Specialises in: general fiction, women’s fiction, romance, historical fiction.

For more information read her bio.


“The manuscript assessment process was quick, easy and simple. I was surprised at how well the feedback was structured. It covered everything from point of view, structure and even the style I was looking for in improving my manuscript. I will be telling my friends how amazing it was.”

– Zia Westerman

“Getting help from Aislinn Kearns (and my previous mentor Anne Bartlett) has been invaluable, particularly as my nomadic life has meant I haven’t been able to tap into a local, regular writing group. Having Aislinn’s feedback has been crucial in furthering the writing of my first book. She answered all my questions, read my manuscript with these in mind, wrote a comprehensive critique relating to the areas I was concerned with and pinpointed exactly where I may have been ‘stuck.’ She offered suggestions in a clear and respectful manner and offered possible scenarios to help with the pace and flow of my manuscript. I spoke to her twice on the phone and she was very encouraging. We were able to discuss character, plot and various forms of publishing in a relaxed way. I felt as if I were having a comfy chat with a literary pal! She also kept checking in with me to ensure she was answering my questions. Aislinn provided me with some great short and long-term writing tips and gave me a pat on the back for being on the right writing track! The experience was well worth the money.”

– Fiona Black

“Wow, thank you so much for this wonderful feedback… I’ve been too scared to show anyone the story so this has been so helpful at giving me confidence in what I’ve written, along with giving me guidance about which areas I can adjust to strengthen the story.

Thanks so much for offering this service and making it so convenient to get feedback in this way.”

– Past feedback recipient

Stay in the loop:

The latest literary news, events, opportunities, workshops, competitions and more, delivered weekly to your inbox.

Major Supporters