Straight from the Larrikin's Mouth!


James Layton is older than he looks because he has 30 years experience as a children’s bookseller in the Australian education market. He’s also the Publisher at Larrikin House, so his perspective is broad and unique. 

James has developed his own unique assessment criteria based on all the elements that someone who’s going to put up $20,000 to publish your story needs to consider. 

His specialty is concept, so over and above the usual assessment, there’s every chance James will have a breakthrough idea during your zoom session that could transform your story into something viable. 

Words & Nerds


Dani Vee is host of the popular literary podcast Words & Nerds (which gets 50,000 plays every month)  and has interviewed more than five hundred creatives about their writing or illustrating  process. 

She is also a facilitator at literary festivals, and has judged manuscripts for picture book awards, the Ned Kelly Awards and the Ngaioi Marsh Awards. 

As Larrikin House publicist she liaises with industry professionals and assesses picture book manuscripts together with James Layton (Publisher) in the Larrikin House slush pile.

 Dani currently has nine hilarious books in the pipeline with Larrikin House! Her specialty is creating humour, edge and quirk into your manuscripts. 

Specific & comprehensive feedback

Like most publishers, we just don’t have the time or resources to send feedback on manuscripts. However, by going through the assessment process, you’ll be given very specific and comprehensive feedback on your story. You will also have the opportunity to workshop the possibilities with James during the Zoom meeting. This is always where the best stuff happens. – according to James

James’ Zoom meetings are recorded so you can refer back to them anytime you like.

Once you have been through the checkout, please email your manuscript to and you will be allocated a date and time for your assessment.


What do successfull Authors and Illustrators say about the Larrikin House Manuscript Assessment service, experience and outcomes?

Manuscript Assessment via Zoom

James Layton / $299
James has 30 years experience as both bookseller and publisher. He will assess your picture book manuscript and provide you with detailed commentary in your zoom session. James' specialty is concept, so he'll be keen to workshop ideas with you around how your story could become something commercially viable. Ask questions about your manuscript, the publishing industry or anything book related - James is more than happy to help you on your publishing journey. 

Currently James is taking a break from assessments due to heavy workload, but will be back on deck soon.

Dani Vee / $199
Dani works directly with Publisher James Layton on deciding which manuscripts are on brand and make the cut from the slush pile. Dani has secured a nine picture book deal with Larrikin House including My EXTRAordinary Mum and a six-part My EPIC Dad! series. Dani is host of the popular literary podcast Words and Nerds. Dani's specialty is fun, quirk and humour. She will show you how to 'up the ante' in your stories so kids love them. 


Please choose your assessor from the options available.
We will email you to arrange a convenient time for your Zoom.

Please email your manuscript to

*NOTE: Manuscript assessments are for picture story books only with a limit of 500 words.