Commonword’s Manuscript Reading Service is open to fiction writers and poets living in the North West of England only. It provides writers with constructive criticism about their work, which may take the form of poetry or fiction (this does not include purely factual autobiographies or memoirs). Writers are given advice on how to improve and develop their work and, where appropriate, how to get it published.

Each manuscript is read by an expert reader, who produces a written report about the work to be returned to the writer. This whole process takes approximately three months.


The Cost

The scale of charges for using this service is as follows:

(a) for a short collection of poems (up to 15), short stories (up to 3, each one no more than 8,000 words*) or novel synopsis & 2 sample chapters( no more than 50 pages*):

Waged = £100 Unwaged = £50

*pages of fiction should be 1.5 spaced or double spaced. Margins should be 1.5 inches minimum.

*We cannot accept manuscripts that go over these limits.

Fees can be paid by cash (delivered by hand and not post) or by cheque made payable to Commonword Enterprises Ltd.


How to Submit Manuscripts

1. Full length manuscripts must be typed. Shorter manuscripts may be typed or hand-written clearly in black ink. The pages should be numbered and securely fastened together.
2. You MUST enclose an appropriate S.A.E for your manuscript to be returned and a second S.A.E if you would like us to acknowledge receipt of your manuscript.
3. You should only send a copy of your manuscript and not the original.
4. Please do not write your name and address on any part of the manuscript, but enclose a separate sheet with your name, address and the title(s) of your manuscript.
5. You should not submit more than one manuscript in any calendar year.
6. We do not accept manuscripts sent as email attachments.

Manuscripts should be sent to: Commonword Manuscript Reading Service,
Commonword, 3 Planetree House, 21-31 Oldham Street, Manchester, M1 1JG. For further information please contact
Martin De Mello on:



Free Read Scheme

Commonword has been selected to nominate a number of writers from the North West of England for a Free Read Service provided by The Literary Consultancy and funded by the Arts Council of England. The Free Read Scheme is open to writers of fiction and poetry only.

If you are not in the North West but are in England then the link below shows where you can find a Free Read organisation near you:

If you are permanently resident in the North West would like to be considered for nomination to the FREE READ service please complete and post to us the form below together with 5 sample pages of the manuscript you would like to be critiqued.

In order to be applicable for the Free Read Scheme, you must be from a low income background. Commonword works with a definition of low income as at or below 75% of median individual income. Using the current figure of median income from the ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2016 of £28,028 the figure we consider to be low income is £21,021.

Nominated writers will be able to submit either 50 pages of fiction plus a 2 page synopsis or 300 lines of poetry. (The usual cost for this service is £100 – £300.)  Priority will be given to writers of high quality manuscripts who are of low income.

Manuscripts chosen to be sent to TLC will be read by an experienced editor, University Creative Writing tutor or similar, who will provide a detailed, professional  critique of your work and where appropriate recommend appropriate agents/publishers.

 If you want to be nominated please request an application form: Free Read Scheme, Commonword, 3 Planetree House, 21-31 Oldham Street, Manchester, M1 1JG.

For further information email