Denise M Taylor

Writing Consultant I Editor I Proofreader I Teacher

Whether you’ve written fiction or non-fiction, my assessment of your unpublished manuscript will provide an objective critique involving a comprehensive written report suggesting ways to possibly improve the overall structure, plot,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. One thing I can’t do is tell you whether the final product will be publishable.

But there is one thing I can guarantee  if you ask me to assess your unpublished manuscript: I will be your contact and undertake the assessment personally. I do not engage external assessors to write appraisals for my clients because I like to develop a flow-through understanding and relationship with each writer and her/his project before and after the assessment is completed.

A manuscript assessment looks at the big picture and I do not correct grammar, punctuation, word-choice mistakes. However, 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.

In every manuscript there are strengths, which I am always eager to point out to the writer. I have written a separate article about taking the plunge, and the advantages of paying for a professional, objective appraisal of your manuscript. So, if you’re frustrated with not being able to nail your ideas, plot, characters, or research onto the ‘page’ with clarity, or you have doubts about an aspect of your writing, then I may be able to help. 

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.

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 recently 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!’

Madelaine Dickie, photo by Charlotte Dickie @charbllavita


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)

I can’t thank you enough for your thorough and helpful assessment of my manuscript. I am now very motivated to redraft my narrative with your suggestions in mind. I will definitely recommend your manuscript appraisal service to others in my writing group! I’ll be back to have you edit my ‘final’ work.

(Mandy 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 email me and introduce yourself! It is always useful to have a degree of understanding of a writer’s background and experience.

The following information is also useful:

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

My fee is based on the word count of the manuscript as per the schedule below:

Manuscript Word Count Fee
Up to 10,000 words $350
Up to 25,000 words $400
Up to 50,000 words $500
Up to 75,000 words $600
Up to 100,000 words $700
Up to 120,000 words $800

Longer assessments can 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 $150 to the fee.

If you decide to proceed with an assessment of your writing project, the one-off fee must be paid via direct deposit to my bank account (or by cheque if you prefer), which is set out in the emailed invoice, before my work begins.

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 report, which is usually between 2,000 and 2,500 words, is emailed to you within four weeks of receiving your manuscript. 

So if you think your writing project would benefit from an objective


Manuscript Assessment


please contact me by way of introduction and I will reply within 24 hours.

I am happy to discuss a mentoring/manuscript assessment/editing & proofreading package that can be negotiated at the outset or agreed to along the way. 


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.

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