The first port of call for some new writers is no longer agents or publishers, but literary consultancies

<p>Type "literary consultancy" into Google and a deluge of results floods in. Since Rebecca Swift and Hannah Griffiths founded The Literary Consultancy in 1996, very much aware of the stigma attached to paying for advice, the number of literary consultancies in the UK has boomed.</p><p>These organisations charge would-be writers upwards of &#163;150 for a critique of their work, and may also take a cut if the book goes on to be agented and then published. Some, such as The Literary Consultancy, are run by ex-publishers and agents; others, such as The Writers' Workshop--set up by Harry Bingham, author of The Lieutenant's Lover (HarperCollins)