Frequently Asked Questions

I’m a new writer. What sort of assessment should I choose?

For new writers, for example those who have limited writing experience or no published work, we recommend our Intensive assessments.

More experienced writers or those whose work we have previously assessed would benefit from our Manuscript assessment.

For details of the different types of assessment we offer, click here.

How do I send my work for assessment?

Work should be sent as a MS Word file. Please see our assessment submission form.

How do I pay for an assessment?

We accept credit card payments via our assessment submission form.

Can I send my work in hard copy for assessment?

Bedlam Books only accepts manuscripts in electronic form, in Word format.

Who will assess my manuscript and what is their experience?

As we are a micro business, most assessments are done by either Emma or Marie. We have more than twenty years’ experience in reading works critically, with an eye to the needs of the publishing industry.

Occasionally, if we are very busy or the manuscript is out of our area of expertise, we will refer a manuscript to a trusted professional within our publishing industry networks. Find out more about us here.

How long will it take for you to asses my manuscript?

Please contact us before you submit your work and we will advise you of the approximate turn-around time.

If you would like to have your work returned by particular date, for example to meet a publisher submission deadline, you might like to consider our two week turn-around service. Two week turn-around incurs an additional fee and is available for Intensive assessments only.

What do I get for my money?

Our assessment reports are detailed and thorough. They vary in length from around 2500 words to above 5000, depending on how detailed our comments need to be for individual manuscripts. If you have used other manuscript assessors, you will know that this is much more than many services offer. We do not use templates or simply tick  boxes in our reports.

All of our reports address the specific concerns of the author and include an analysis of the areas that we feel have the greatest need for improvement. We cite specific examples and offer possible alternatives on how to approach making these changes.

We may also use Track Changes in Word to add comments and suggested edits to your manuscript.

For more information, see our terms and conditions page.

Why do you only offer Intensive assessments to new writers?

We introduced Intensive assessments a number of years ago because we’d found that most new writers benefit from having a smaller amount of work assessed in greater detail rather than a larger part of the manuscript assessed at a higher level.

Because problems that occur early on in the manuscript are nearly always repeated throughout, there is very little benefit to new authors in our commenting on later parts of the manuscript where these early errors impact on the manuscript’s overall direction.

On the other hand, when we highlight these issues early in the manuscript’s development, the author is able to improve their writing themselves – a very useful way to develop in one’s craft.

Will you contact a publisher or agent for me?

No. While we do have some contacts in the industry, the primary aim of our service is to help you improve your writing, so we will not contact publishers or agents on your behalf.

Can I discuss your report with you afterwards?

We do not offer post-assessment consultations; however, we will answer a limited number of additional questions via email.

Can I use your report in my book proposal or curriculum vitae and will you write me a letter of recommendation?

Our reports are designed to help writers to improve their craft. They do not guarantee publication, nor should they be used in promoting your work to publishers.

A publisher is the only person who can decide how attractive the manuscript is to them, how it might suit their list and what they see as its sales potential. An assessment, by contrast, is a tool to help you improve your writing. It is essentially an informed outsider’s opinion on the work and therefore has no place in a proposal.

This is why our reports remain the copyright of Bedlam Books and cannot be used for any purpose other than our stated aim. For the same reason, we do not offer letters of recommendation.

What happens if I don’t agree with your opinion?

Our reports are written with respect for the author and their craft. There may be times when our constructive criticism is hard to take, our advice may not be what you were expecting, or you may not agree with it.

Should this occur, we recommend you let the report sit for a while, then come back to it in a couple of days and see whether it makes more sense to you. New authors often feel vulnerable when they submit their work to criticism, and can take it to heart when the feedback they receive is not what they had anticipated. Simply letting time pass can sometimes make things clearer and less emotionally charged.

Having been in this business for 20 years, we stand by our reports as considered professional opinion, based on our experience in the industry. That said, if you do not agree with our report, you must of course follow your own writing instincts.