Assessments - Create a kids' book

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Manuscript Assessments

A favourable assessment from a known agency or individual is one of the few ways to get your manuscript off the slush pile and actually read by publishers.
Few of the literary agents in Australia will accept unpublished children's authors. It is as difficult to find one as to find a publisher.
Virginia or her highly qualified assistants will assess manuscripts written for children of all ages, from picture books for toddlers to adolescent novels. Virginia’s experiences as Judge for the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards, and Convener of the Crichton Award for new illustrators (administered by the Victorian Branch) are invaluable here.
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She has ten years' experience in manuscript assessment, and a lifetime's experience of good children's books (as a public librarian, school librarian and university lecturer). She is also an experienced and respected reviewer. Her doctorate was on young children's responses to books, and a version has been published as Stories, Pictures and Reality: Two Children Tell by Routledge (London) in 2007.

Virginia or another assessor will work with you to bring your manuscript to the standard necessary for publication. This includes both structural editing and copy editing – in other words, as well as advice on content, we will correct your grammar and punctuation too, as we go. Exceptional manuscripts will be offered a recommendatory letter to accompany the submission. Content and presentation are both important. You might like to read her articles on making a picture book and on understanding the children's book publishing market. Also available is her picture book text Yabby as an example of one way picture book texts can be submitted to publishers.


Virginia or one of her highly qualified assistants, Jennifer Dabbs (novels), Jacqui Young (illustrations) or Marlo Garnsworthy. Eileen Nelson, Margaret Aitken, John Lowe (poetry) or Beck Lowe (fantasy) will read all manuscripts and give you a written report about three or four pages in length. Virginia often adds a report of her own. We mentor the author, with work on successive drafts (more cheaply than the original submission). As the assessors are not anonymous, authors have access to them and can query any point in the assessment. An accompanying recommendatory letter to publishers is offered to exceptional manuscripts, when Virginia, the original assessor and the author are all completely satisfied. This service costs an additional $100.

Every page of the work will be read and grammar and points of style noted. Really good manuscripts often take more time to assess, as it is worth nit-picking when they are approaching publishable standard.

Email assessments are also available for short manuscripts.

Assessments can take up to six weeks.

The basic payment is to be included with the manuscript, or, if emailed, sent at the same time by cheque or electronic transfer of funds (contact Virginia for bank details).

Include a stamped self-addressed envelope with snail-mail submissions.

When you use Create a Kids’ Book, you will know who your assessor is. Your assessor can be contacted directly with queries or comments. (Assessors are anonymous in most other agencies.)

Your work will be copy-edited – grammar and typos corrected. (This service is usually an additional fee).

We are happy to take on additional drafts (up to four), virtually mentoring writers and illustrators.

Manuscript Assessment Prices

Mini-assessment (picture book)

$100

The mini-assessment is not a report, just the manuscript (submitted by email in Yabby format, under 500 words) with suggested changes tracked, and some explanation. A mini-assessment cannot lead to a recommendatory letter, but is just a brief comment on how the work is shaping up, whether the idea will work.

Picture book text

$250

Most picture books have only a few hundred words. We will accept as picture books, manuscripts up to 800 words.

Picture book text and illustrations

$300

The picture book text and illustrations assessment is completed by one of the writing assessors. They will comment on the pictures as well – suitability, how well they complement the words, how well they demonstrate subplot, whether the characters are consistent – this sort of comment. But, untrained in art, the assessor cannot comment on the technical proficiency of the medium chosen, or on design features, point of view etc etc.

Technical assessment of pictures

$400

Artist/illustrator Jacqui Young will assess picture book illustrations only after the text itself has been assessed (because it is difficult to comment on the pictures if the text is not in almost its final form).

Short chapter books to 7000 words

$300

Novels, up to 35 000 words

$400

Poetry 300-4000 words

$400

Longer novels

$50 + $10 per thousand words.

Subsequent drafts discount from original price

$50

We will work on three or four drafts. Early drafts will be reports written by one of the assessors (over 3 pages, usually with copy-editing on the manuscript itself). Virginia will assess the final draft. The author and the assessor will have agreed that the next is to be the final draft.

Recommendatory letters

$100

Virginia writes an open letter of recommendation to accompany the manuscript to publishers (for exceptional manuscripts only, which have been several times through the assessment process). The cost is $100.

Non fiction, charged by the same word counts

Urgent manuscript assessments can be completed within a week, for a surcharge of $150


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Contact us to discuss your needs.

Virginia's phone 03 9578 5689 or email: 

If you decide to self publish your work, we recommend Monique Lisbon of Mono Unlimited www.monounlimited.com.

home   Stories, Pictures and Reality  workshops  manuscript assessments  e-courses  successes  writing information  USA & Canada   who are we?   memories in print

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©  Dr. Virginia Lowe 2002 -
PO Box 2 Ormond 3204
phone 03 9578 5689 fax 03 9578 3466
http://createakidsbook.com.au