What is a Manuscript Evaluation?

What Is a Manuscript Evaluation

What is a Manuscript Evaluation?

What, why, and the insights into a manuscript evaluation that every author needs to know!


A manuscript evaluation or assessment is just one of the ways that authors can get professional feedback and advice to elevate their writing and polish their manuscripts. In the following article, we’re going to look at the following:

  1. What is a Manuscript Evaluation?
  2. When Should You Get a Manuscript Evaluation?
  3. 5 Reasons Why You Should Get a Manuscript Evaluation!
  4. What to Expect from A Manuscript Evaluation
  5. An Excellent Opportunity for Editing Consultation
  6. Broader Feedback Compared to A Developmental Editing
  7. 5 Benefits of A Manuscript Evaluation

If you believe your manuscript could benefit from a manuscript evaluation by one of our professional editors, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via the contact us page. Don’t wait until you have already self-published your manuscript on Amazon KDP or IngramSpark to get the editing that you need.


What is a Manuscript Evaluation?

A manuscript evaluation, sometimes referred to as a manuscript appraisal or assessment, is a professional editing service where an editor reads your manuscript and then provides you with an overview and high-level feedback.

Your editor will, in almost all cases, assess the strength of the manuscript and areas which may require further revision. Your manuscript evaluation is a structured report or personalized writing manual that’s specifically tailored to your book.

Some of the areas that could be covered in your manuscript appraisal may include:

  • The general strengths of the manuscript plus areas of improvement.
  • The narrative structure of the manuscript.
  • Character development and characterization.
  • Tension and pacing throughout the manuscript.
  • Style, spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Marketability, next steps for the author, and some editors may even include periodic commentary throughout the manuscript.


When Should You Get a Manuscript Evaluation?

So, when is the right time to get a manuscript evaluation? There are two specific stages of writing where a manuscript evaluation will be most beneficial to you as an author. These two stages of writing are:

  • You have written your entire first draft, and you’re interested in finding out what’s working, what isn’t working, and where specific elements in your story break down.
  • You have written most or a large part of your first draft, and you want feedback on whether you need to change direction, recalibrate, or refocus on certain elements in the story.


5 Reasons Why You Should Get a Manuscript Evaluation!

Below are five reasons why you need a manuscript appraisal:

  1. To learn what is working in your manuscript and what isn’t.
  2. To get an objective analysis of the text from someone that is impartial.
  3. To prioritize the next steps in your revisions.
  4. To get advice and insight, which allows you to make changes yourself rather than line edits.
  5. Manuscript evaluations are more affordable than getting a full developmental edit and allow you to learn and evolve as a writer.


What to Expect from A Manuscript Evaluation

No two editors are ever going to be exactly the same. Just like authors, editors will have varying opinions and styles when it comes to how they edit and the changes they recommend. For example, some authors can be blunt in their feedback, while other editors have a much softer approach when they’re dealing with authors. The longer you work with a specific editor, the more comfortable you will become with each other’s style and communication.

When you submit your manuscript to an editor for a manuscript evaluation, you need to be prepared for honest feedback. In some cases, an editor is just correcting or fixing the language. It’s fairly remedial with things like spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

However, at other times editing is more open to opinion, especially when your editor is looking at the different elements of your story. Your editor is looking at your text with the intention of advising you on the way to deliver the best possible version to your readers.

Sometimes what’s needed to fix your text is obvious. However, other times it may be more open to taste and style, and there will be trade-offs needed to achieve the goal. It is often a fine line between following the unwritten rules of language and communicating your message with a purpose to the readers.

Many new authors will learn and improve faster with soft language. However, experienced authors, especially those that have been working with the same editor for a while, appreciate direct and to-the-point feedback, which saves them time.


An Excellent Opportunity for Editing Consultation

When you publish a book using the traditional publishing route, you often have no direct contact at all with your editor. Instead, they may choose to publish your book, get it edited, and publish with you taking no part in the process until you see the final result.

When you self-publish or work with an editor privately, it’s a great opportunity to gain purpose-driven and attentive consultation. Building a relationship with your editor will ultimately end up giving you a lot more confidence in your own writing ability. It allows you as a writer to learn what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, and how to craft a better story for your readers with less editing required in the future.


Broader Feedback Compared to A Developmental Editing

When you get a developmental edit or copy-editing done on your manuscript, it gets into the heart of your work. It’s a deep dive into the heart of the language and structure. For example, your editor could choose to rewrite a whole paragraph or page to show you how different phrasing impacts the pace, tension, or storyline. They may also cut out or add content to achieve the same goal.

It’s because of this that developmental editing is more time-consuming and labor-intensive than a professional manuscript assessment and why it costs more to get this style of editing compared to a manuscript appraisal. It can cost as much as double per word for developmental editing compared to a manuscript evaluation. However, not all editors charge the same rate for manuscript evaluations. Often, they’ll look at the manuscript prior to quoting to determine how much work is involved, how long the story is, and how time-consuming it will be.

It’s because of this that a manuscript evaluation can be a more affordable way to get professional editorial feedback on your manuscript.


5 Benefits of A Manuscript Evaluation

5 Benefits of A Manuscript EvaluationShare Your Vision

It’s beneficial for your editor to know a little about your vision and what you are aiming to achieve with your story. Think about how you see your work now and where you want your work to be when it’s finished.

Book Further Consultations

Often, after a manuscript evaluation, clients will want to discuss their project further with their editor. This could be because you’re stuck and want a sounding board, or you have creative decisions to make, and you want some professional feedback. Some editors are available for a Skype or Zoom call, while others may prefer to communicate over email. Either way, a precise list of questions or concerns prior to the interview will make the process flow a lot smoother and allow your editor to be prepared ahead of time.

A Sample Edit

Some editors will do a sample edit of 1-2 pages to see if they are a potential fit with you and your style. It’s a good way to get an idea of whether you will be able to have a beneficial relationship with your editor.

Allow for Realistic Expectations

Some authors may have unrealistic expectations of the editing process. For example, expecting your editor to turn your manuscript into an international bestseller or that it will be guaranteed to be picked up by a publisher is something that no editor can guarantee. Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to go into the editing process with realistic expectations. It will always be your editor’s intention to help you achieve the best version possible of your manuscript.

Ask Questions for Feedback and Better Understanding

In most cases, what your editor says in a manuscript evaluation will be straightforward and easy to understand. However, on some points, you may require further clarification. In addition, most editors are more than happy to answer any questions you may have. This includes comments or suggestions made in the manuscript evaluation.


What is a Manuscript Evaluation? – Conclusion

Hopefully, that answers all of your questions about what’s involved in a professional manuscript evaluation and why they’re so important. But, of course, if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to message us directly. Our friendly and professional team is happy to help answer any questions about manuscript evaluations.

If you believe your manuscript could benefit from a manuscript evaluation by one of our professional editors, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via the contact us page.

Related Posts:

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10 Formatting Tips Your Editor Wants You to Know!

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Comment (1)

  1. The Difference Between Editing and Proofreading? | ASA

    […] In the following article, we will take a closer look at the differences between editing and proofing. If you think your manuscript is ready for editing, but you’re unsure, then a manuscript evaluation or appraisal could be just what you need. Not sure what a manuscript evaluation is? Check out our article on What Is A Manuscript Evaluation. […]

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