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Editorial Evaluation

You finished your book! Yay! But you’re not sure what more you should do with your complete manuscript. Perhaps you think it needs more work, but you can’t pinpoint what exactly needs changing. Or maybe you want to move forward toward publication but aren’t sure what steps to take next. Or you’re brand new to writing and you need a little direction in tackling your first ever revisions. An editorial evaluation can help clarify the path forward for you and your novel.
What exactly is an Editorial Evaluation?

It’s is a broad overview of your entire manuscript, assessing your story’s overall strengths and weaknesses in order to help you make further revisions, purchase the appropriate level of editing, or pursue the next step in your publishing journey. It touches on many of the same issues as a developmental edit, but it doesn’t go into nearly as much depth, and so it makes a less expensive alternative for the writer on a budget.

(You might have seen other editors call this service a “manuscript critique” or “manuscript assessment.”)

Here’s what I’ll be looking at:

  • Storytelling choices. Does the manuscript fit within its genre? Do its tense and POV work for the genre and audience?

  • The hook. Do the first pages grab me and make me want to keep reading?

  • Characters. Are the characters unique, deep, and realistic, or are they one-note, flat, and more like caricatures than characters?

  • Setting/Worldbuilding. Is the setting clear and easy to imagine, or does the story lack setting descriptions entirely? Does the setting impact the characters and plot? Do the magic or science systems make sense and have consistency?

  • Plot. Is the plot engaging and interesting? Is there enough conflict and tension to keep the reader moving through the story? Does it earn its ending?

  • Pacing. Does the story move too fast? Too slow? Do some parts drag while others whip by?

  • Voice/Style. Does the story have a good balance of narrative “telling” and in-scene “showing”? Do the author’s word choices, sentence structures, and descriptions suit the overall tone, genre, and intended audience of the story?

  • Mechanics. Did I happen to notice any spelling mistakes, typos, grammatical errors, or punctuation errors while reading?

  • Next steps. As an editor, what do I think are the next steps for this story? Should the manuscript be workshopped with beta readers or a writing group before moving on to professional editing? If it’s ready for professional editing, what type of editing is advisable? Is it ready to publish now?

 

Please note: I can’t tell you whether or not your book is publishable, whether it will land you an agent, if it’s bestseller or award-winner material, or if you’ll be able to make a lot of money from it. Most of this depends on the market and the timing of release/submission. Often these factors matter even more than the quality of the writing or the story itself! What I can do is help you turn your story into the best possible version of itself, which can increase your chances of having all of the amazing things listed above.

What's included in an Editorial Evaluation?

When I send back your editorial evaluation, you’ll get either one or two documents from me:

  1. Evaluation. The evaluation comes in the form of a letter, usually with anywhere from two sentences to three paragraphs devoted to each of the bullet points above. It also includes evaluations (anything from “Ready to Publish” to “Total Rewrite”) for each section, so you can see at a glance where the most work is needed. (You can look at a sample evaluation here!)

  2. Marked-up manuscript. (If needed.) To help illustrate the points I make in the evaluation letter, I may add highlights and comments in your actual manuscript to point out specific examples of issues I’ve addressed. Not every manuscript will need this, especially if my feedback is straightforward.

 

You also get five additional questions at no charge. Within two weeks of receiving your evaluation, send an email with up to five questions you have about your story or about anything I wrote in the letter. (You can also request additional questions for an added fee.)

Why would I pay for an Editorial Evaluation when I can get beta readers for free?

You don’t have to! If you’re happy with the feedback from your beta readers/critique partners and you have a clear direction of where to go with your manuscript, then you don’t need to pay for an editorial evaluation. No pressure!

This service is more ideal for authors who...

  • have a hard time finding beta readers or critique partners

  • have beta readers/CPs who give really unhelpful feedback

  • are getting confusing or contradictory feedback from readers

  • keep getting rejected by agents but are unsure why

  • want a professional editor’s opinion on their manuscript

 

If none of these sound like you, then this service might not be quite the right one. Have a look at my other services and see if they’re more what you’re looking for.

Which genres do you evaluate?

I offer evaluations for fantasy and science fiction. I specialize in the YA and MG age groups, but I also evaluate manuscripts meant for adult readers.

Subgenres include (but aren’t limited to):

  • high/epic fantasy

  • portal fantasy

  • urban/contemporary fantasy

  • magical realism

  • paranormal

  • fairy tale retellings

 

  • hard sci-fi

  • superheroes

  • apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic

  • alien invasion

  • time travel

  • dystopian

 

I don’t evaluate:

  • contemporary romance

  • historical fiction

  • horror

  • thrillers/suspense

  • sick lit

  • erotica

  • picture books

 

Don’t see your book’s genre on either of these lists? Feel free to send an email including your manuscript’s genre and a short synopsis (three paragraphs max), and I’ll let you know if it’s a good fit!

How much does it cost?

$60 flat fee + $0.005 per word

 

(That’s $60 + $250 for a 50,000-word novel—$310 total)

Additional question packs (5 questions per pack) available for $20 each.

Live consultations (via video or text chat) available at $30 per hour.