Where to now?

Writing is a lonely occupation.

You’ve done your time in solitude, and now the arduous task of preparing your manuscript for publication begins.

With 30 years of experience in advising writers on their manuscripts, Irina Dunn promises to give you specific advice and positive direction in your work.

Irina Dunn has worked on a wide range of Fiction and Non-Fiction manuscripts including:

  • Young Adult Fiction
  • Memoir and Autobiography
  • Military History
  • Health
  • Fantasy
  • Biography
  • Popular and Literary Fiction

A professional assessment is a lifesaver for writers who are serious about getting published.

It is easy to get praise for your manuscript from friends and family but an honest appraisal through the eyes of an experienced assessor is crucial in giving emerging or, indeed, seasoned writers the feedback they need to improve their work. (See Testimonials)

Irina Dunn provides a step-by-step approach to tangible results, including:

  • preparing a detailed manuscript assessment report on how to improve the quality of your manuscript;
  • undergoing a thorough copy edit to improve your spelling, grammar, punctuation and expression;
  • approaching publishers on your behalf and keeping you informed of the correspondence;
  • offering advice on any contract you may be offered.

My working method

My usual working method is to first provide a detailed assessment report on a client’s completed manuscript which addresses the big picture items like structure, subject, characterisation, tone, narrative flow, and beginning and ending.

I regard this as necessary to make sure that these things are in place before any detailed editorial work is carried out. It would be a waste of money to go straight to an edit if these problems were not addressed initially.

I provide a quote for the assessment report based on the length of the manuscript and the time I estimate it will take me.

Once a client agrees to my quote for an assessment report, I then require payment and their manuscript goes into the queue. At present, the waiting time is about 6-8 weeks, or longer for more complex work. 

I have arrived at this method as the fairest way of dealing with the demand from my clients.

I email my detailed manuscript assessment reports to my clients, and it is, of course, entirely up to them to decide whether they want to follow my advice or not. The majority do.

When a client returns the manuscript to me after making the necessary amendments, I then determine whether this draft requires a further assessment or can go straight to a copy edit. The draft will require a second assessment if there have been multiple amendments as a result of my first report.

In my experience, two assessments are usually the maximum required if the client is diligent in addressing the changes required.

The final edit occurs when I believe the overall structure and content etc are in place. I will then provide a quote for the copy edit, which in practice often occurs in conjunction with the second reading report. The fee for this is the same as the assessment.

If I think the manuscript is publishable, I will, for a flat fee, prepare a publishing proposal with the assistance of the writer and send it out to the relevant Australian publishers with my recommendation, and keep the writer informed about the correspondence.

I should mention at this point that the publishing market is very competitive, especially for fiction, and manuscripts may be rejected not because they are of poor quality but because they may not fit into a publisher's list; for example, if a manuscript includes material that has been covered in a book recently published by that publisher.

As the majority of publishers do not accept unsolicited mss, the advantage of my approaching publishers on behalf of my clients is that most publishers will read the proposal as I have developed good relationships with them over decades of contact, and understand the market.

I cannot, of course, guarantee that a client will be offered a contract. However, I can guarantee that the great majority of publishers will read my proposals and take them seriously.

To do an assessment, I like to receive both a hard and a soft copy of the ms that are exactly the same, with the same pagination, in Times New Roman 12 pt and with 1.5 spacing, and with the hard copy unbound and printed on one side of an A4 page. This is because I work with both electronic and hard copy versions in the assessment process.

I do not usually get into discussions with clients about my assessments as I believe my reports are self-explanatory.

In the copy editing process, I do my edits directly onto the soft copy so the writer can see exactly what I have changed and can retain the ability to revert to the original if she or he wants to.

I hope this clarifies the process for you.

Please check out Testimonials for my clients' comments about my work.

You may email me at