The main role an editor plays is to guide the writer to realise on the page the full potential of the story they are compelled to tell. There are different levels of editing: structural editing, copyediting and proofreading. Some editors, like Laurel Cohn and her team, also assess manuscripts and mentor writers.
The best way to give you editorial feedback in the first instance is to provide a manuscript assessment. The editorial report that you will receive from an assessment will help you approach the next draft and decide whether you require editing services such as structural editing or copyediting.
We work with book-length manuscripts and short-form writing (essays, short stories, novellas). We are experienced with fiction (literary, popular, genre fiction), narrative non-fiction (e.g. memoir, travel, history, personal essay), general non-fiction (e.g. personal development, reference, health) and children’s books (picture books, middle grade and YA). Get in touch if you have any questions about the genre of your manuscript.
Yes. A submission usually comprises a synopsis and the first three chapters. Non-fiction writers will need to also include a chapter outline. We can give you valuable feedback on how successful your submission may be, and why. This is akin to an assessment of a partial draft. Fees for manuscript assessment are based on word count. We can also copyedit a submission package to make sure it is as error free as possible. Please get in touch for further information and fees.
Yes, we offer assessments on a partial draft, such as the first three chapters plus a synopsis, and, where appropriate, a chapter outline.
We believe this is really a question that only the writer can answer. We are able to let you know what is working and what is not working in the current draft, and to offer guidance on how to make the manuscript more likely to be of interest to an agent or publisher by developing the text further. It is then up to you as a writer to decide whether you think it is worth putting the required work in. Our aim is to provide you with feedback, advice, suggestions and critical engagement so that you can answer the question of whether it is worth pursuing yourself.
Many writers we have worked with have been successfully published, but we cannot guarantee that your work will be picked up by an agent or publisher. While we can offer you the guidance and support to help you produce a high standard manuscript, much depends on your commitment, patience and determination, as well as the vagaries of the market.
We have some contacts in the publishing world, and if we feel a manuscript will interest a certain agent or publisher, we will use those contacts to help the writer. However, most writers we have worked with have made their own connections with publishers and agents.
For assessments we prefer to work with printed manuscripts as this allows for more dynamic, helpful annotations for the writer. We also request a digital version for reference saved as a single file in Word or PDF. For certain jobs, including writers based outside of Australia, we work on the digital version using Track Changes in Word and inserting comments.
Most copyediting and proofreading is done with a digital version using Track Changes in Word and inserting comments, but can be done on a print out. Most structural editing is done on a print out to allow for more dynamic annotations. Please get in touch to discuss the options.
For both digital and printed manuscripts, please use the following formatting:
For printed manuscripts only:
If you have any questions about formatting your work, please get in touch.
Your work is considered automatically protected by copyright under Australian law. There is no registration of copyright in Australia or in most other countries (the U.S. is an exception). Through technological protection measures and contracts, you can limit other people’s ability to use or access your copyright material. Keep in mind also that it is extremely rare for writers to have their ideas stolen by others (and you can’t copyright ideas, only text). We do not as a matter of course use non-disclosure agreements as we treat each manuscript as confidential. However, if you wish to send us a non-disclosure agreement, we are happy to have a look at it. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any concerns about confidentiality.
We begin with an initial consultation between you and the mentor where the mentor gives feedback on submitted material preceding the session. This allows you to have a sense of the type of engagement the mentor has with your work. After the initial face-to-face session, you can decide whether you would like to continue with the mentoring relationship.
We have an hourly rate to cover the session and any required reading time. You can buy a block of 2–10 hours up front. Time spent reading and discussing the work varies according to how much material is sent for review, and how much time is needed to discuss it. Get in touch for our fees.
Most of our consultations and mentoring takes place by phone or Zoom, whichever you prefer. In person sessions are an option if you live in the same city/town as the mentor. Laurel Cohn and her team are based in Australia, scattered across metropolitan and regional areas of NSW and Victoria.