Manuscript Assessment


I can highly recommend John Harman’s Manuscript Assessment services. Having reached a stage of desperation where I was nearly ready to give up, John’s considered input proved to be a huge boost to my book project. 

His detailed report covered narrative structure, credibility and everything in between. I really appreciated his thoroughness and candor throughout. As well as suggesting ‘global’ improvements, John pointed out specific areas to work on. He even pointed out that I had my car passenger in Denmark sitting on the wrong side!

In my view, a manuscript assessed by John is an invaluable tool for anyone with a story to tell.

Ben West

Author, Changing Tracks 2013

Alistair McGuinness, the author of  ‘THE CREATIVE NOMAD – From Luton To Peru To Ningaloo: Searching For Life After Redundancy’, writes…

Use professionals

Forget the neighbour who dabbles in proofreading and your nephew who is studying graphic design. Self-publishing has grown up and smart indie authors are using professionals for book covers, editing and proofreading.

After 500 hours of writing, I tentatively handed over my manuscript to a professional author and consultant called John Harman then waited for his call to say I had created a masterpiece.

Yes, I was in La-La land and that type of call never came.

What I got instead was a comprehensive report on what to cull, what to improve and what to expand on. My loving manuscript was bathed in red ink and the additional report was five pages long with 25 recommendations.

After three days in shock, I reread John’s report and planned my counter attack.

I consider this professional feedback as the most positive impact on my manuscript and during the next 18 months (one hour per day) I methodically worked through the recommendations.

What is Manuscript Assessment?

A manuscript assessment from John Harman gives you a multi-page report of carefully considered and detailed feedback on your manuscript, analysing elements such as…

  • The Nature of the Work
  • The Structure of the Book
  • Voice and Point of View
  • The Plot
  • Characters
  • Dialogue
  • Exposition
  • Pace
  • Writing Style
  • Editing
  • Length
  • Credibility and Research
  • Manuscript Presentation
  • The Next Step Towards Publication
  • Recommendations

Or…. if the work is non-fiction:

  • Language
  • Style
  • Clarity
  • Structure
  • Logical Development
  • Appropriateness to the Target Readership
  • The Next Step Towards Publication
  • Recommendations

John has been assessing manuscripts and undertaking manuscript makeovers for many years. He has written for a living all his working life, first as a journalist and now as an author, popular novelist, scriptwriter, manuscript assessor, writing coach, writing mentor, ghostwriter, copywriter, book doctor, and as a creative writing teacher.

Manuscript Assessment Australia

Why Have Your Manuscript Assessed?

It had never been easy to get published but these days it is harder than ever. Agents’ and editors’ slush piles grow exponentially but while the quantity of submissions is going up, the quality is going down.

Just getting your manuscript in front of an editor is difficult: many publishers refuse to take submissions from unpublished writers and a lot of agents are not taking on new clients.

Even so, new books by new authors are published every year because publishers are still desperate for good well told stories; novels and non-fiction works that will sell.

So how do new writers do it?

Firstly they understand that having completed their first draft they are still a long way from submission. They revise and rewrite, time and time again. Then they put their manuscript out for an independent assessment. Often, even published authors put their manuscript out for assessment. Manuscript Assessment used to be undertaken by commissioning editors in publishing houses. Not any more – they don’t have the time.

So an independent objective assessment of your story – by someone who knows what they are doing – is vital.

Why Not Ask Family or Friends?

The horror stories are legion. Either they think you are a genius or they expect you to fail miserably. Friends and family are rarely experts in either writing or, equally important, the craft of story telling. So, even if it’s praised, you still never really know if your manuscript is any good, while someone who is jealous or bitter may, under the guise of being constructive, criticise your manuscript so much it puts you off writing for years.

But Why Spend Money on What Editors Once Did?

Because they don’t do it now; not until they are seriously considering your submission will they undertake a detailed manuscript assessment. What will help persuade them to publish you is that they don’t have to do a lot of it. It’s already been done.

For a serious writer money spent on manuscript assessment is an investment. A good manuscript assessment enables serious writers to make a quantum leap in their craft: a major step forward, in which they learn a great deal both about writing creatively and about the balance and construction of free-flowing narrative.

Manuscript assessment is not for egocentrics who don’t believe they can improve. It is for serious writers who are determined to seek publication.

Manuscript Assessment from John Harman

An independent manuscript assessment from John Harman will –

  • give you an edge: it gets your manuscript closer to the top of the pile and to the point of being noticed
  • be objective and rigorous
  • tell you the truth… though he is always aware of how fragile a writer’s confidence can be
  • be sensitive to your intentions and the intentions of your work
  • will seek to preserve your individual ‘voice’ at all costs
  • will provide you with individual attention (he only undertakes one manuscript assessment at a time)

And — although a manuscript assessment is not a line edit — where the manuscript is marked up for grammar, punctuation, spelling etc — he will mark up your manuscript for obvious or consistent slips and infelicities.


Finally, in order for you to know exactly
how publishers require a manuscript to be laid out – send for John’s


Cost of assessment depends upon the length of the manuscript

Contact John to tell him about your manuscript and to obtain the FREE FACT SHEET