What is a Literary Consultant, and When Might I Need One?


Literary consultants provide specialist advice and support for writers. This might be in helping to develop an early draft of a manuscript – giving professional feedback to highlight what is already working and what isn’t quite there yet, and including plenty of suggestions for a fruitful and efficient revision period. Or it might be in helping a writer with professional development issues, such as a lack of confidence, or a lack of progress in meeting their writing goals. Sometimes, it’s in helping a writer understand the world of agents and publishers, and how to make a professional pitch for their manuscript; and sometimes it’s in helping a writer organise a successful launch for the self-published manuscript. 

As the service is so personalised, I thought I would put together a list of the different reasons my clients seek my services, to give you an idea of when you might need a literary consultant. As you can see, it’s rather long – but it’s not exhaustive. If you’re a writer thinking I’d like some help with my manuscript, you can get in contact at contact@clairewingfield.co.uk and I’ll see what I can do to help. Now, here’s that list:
When Might You Need a Literary Consultant?

• You’ve written a full draft of a manuscript and would like in-depth feedback on how well it is working
• You’d like to know if your manuscript is ready for submission to agents / publishers
• You know there are problems with your manuscript but aren’t sure exactly what they are or how you might go about solving them
• You’d like to know how well your cover letter and synopsis is working
• You’d like to know how to make a confident submission
• You’ve received a rejection from a publisher / agent, and would like to work out why
• You’ve received a rejection from a publisher / agent, with some specific pointers on your writing, and would like to learn more about how to implement them
• You’re planning to self-publish your manuscript but would like editorial input first
• You’ve self-published a manuscript but it hasn’t been as successful as you’d hoped, and you’d like to know how you can improve its prospects
• You’ve written a section of your manuscript and would like some professional feedback before you continue
• You’re feeling stuck, and would like the boost of someone else engaging with your manuscript
• You’re completely new to writing and would like to know how you are doing
• You’re worried about the technical elements of your writing
• You’ve been writing for some time and have made a commitment to developing your craft
As you can see, every project I work on has different requirements, but I find the best thing is to leave writers with a detailed written report that they can return to for guidance and motivation. The report can be supported by annotations on the manuscript, and follow-up phone or email conversations, or even a period of mentoring, can be organised.