Brisbane Self Publishing

Manuscript Appraisal

A manuscript appraisal (also known as a manuscript assessment or critique) can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your book.

Before embarking on self publishing your book, you should first consider getting your manuscript reviewed by a professional editor. As an author, you may be too close to your book to spot many of its problems and inconsistencies.

At some point, all writers have asked friends and family to read their work and tell them if they think it is any good. But nothing can replace the advice of an experienced editor. An editor is able to give you an objective assessment of your manuscript based on their professional knowledge and expertise. After spending months (or possibly years) working on your book, it may be time for you to entrust ‘your precious baby’ to an editor. They will be able to give you an objective opinion about the strengths and weakness of your manuscript. Likewise, if you have partially written your book but are unsure whether you are heading in the right direction, a manuscript appraisal will help you to either remain motivated to continue or change course midstream.

Benefits of a manuscript appraisal

A professional manuscript appraisal will help you to:

  • address stylistic and language issues in your writing
  • further develop your writing style
  • get a better idea of your book’s suitability for publication
  • identify ways to increase your book’s chance of commercial success in a highly competitive market.

Most importantly, after reviewing your text we will provide some practical recommendations you can implement yourself to improve any areas of your manuscript that require attention.

Steps involved in assessing your manuscript

STEP 1: Prior to having your book professionally edited and proofread, we recommend that you first take advantage of our manuscript appraisal service. Initially, we will read your entire manuscript and provide you with indepth critique report. This written report contains preliminary feedback about the overall effectiveness of your writing, including what is and isn’t working well. It also includes some initial recommendations so you can rework any areas of your manuscript that require extra attention. This, in turn, will help you to save money on professional editing fees.

STEP 2: Following the initial written report, we will schedule an author mentoring session (30–45 minutes) with you via phone or a Zoom online meeting. During this session, we can answer any questions you may have in relation to the appraisal report. We can also coach you about all the steps involved in your self-publishing journey. This process will help you to clarify your vision for your book, including your target audience.

Fee for our manuscript appraisal service

For manuscripts between 100 and 100,000 words, the fee for our manuscript appraisal/author mentoring service ranges between $250–$950. Our final quote is based on the total word count of your book, its genre and the complexity of your written content.

In the case of manuscripts that are more than 100,000 words, our manuscript appraisal service fee ranges between $1,000–$1,490. If you have written a very long book, we strongly recommend that you have an appraisal done as the initial step in your self-publishing journey. This strategy will help you to either reduce the overall word count of your manuscript or split your story into two or more books in order to create a series.

Disadvantages associated with long manuscripts

Publishing a book with a very large word count is usually not financially viable for most self-publishing authors due to:

  • Higher editing costs as it takes longer for an editor to read and assess your written work
  • Higher typesetting/formatting costs as more time is required to format the internal page layout design
  • Higher printing costs due to the large number of pages
  • Higher freight/postage charges associated with printed books due to their overall weight
  • Possible binding issues due to greater spine widths.

Books that are very long usually struggle to find a receptive audience. The reason is that authors naturally want to charge a higher recommended retail price (RRP) for a longer book due to its increased production costs. In addition, may people in today’s fast-paced world are time-poor and so they prefer to read shorter stories. Generally speaking, the publishing industry convention in terms of total length for nonfiction books is between 35,000 and 85,000 words; memoirs and narrative nonfiction books are typically between 50,000 and 100,000 words; and the total word count for novels tends to range between 50,000 and 120,000 words.

Helping you improve your writing so your manuscript is publication ready

At Brisbane Self Publishing Service, our goal is always to encourage you so that you keep heading in the right direction with your book. We aim to be as tactful yet honest as possible with our feedback – offering helpful suggestions about ways in which you can work on your writing style to improve your manuscript.

Ready to start the manuscript review process to improve your writing and take the first step on your self-publishing journey? For constructive editorial feedback and author mentoring, contact us today.

Please note: A manuscript appraisal provides an overview of your book and is designed to assess the big picture. Consequently, it does not drill down into the minutiae of your manuscript – identifying every small inconsistency and mistake. If you are looking for a more in-depth assessment of your writing, we suggest you take advantage of our other book editing packages (The Light Makeover package or The Full Works package).

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