Free editing: send your first chapter* (limited offer—expired)

2ND UPDATE: turnaround times.

Hi writers! I just wanted to set a timetable for when you can expect a report about your manuscripts.

I’m currently reading a first chapter by Ellie and will have a report ready later tomorrow (Tuesday my time).

The order of applications after Ellie is: Julie; Angela; Candi; and Barbara (no last names, for privacy reasons).

Please allow a day-and-a-half between reports. Thus Barbara, I won’t finish with yours until probably mid-next-week. Candi, you’ll be a little earlier. I hope that makes sense! (I find the worst part of submission is waiting… I just wanted to alleviate that a little for those down the queue.)

Thank you all for submitting!



Thanks for the applications! Unfortunately it looks like all places have been taken. I’ll email existing applicants as soon as I’ve checked for readability. Those who’ve missed out this time around, stay tuned: there will be future specials and giveaways.


As a December special, BookAnvil is giving away three professional first chapter appraisal-edits for the first three applicants whose work meets general readability criteria.

Your work can be at first draft stage or final, and you can specify whether there are particular issues you want looked at or whether you’re happy for a fully engaged critique. (Note that if you’re at an early stage or are not used to being edited, it may be helpful to ask the editor to take a more ‘mentoring’ approach.)

How to apply?*

Use the ‘contact’ page on the top menu bar in the first instance, and I’ll give you an email address you can use to send work. The first three chapters to arrive that fit the general readability criteria (see below) will end the free offer.

What to send?

Please send your first chapter (including book title and chapter number or name) in one of the following forms: .doc, .docx or .rtf versions. Scrivener entries are also acceptable.

On top of the first chapter, or in a separate document, please include your name, your email address, and a brief (4-20 lines) synopsis of the work specifying its intended audience, storyline and themes.

What you’ll receive:

1. A returned copy of your manuscript with margin notes detailing structural or stylistic concerns as well as noting any obvious spelling or grammatical errors.

2. A detailed, annotated report expanding on issues raised in the manuscript, and covering a range of topics such as those listed under ‘appraisal-edit’ in ‘definitions’ below; OR

2.a. A less detailed report and fewer, looser margin comments aimed at helping to clarify what it is you’re trying to do and suggesting ways forward; and (if desired) a 15 minute consultation about the work.


‘General readability criteria’ doesn’t mean professional polish, however the work should read smoothly without too many spelling errors, typos or grammatical issues. Ideally this means no more than 3-4 obvious spelling or grammatical errors per page.

An ‘appraisal-edit’ is an advanced critique that looks at various issues including structure, opening, themes, phrasing, imagery, characterisation, voice, genre, tone, audience and generalised proofreading — in other words, the full gamut of editorial input. This can be more useful for mid-to-late drafts, however earlier drafts are perfectly welcome. Be aware that this is a thorough critique, but not a final one, nor does it provide print-stage proofreading.

‘Mentoring’ takes a softer, more appraising approach, and will aim to foster confidence in the work while making generalised comments about style. There will be no line editing or proofreading and the report you receive will be lighter and more open than a full appraisal-edit. While this means many writing faults may slip through, writers who aren’t yet comfortable with criticism, or are only feeling their way at an early draft stage, are welcome to start in this vein. Included with the ‘mentoring’ approach is a 15-minute consultation in person (phone, email or chat on BookAnvil’s chat page) to discuss ideas raised in the report.

What are you waiting for?