How to Submit
Please make contact by email, letter or phone before sending your typescript so that I can consider your specific requirements and advise the appropriate fee.
While there is a standard scale of charges, not every author’s wishes regarding his/her work fit the standard and in such cases it is sometimes possible to be flexible. I believe in any event that it is of value to both authors and to me that I should know something about an author’s writing background and the material involved rather than that typescripts should simply be sent cold.
You are most welcome to telephone for a personal discussion of your work. I am available at most civilised hours, including weekends.
Payment should be made at the time of sending the typescript and may be made by cheque – made payable to the Hilary Johnson Authors’ Advisory Service – by direct bank transfer (BACS) or by credit card. To pay by BACS, please ask me for details of the bank account. If you wish to pay by credit card, you may do so securely using our WorldPay gateway ( now accepting Paypal )
How soon will I receive my report?
We aim to return work within three to four weeks, but it is difficult to be precise about the turnaround time, since some typescripts demand more time and attention than others.
Clearly, it takes several hours, even a few days, to read and assess thoroughly a substantial piece of work and to write a detailed report.
How long will my report be?
The answer to this is – as long as is necessary! Obviously, the fewer the problems, the less there is to comment upon, so in that sense a short report is desirable. Also, this does to an extent depend upon the material under consideration.
The report on a 100,000 word novel is likely to be longer than that on a children’s picture book, for example. On average, however, most reports run to around five single-spaced A4 pages, though many are considerably longer than this.
Can I ask questions following receipt of the report?
Yes. Authors are welcome to ask about anything which may arise from the appraisal or about which they are unclear.
Will I be able to send a revised version for assessment?
Yes. There is normally a reduced charge for this, but since the amount of work involved can vary, please get in touch first so that a fair sum can be arranged.
How should I present my typescript?
It is preferred that typescripts are presented in exactly the same way as they would be for submission to agents or editors: double-spaced, 12pt, one side of the page, etc.
Most clients now email their work, but if you wish to post it as hard copy, leave the pages loose and secure them with an elastic band. (No ring binders, plastic folders or any other form of fastening. Chapters should not be clipped separately.) If desired, the typescript can be put in a wallet folder labelled with the author’s name and the title – two if the material is very bulky.
However, if for some reason these instructions are not practicable, for instance where the author wishes to send an already-published book or if the typescript has already been printed single-spaced, variations can be accommodated so long as the material is easily legible. I regret that we cannot handle hand-written material.
I’m worried about copyright and protecting my work
Copyright exists, whether the author claims it or not. For some sound basic information, read the section on the subject of copyright in The Writers’ & Artists’ Year Book. As far as my service is concerned, I consider complete confidentiality regarding both authors and their work to be essential. Nothing is done concerning an author or a typescript which may extend beyond me and my readers – passing the typescript to the agency with which I am associated, for example – without first consulting the author. Nor are authors discussed with or their work exposed to anyone other than the relevant reader or readers without the author’s permission. The same policy with respect to confidentiality applies to everybody.
Some useful books on writing:
What do I have to do to get a book published!
Jo Anthony (Pen Press)
Is There A Book in You? & Marketing Your Book, An Author’s Guide
Alison Baverstock (both A & C Black) – Former publisher and now author Alison Baverstock gives ten key criteria for those thinking about trying to get a book published. This is your chance to find out if you have the time, tenacity and talent to make it into print – and before you give up the day job!
From Pitch to Publication
Carole Blake (Macmillan)
The Craft of Writing Poetry & A Practical Poetry Course
Alison Chisholm (both Allison & Busby Writers’ Guides series)
Writing A Children’s Book & Ideas for Children’s Writers
Pamela Cleaver (How To Books)
Successful Photography for Writers
David Davenport (Robert Hale)
The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking The Poet Within
Stephen Fry (Arrow)
How To Write and Sell Short Stories
Della Galton (Accent Press)
Writing From Life: How to turn your personal experience into profitable prose
Lynne Hackles – (How To Books)
How To Write Short Stories for Magazines and Get Them Published & How To Write Your First Novel
Sophie King (How To Books)
How To Write A Thriller
Scott Mariani (How To Books)
Writing Crime Fiction
Lesley Grant-Adamson (Teach Yourself)
Love Writing – How To Make Money Writing Romantic or Erotic Fiction
Sue Moorcroft (Accent Press)
Publishing and Promoting Your Book
Pauline Rowson (Rowmark)
Writing & Publishing Poetry
Stephen Wade (How To Books)
A Straightforward Guide to Creative Writing
Stephen Wade (Straightforward Publishing )
Kate Walker’s 12-Point Guide to Writing Romantic Fiction
Kate Walker (Studymates Ltd.)
How to Write & Sell A Book Proposal
Stella Whitelaw (Writers’ Bookshop) Note: Stella Whitelaw’s excellent How To Write and Sell A Synopsis is now available from the author, price £6.50 + £1 postage. Also her How To Write Short-Short Stories. Go to her website and click Welcome. www.chevening.kent.sch.uk/fmc/index.htm
The Crime Writer’s Handbook
Douglas Wynn (Allison & Busby)
AND for all who feel insecure when it comes to grammar and/or punctuation:
My Grammar and I or Should That Be Me?: How to Speak and Write It Right
Caroline Taggart and J.A. Wines (Michael O’Mara Books)
“The English language is a veritable minefield of dos and don’ts, but this book explains the rules of our troublesome tongue in a humorous way, highlighting the most common mistakes of which we can all be guilty. Whether your schooling in English grammar amounted to ‘a verb is a doing word and a noun is a naming word’, or whether you simply want to brush up your existing skills, this wittily observed yet informative book is guaranteed to enlighten and entertain.”
Getting The Point.: A Panic-Free Guide To English Punctuation for Adults
Jenny Haddon & Elizabeth Hawksley (Floris)
“This book is for people who’ve read “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” but who still don’t know where the apostrophe should go. It is readable, step-by-step guide by published writers. It is neither dumbed-down, nor dry and academic – filling a gap in the market.
This is a user-friendly guide to punctuation which gives step-by-step explanations in clear, readable English. The authors cover all the basics, including sentences and full stops, commas, apostrophes, colons and semi-colons, brackets, hyphens, question marks, inverted commas and paragraphs. It is written for people who work in business or education and need to write professional reports, essays or business letters; creative writers and authors; or simply those who feel they missed out at school.
There are examples and quizzes (with answers) throughout. Differences between US and UK punctuation are addressed, making this a useful tool for those learning international English as a second or foreign language. Presented in a pocket-sized hardback with thick paper slipcover, and with witty line illustrations, this book will also be an ideal Christmas gift.”
In our own leaflet, we say that it is the Delia Smith of punctuation – you can use it even if you have no knowledge at all of grammar or punctation. Indeed, as one of my builders said recently, as he looked over my shoulder at it, ‘If you can drive, you can punctuate.’ The L Driver’s guide is a table setting out
- punctuation marks
- the length of pause they indicate
- the job they do
- comparable braking and halts in driving