Recently, I have been sharing the types of editing services I offer to authors. In my last installment of this series, I will be sharing a slightly different service: manuscript evaluation. If you aren’t certain about what editing your manuscript needs, an evaluation might be your answer.
What Is It?
A manuscript evaluation is like editing. The biggest difference is that an evaluation does not include actual corrections. Instead, a manuscript evaluation is about a big picture view of your manuscript and what it needs. Because of this difference, this method can be less expensive while still giving you guidance on how to improve your manuscript.
Who Is It For?
A manuscript evaluation might be the answer for you if you have a completed manuscript, but don’t know how much editing it needs. You don’t want to pay for heavy editing if it is not needed, nor do you want to pay for copy editing when your manuscript truly needs developmental edits. The evaluation will help you know what type of editing will be the most beneficial to you.
It is also good for those who want advice but can’t afford a full edit. If you are self-publishing and on a tight budget, the manuscript evaluation will help you get some objectivity as you edit, without using up your entire budget.
What Does It Look Like?
My process for a manuscript evaluation differs from my editing processes. I begin critiquing the manuscript during my first reading. I make note of persistent problems I see with mechanics, first impressions of characters, and anything else I notice as I read. By the time I reach the end, I will usually have a series of queries along with my notes. My second pass through your manuscript is meant for finding the answers to my questions and confirming my initial thoughts.
Once I am done working out all my questions and comments, I write them out into a letter. In this letter, I will explain to you my impressions of your manuscript. Then, I will tell you what your manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses are. From there, I will give you some advice on what you can do to make your manuscript even stronger. If you request it, I will include a light markup of the manuscript. It will be most similar to a light copy edit.
Writing a book can be a daunting task and editing it may sound even more difficult. Editors want to help you navigate the process. If you would like some advice on the next steps for your novel and what it might still need before publication, a manuscript evaluation might be exactly what you need.