There are numerous companies providing editorial services and manuscript assessment targeting new unpublished writers with very little or no experience in the competitive world of trying to get a literary agent and/or publisher.
These services are often expensive.
But are they worth it?
**Thesecretscriptor tries out the manuscript assessment by The Literary Consultancy. Review coming out soon!**
Thesecretscriptor tried out the “Beat the Rejection Clinic” provided by the Writers & Artists company at the Bloomsbury Publishing offices in Central London.
Service: 30 minute chat with an agent on how to best take your manuscript submission forward. You have to provide the first three chapters of your manuscript, a covering letter and short synopsis beforehand.
Website link: https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/writers/services/rejection-clinic
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars.
Pros: The conversation went over 30 minutes. The literary agent made two or three generally useful points.
Cons: Absolute waste of money. Literary agent was unprepared, unenthusiastic and provided little to no insight during the conversation or notes (of which there were 4 or 5 scrambled words through a 25 page manuscript. Thesecretscriptor left thinking that the objective of the meeting was achieved, i.e. they did not know any better about how best to take their manuscript submission forward to a literary agent. Thesecretscriptor left with the affirmation that they will never ever again use such tedious services and can now warn other against it too.
It was rather exciting to go to the offices of a very respectable publishing house. Thesecretscriptor came prepared with all the necessary documents: manuscript, covering letter and synopsis to hand as well as an array of questions and enthusiasm for the chance to finally meet a literary agent in person!
If only the literary agent came as prepared. They did not even have a pen with them and the session started 10 minutes late simply because the literary agent was having a long social conversation with a fellow colleague. There were a few notes on the manuscript, such as “interesting” but the other notes were written in entirely illegible handwriting. The agent did make some general comments such as: the manuscript needs to be shorter, more suspense and pace is needed in the second chapter and there needs to be more “show not tell”.
However, the literary agent could not recall the names of the characters, the plot and didn’t have any valuable comments to make other than the manuscript needed to be cut down in length. For example, the agent at one point said: “you should include comparable book titles in the synopsis”, to which Thesecretscriptor replied “I have,” whilst pointing at the final paragraph of the synopsis. There are other similar examples that occurred during the conversation and thus a large portion of the conversation was Thesecretscriptor reminding the agent of content of the documents that had been emailed to them days in advance.
The agent was not particularly friendly and was often trying to hold in a yawn. Perhaps Thesecretscriptor’s manuscript was particularly boring or bad but surely then it would have been more useful to make constructive comments on how to improve the narrative or storyline or even if it was so bad that it was better to start again or stop writing immediately! Anything constructive would have been better than nearly NOTHING.
Thesecretscriptor left feeling like the entire thing was a waste of money. In addition, Thesecretscriptor is concerned about whether companies like Writers & Artists are there to really help the aspiring writer or to make money from them. We can’t help but feel that it is the latter and therefore would strongly recommend aspiring writer’s think twice before they break the piggy bank for this one.
Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of Thesecretscriptor. You may have entirely positive experience and there appears to be a lot of good comments on their website (they must hide the bad ones!). But either way good luck and let us know how it goes. We would love to hear from you!