Pixie Report: 7 steps to a stronger manuscript
A Pixie Report gives you 7 specific, actionable recommendations for taking your manuscript to the next level. Less full-on than The Monster but just as valuable!
Worked on your manuscript as much as you can and just don’t know what it needs next?
Read and reread your draft so many times the word ‘said’ doesn’t look real to you anymore?
Ready to hand it over to somebody who can look at it with fresh eyes and give you super helpful feedback that will make it stronger, more marketable, a book children or teenagers can fall in love with?
When I read your book, I’ll identify the 7 areas of your story with the biggest room for improvement. That might include your character arc, the believability of your world building, slightly wonky pacing or a climax that doesn’t quite hit the mark – these 7 recommendations will be completely different for every author based on what I think just isn’t working in your story right now.
What exactly is a Pixie Report?
There are two things included with a full manuscript critique:
- Editorial letter in PDF usually around 10 pages of A4. This will identify and explore the seven bigges issues with your manuscript, complete with recommendations and advice for addressing these issues and strengthening your story.
- An invitation to join a private Facebook group for middle grade and YA genre authors. Great for networking and getting tips or critiques from other writers.
What it’s not
A Pixie Report isn’t an ‘edit’ in the sense of a copy-edit that physically tweaks your prose or fixes your typos. I won’t change or delete anything in your story, or make comments or suggestions in the margin. In fact, I won’t touch your manuscript document (other than reading it). I will write an editorial letter with all my feedback for you to read through and digest, and what you do with it is up to you! I’ll only address the story elements of your novel, not line-level or copyediting issues like language, spelling, syntax or grammar. These can be addressed by a line or copy-editor and I absolutely recommend you hire one further down the line to get your manuscript ready for publication.
My feedback process
First read through: I’ll read your manuscript through once without stopping to make notes. Sometimes things jump out at me that I don’t want to forget so I’ll occasionally highlight paragraphs or leave myself reminders but mostly I’m just immersing myself in the story and responding as your readers would.
Plotting and scheming: This is the time I spend thinking about your story and letting it sit before starting my critique. I’ll write up some rough notes about my immediate reactions to your manuscript, like a letter to myself that helps me untangle all my thoughts and ideas and start putting my reader response into words.
Read your questionnaire: At the beginning of the process I’ll send you an author questionnaire that asks you about your story, your experience and your publishing goals. I don’t read this straight away as I don’t want it to influence my initial response to your manuscript when I come to it for the first time, but I’ll read it as soon as I’ve finished reading.
Update my checklist: I have a critique checklist that I customise for every manuscript I work on, and I’ll take any specific concerns from your questionnaire and drop them in. For example, if you mention you’re not sure your protagonist is likeable enough or that you struggle with your chapter endings, I’ll flag these in my checklist to ensure I address them in my critique.
Research and background reading: I like to immerse myself in the books you love so I can understand your influences and goals, so when I send you my author questionnaire I’ll ask for your favourite authors and novels in your genre. When I discuss any issues of writing craft in your editorial letter, I can pull out examples from books you love to demonstrate a technique or narrative device so it’ll click for you faster.
Second read through: I’ll read your manuscript again but this time I’ve got my ‘editor’ hat on, not my ‘reader’ hat. As I read, I’ll start drafting my editorial letter, pulling out passages to discuss and adding elements to my checklist to ensure I cover everything.
Write your report: Next I’ll turn all my jumbled notes and ideas into a long, detailed editorial letter, going through each of the 7 elements one by one. I’ll tell you what I think needs more work, demonstrating techniques and explaining exactly how you can tackle any problem areas.
Let’s get started!
I can’t tell you how excited I am to read your manuscript. So, if you have middle grade or YA story you want to chat about, please give me a shout – it’ll make my day!
Pixie Report at a glance
Who is a Pixie Report for?
A Pixie Report is for authors who have finished writing their story and done some self-editing and are now ready to get professional feedback and advice. I work on middle grade and YA fiction in any genre.
How much does it cost?
Pricing is based on your manuscript’s word count:
- Up to 80,000 words = £549
- Up to 100,000 words = £599
If your manuscript is over 100,000 words, please get in touch for a quote.
Bolt-on: Follow-up Report
- I’ll read your full revised manuscript if you send it to me within a year of your initial edit
An editorial letter around 5 A4 pages in Word giving an overview of how successfully you’ve tackled my suggestions and feedback
What does the report look like?
A Pixie Report always starts with a little letter from me telling you how awesome you are and explaining the report and what to expect. Then there will be an overview where I give you my general thoughts on the manuscript, highlighting all the things I love and what you’ve done brilliantly. Next I’ll dive into the 7 recommendations, with each one taking about one or two pages each.
How it works
- You get in touch to tell me about your book and send a sample
- We chat over email and if we decide we’re right for each other, I confirm cost and timings (I usually deliver a critique within eight weeks of the start date)
- I send you an invoice for 10% of the fee to hold your booking
- You send me your manuscript and I get going!
- I email you a weekly progress report (The Friday Howl) so you know everything’s swell
- I’ll send you an invoice for the remaining fee
- Finally, I email you your report
- We talk via email about any questions you have or clarifications you need