The literary services that I offer


As your literary best friend, I will work with you one-to-one. Send me a synopsis of your work and as much of your novel as you wish together with a covering letter setting out anything you want to bring to my attention. Please also tell me which areas you would particularly like help with.

Once I have received and read the manuscript I will write a frank and constructive in-depth assessment of your work. This may sound frightening but don’t worry: I will be doing everything I can to help you.

My assessment will concentrate on the synopsis, the plot, the various building blocks of your work – character, dialogue, setting and so on – and any specific points you have asked me to look at. I will also comment where necessary on your layout, spelling, grammar, syntax and word usage, as well as the general presentation of the manuscript and the marketability of your proposal.

This report will be sent back to you usually within 14 days but no later than 21 days of receipt of your manuscript. If for any reason I can’t make this deadline I will tell you. If you would subsequently like to discuss any aspect of my assessment, you are welcome to contact me by phone or email at no extra cost.

Assessment fees

  • For a synopsis and up to 50 pages of manuscript, double-spaced and in Times Roman or similar font, size 12-point: £75
  • For a synopsis and up to 100 pages, as above: £150
  • For a synopsis and up to 250 pages, as above: £200
  • For a synopsis and 300-400 pages: £300
  • Note: For manuscripts over 400 pages please email or telephone me first.


You are welcome to send me a manuscript for a final copy edit before you submit to an agent. This process may take longer, but I will always tell you when you can expect to receive it back.

Copy-editing fees

  • For copy-editing up to 200 pages (layout as above): £1.50 per page
  • For manuscripts over 200 pages please contact me first.


You may send your manuscript by post or as an email attachment. I prefer email attachments as it is easier to look up specific points, but please submit them as you would to an agent or publisher, i.e. in Times New Roman or similar font, size 12-point, double spaced. If you are submitting a paper version, type on one side of plain white A4 paper. Please number the pages and make sure each chapter starts on a fresh page. Please don’t bind them in any way. An elastic band round the manuscript is all you need.

If sending by post, please make sure you have included a stamped addressed jiffy bag for returning the manuscript, together with a cheque payable to ‘Diane Johnstone’ for the correct amount.

Please keep a copy of the work submitted in case of loss in the post.

I am afraid I cannot accept manuscripts sent on disc.

The copyright of your work is yours. Please be assured that any work you send me will be treated as private and confidential and will not be discussed with anyone other than a suitable reader. Nor will I send a manuscript to an agent without consulting you first. Likewise, any reports you receive from me are my copyright and may not be reproduced or quoted from without my permission.

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