Olvar Wood offers manuscript appraisals of book-length and short works in all genres, including children’s fiction, biography, non-fiction, crime, speculative fiction, poetry and even academic theses, essays or articles. Our assessors are published writers with post-graduate qualifications and teaching experience, whose goal is to help you make your book the best it can be.

Our appraisals average (for a book-length work) at around 12-15 pages of detailed, personal, and constructive feedback; what’s working well and what could be better. The appraisal usually includes a structural report (comments on plot and structure, character, setting etc) as well as more minor suggestions on style, grammar, dialogue and so on.  We will also mark up the first 20 pages of your manuscript with comments, suggestions and corrections – similar to a copy or line edit. Your marked-up pages will be returned to you with your report.

Our assessors are not anonymous; we stand behind the assessment we make, and are more than happy to meet with you to discuss the report after it’s complete.

The assumed starting point for our appraisal service is that you are preparing to submit your work to a publisher or agent. The appraisal report will give you a clear indication of the work required before doing so.

If you are not sure if you are ready for a full appraisal, but are seeking professional feedback, you may wish to consider our Manuscript Triage service, which allows you to submit the first 50 pages of your manuscript and a synopsis for assessment. You will receive a four to six page report, with the option of a face-to-face or phone meeting. NB: If you return to Olvar Wood for a mentorship or other service within 12 months, the cost of the Triage will be deducted from your invoice.

How much will it cost?

The cost of your appraisal will depend on the length of your manuscript:

Short Works:
per 5000 words
Book-length works:
up to 65 000 words
per 10 000 words over 65 000 $50
Manuscript Triage (50 pp) $300

All amounts are quoted in Australian dollars. Olvar Wood is not registered for and does not charge GST.

What does an appraisal include?

  • a detailed evaluation of the work’s strengths and areas for improvement;
  • suggestions for ways in which to address those areas that could be further improved;
  • suggestions for further research or reading;
  • a clear statement of whether we believe your work is ready for submission to a professional publisher or agent;
  • An opportunity to follow up your report by meeting with your assessor (in person or email/phone).

How long will it take?

It will take three to four weeks to assess a short work, such as an essay or short story up to 5000 words.

It will take between six and eight weeks to read and assess a book-length manuscript of up to 70 000 words.

If your manuscript is longer than 75 000 words, please contact us for an estimated time frame.

Can you get my work published?

We cannot guarantee that you will get published just by getting your work appraised. So much depends on you: not just how well developed your project is to begin with, but how you apply the feedback to develop your work even further. However, we do enjoy working relationships with a number of literary agencies and publishers, and can offer you advice regarding appropriate markets and opportunities if the work is ready and suitable. What we can guarantee is that your appraisal will be an honest and professional evaluation of your work, with detailed suggestions as to how to further develop the manuscript to a publishable standard.

Manuscript format

Please post a hard copy of your manuscript to: PO Box 252, Palmwoods, QLD 4555.

Please prepare your manuscript as follows.

  1. One and a half spaced and single sided printing.
  2. 12 point Times New Roman font.
  3. A header on each page that includes your surname, the title of your work, and the page number. These should appear in the following format: Tolstoy/Anna Karenina/2.
  4. Paragraphs should be indented, except for the first paragraph of a chapter or new section, which should be left aligned.
  5. Each new chapter should appear on a new page.
  6. The title page should include:
    • Your name, postal and email addresses, and any other contact details, in the top left corner.
    • The approximate word count in the top right corner.
    • The title of the manuscript, centred, about halfway down the page.
    • Your pen name (whether it’s the same as or different to your real name) centred beneath the title.