I was a complete memoir writing novice when I approached Sophy seeking an assessment of my first tentative chapters. Her response was prompt, thoughtful and reassuring for it drew clearly on her extensive professional experience; she suggested a fantastic range of relevant reading, made pertinent comments about style and picked up meticulously on detail. At the same time, I felt that she ‘got’ me, that she was sensitive to what it was that I was trying to achieve and that she wanted to work with me rather than offering a formulaic response. In those early days of utter uncertainty, Sophy’s warmth and clarity were just what I needed.
A few months later, and having done my best with her advice, I returned for a second assessment which she addressed as assiduously as the first. Sophy played no small part in helping me reach the 2016 shortlist for the Scottish Book Trusts’ New Writers’ Awards.”
– Helene Witcher
So, you’ve written something. Now what? Informed, objective critical feedback from someone with direct experience of the publishing industry can be hard to come by for new writers. I’ve been working professionally as an editor since 1998. I can give you detailed commentary on your writing, with line-by-line editorial suggestions. I can help you to craft a more compelling story, working with you on whatever areas you’d like to improve, whether that’s dialogue, structure, plotting or some other aspect entirely. If you’re ready for it, I can also give you an overall assessment of readiness to publish, likely commercial appeal and other practical considerations.
“Sophy is both encouraging and plain-speaking, which is a very helpful combination. She listens clearly and responds directly and with understanding. She gave me a lot to think about and the encouragement to carry on. Working with Sophy has been very useful.”
– Peter Mohan
These are based on manuscripts submitted in the format required by publishers and agents – which is to say, double-spaced, font size of 12, single-sided pages. If you prefer to email your manuscript rather than printing and posting it, please note that you will be charged 10 pence per page for printing costs. Standard turnaround time for the fees below is 4-6 weeks – please get in touch if you want an express service.
Submission package (first 50 pages/roughly 12,500 words, plus cover letter and synopsis) – £195
VIP submission package – same as above plus 60 minute phone/Skype session to discuss the MS in more detail and discuss next steps, where/how to submit, etc. – £270
Single short story of up to 3000 words – £80
Thereafter, for longer manuscripts of 30,000+ words, fees are worked out at £10 per 1,000 words – this is for an annotated MS and a separate report, covering various aspects of your MS, from characterisation, dialogue, pacing to commercial viability. So, for example, a 30,000 word MS would cost £300; or a 50,000 word one would cost £500.
Please email me at sparkforwriters[at]outlook[dot]com if you would like to submit a manuscript for assessment. If you could give me a little bit of information about yourself and your writing history, that would be really helpful – and please attach a short extract from your work.
Here is an extract from an email from a recent client:
“I’ve been through the report a few times and will use your advice to move my MS on. The more I read your report the more I have a clearer view of where I want to go. Thanks Sophy, this has helped a lot.”
– Neil Blair Cairns