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 might like to first consider having 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.

If you have partially written your book but are unsure whether you are heading in the right direction, a manuscript appraisal can also 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 can give you some practical tips you can use to work on any areas of your manuscript that require more attention.

Steps involved in assessing your manuscript

STEP 1: Prior to having your book professionally edited and proofread, you may like to have your manuscript assessed as a preliminary step in your self-publishing journey. First up, we will read your entire manuscript and provide you with an indepth written report on it. This appraisal report contains feedback about the overall effectiveness of your writing, including what is and isn’t working well. It also incorporates some initial editorial suggestions for reworking parts of your manuscript that require extra attention. This, in turn, will help you to save money on professional editing fees down the track.

STEP 2: After sending you the appraisal report, we’ll get in touch to arrange an author mentoring session via phone or Zoom meeting. During this 30–45 minute consultation, we can answer your questions regarding the appraisal report and advise you how to action the recommended changes.

Fee for our manuscript appraisal service

Quotes for manuscript appraisal projects are based on the total word count of your book, its genre and the complexity of your written content.

  • For manuscripts between 100 and 100,000 words, our manuscript appraisal fee ranges between $250–$950
  • For manuscripts that are more than 100,000 words, our manuscript appraisal fee ranges between $1,000–$1,490

These fees cover a professional editor reading your entire manuscript, preparing an indepth written report and then providing feedback and answering your questions during a 30–45 minute author consultation session.

As an additional support service, we also offer pay-as-you-go writing coaching ($80/hour) or a 3-hour editing/coaching package ($225 in total) to help you move forward with your book manuscript to the next publication phase.

Disadvantages of long manuscripts

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

  • Higher editing costs as it takes longer for an editor to read and assess your written work
  • Higher typesetting/formatting costs due to more time required to format the internal page layout design
  • Higher printing costs because of 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.

If you have written a very long book (i.e. more than 160,000 words), we strongly recommend that you consider either reducing the overall word count of your manuscript or splitting your story into two or more books in order to create a series. 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 for a longer book due to its increased production costs. Moreover,  people in today’s fast-paced world tend to be time-poor 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 to support 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 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’ aspects of your narrative. 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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