Taking your writing to a publishable state

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 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 budding 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:

  • a detailed manuscript assessment report on how to improve the quality of your manuscript;
  • a thorough copy edit to improve your spelling, grammar, punctuation and expression;
  • advice on how to approach publishers and which publishers to approach;
  • preparation of a publishing proposal for your manuscript and, in selected cases, an approach to publishers on your behalf;
  • your legal contract looked over by an industry expert.

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 4-6 weeks. 

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

I email my completed manuscript assessment report 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 my 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. I will provide a separate quote for this second reading.

This process continues until the manuscript is ready for a copy edit. 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 etc are in place, and I will provide a quote for the copy edit.

If I think the manuscript is commercial and likely to attract the attention of a publisher, I will, for a set fee, prepare a publishing proposal with the assistance of the writer and send it out to Australian publishers with my recommendation.

I should mention at this point that very few manuscripts fall into this category, not necessarily because they are of poor quality but because I believe they will not interest a 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. 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 the proposal.

PLEASE NOTE: Some publishers require writers to submit their manuscripts personally and in hard copy. Clients will be provided with a list of such publishers and a letter of recommendation from Irina to include in the submission package. The costs of providing hard copies to the publisher will be borne by the client.

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

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

In the 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 clients' comments about my work for them.

You may email me at