Denise M Taylor

Writing Consultant I Editor I Proofreader

Whether you’ve written fiction or non-fiction, my assessment of your unpublished manuscript will provide an objective critique involving a comprehensive written report suggesting ways to possibly improve the overall structure, plot, characterisation, voice, point of view and the balance of dialogue and prose in fiction; and in non-fiction manuscripts I focus on structure, content development, formatting, use of research and facts to support arguments, overall plausibility and suitability for the intended readership. If required, I also comment on that all-important synopsis and/or pitch letter for submission to potential publishers. 

If you ask me to assess your unpublished manuscript: I will be your contact and undertake the assessment personally. I do not engage freelance reviewers to write appraisals for my clients because I like to develop a flow-through understanding and relationship with each writer (which also means you save money because I don’t have to pay someone else to do the work for me). I am an experienced assessor of most genres, including Women’s fiction, Young Adult, Literary, Fantasy, Sc-Fi, Mystery, Historical and Crime novels. I have also assessed a broad range of non-fiction, including memoirs, biographies and academic books.

A manuscript assessment looks at the big picture and I do not correct grammar or punctuation, but I highlight word-choice mistakes and poorly constructed sentences. I often insert a copy of a passage of writing into the report and show how improvements could be made.

An assessment is more useful if the manuscript is complete and even had feedback from two or three readers/peers, which means the final version of the manuscript being submitted for a professional, objective assessment may have had a few redrafts along the way.

On many occasions, following my assessment, a redraft is returned to me for editing and/or proofreading. It’s even more pleasing when I start out as a writing mentor and move through the writing process with the author, acting as a coach, motivator and objective ‘third eye’. Conversely, I often end up mentoring a client following a manuscript assessment. Even though I’m based in Melbourne, the internet allows me to work with writers around Australia.

Madelaine Dickie

It is always pleasing to receive an email from a writer whom I have helped in some way to bring her or his book to fruition. Madelaine Dickie’s book, ‘Red Can Origami’, was published by Fremantle Press. Madelaine asked me to write an assessment of her early draft and I’m thrilled to see her book ‘on the shelves’.

The Age wrote a positive review that ended with “. . . narrated in the unusual second person . . . written with verve, wit and a travel writer’s eye for detail”. Madelaine kindly wrote a testimonial:

‘Denise’s assessment was thorough, considered and she highlighted several important shortcomings in the plot and character development. Red Can Origami became a much stronger manuscript for her input!’

Here are a few more comments from my clients:

First, you are very sharp, very perceptive, and I am delighted to see that you like some of my favourite bits.  Ego fully appeased here.

Next, you have pounced on the weaknesses with forensic skill, and this is, of course, what I most needed.  It is wonderful to have such a clear diagnosis. Wonderful too that I am sufficiently detached from it now to be able to deal with it sans blood loss. 

You are someone I see I would be able to trust with a second reading, leading to final polishing and copy editing.  Thank you again for an excellent and quick job.  I hope that now it will be possible to save the poor limping book.

(Viki W)

Thanks you so much Denise. Your assessment of my manuscript has been insightful and incredibly helpful. I am now well on the way, but I will return to you for a copy edit. 

(David W)


Manuscript Assessment

Fees & Submission Guidelines

The first step is to send me a submission via my Contact page or directly via my email: and introduce yourself! 

The following information is useful:

        1. Fiction or non-fiction?
        2. Genre/field of research
        3. A brief explanation of any specific requirements/concerns
        4. The word count of your manuscript
        5. Deadline for completion?

My fee (Australian dollars) is based on the word count of the manuscript as per the schedule below:

Manuscript Word Count Fee
Up to 20,000 words $450
Up to 50,000 words $600
Up to 75,000 words $735
Up to 100,000 words $855
Up to 120,000 words $975
Up to 150,000 words $1,125

My fee for an assessment of your short story would be $350 if the word count is less than 8,000 words.

For all manuscripts over 150,000 words, the fee will be quoted on an individual basis when you contact me.

In addition, if you require a critique of your synopsis (maximum 500) words and/or short pitch to submit to publishers with your manuscript, please add $175 to the fee.

The fee must be paid before my work begins. Payment is made via direct deposit to my bank account, which is set out in the emailed invoice.

Once the fee has been paid it will be assumed that the description of the service, and the Terms & Conditions (below) have been read and agreed as a Memorandum of Understanding.

You can submit your manuscript and a brief synopsis in Word format via email or post a hard copy (with a reply-paid envelope for its safe return, if required).

My written assessment, which is approximately 3,000 words, is emailed to you within three weeks of receiving your manuscript. 


As all writers know, writing is a journey of discovery with many twists and turns.

Hope to ‘hear’ from you soon!


Terms and Conditions

Denise M Taylor respects and protects her clients’ privacy. Denise collects personal information via her website, telephone calls, and written communications. Some of the information that is requested is essential for Denise to be able to provide her manuscript assessment service, and some is additional information that the client chooses to provide. Denise will treat personal information with no less protection than that provided for by the National Privacy Principles and the privacy laws that are in force in Australia.

The client must provide full and accurate information prior to a quote/estimate being issued. The client assumes all responsibility for any problems or errors, as well as legal liability resulting from an incorrect statement of work. Denise reserves the right to deny or refuse service for any reason and without explanation. For example, material submitted that advocates violence, hatred or discrimination in contravention of national and international laws. Transmission of material which is virus infected, defamatory, obscene or pornographic is strictly prohibited.

The client entering into a contract for the service will retain the sole copyright, ownership and control over all materials submitted. It is the client’s responsibility to keep a copy of the manuscript. The copyright of Denise’s reports remains with her, and they cannot be published or otherwise used without approval.

A manuscript assessment does not guarantee publication.

If Denise is unable to complete the project, all advance fees that have been paid by the client up until the point of termination will be refunded.