~Manuscript Evaluation Service~
“Who is the better judge of
whether or not to repaint the outside of your house; you, standing in the
middle of your living room, or your neighbor out in the yard?” ~JH
Revising your own work can be a
difficult task. Once you have written your way into a story it can be hard
to revise and edit your way back out. Sometimes fresh eyes are just what you
need. Many authors make use of critique groups with great success but want
or need more attention than they can get in those informal situations.
Professional writing coaches, mentors, and editing services are very costly, charging
hundreds or thousands of dollars to lead you through the writing process. I
highly recommend getting as much mileage as you possibly can out of how-to
editing books and free writing groups before committing to a paid service.
Admittedly, I can’t offer you the eyes of a person with a Ph.D. in literature or inside information on the publishing business. As an avid reader and a book reviewer, I evaluate novels after they have hit the market. What I can give is you a written commentary from a reader’s point of view on your story, let you know if the plot is gripping, the characters intriguing. I’ll tell you if I think the story needs only fine-tuning, or if it needs a complete tear-down and rebuilding. I will give you solid information on what I perceive your writing strengths and weaknesses to be and how to improve your technique.
My evaluation may make time spent
in your writing group more effective. And should you decide you want the
input of pros as well, doing a revision of your draft with me first at $1
per page may save you money in the long run, since it could cut down on the
number of hours the pros will work on it with you. At anywhere
from $60 to $100 or more per hour, that’s a huge savings! (If you decide to bypass
professional evaluations and marketing services, however, I suggest getting
the best advice you can from your writers group on copy editing, cover
letters, and submission practices, since as a book reviewer these are not
areas I deal in.)
Does the hook grab me?
Is this story going somewhere? Is it better suited to a shorter or longer format? Or does the entire idea need to be scrapped?
What drives the reader to want to finish the story?
What can be done to make the story more interesting?
Is there cohesion between the plot and subplots?
Do the characters leap off the page with realism, speak like actual people, stay in character, and grow?
Are there point of view conflicts?
Can I "see" the setting? Can I feel the mood? Do I feel like I am there inside the story?
Is the writing smooth, stilted, flowery? Does it pull me out of the story anywhere?
Does your "voice" click with me? Can I even find your voice in your manuscript?
Is the pacing on target? Do the scenes zip by too quickly or are they weighed down by back story and exposition?
Are the mechanics sound? Are there adverbs peppered throughout? Are speaker attributions being used too often and ineffectively?
Does your research ring true, or do you have kerosene lamps sitting on medieval tables?
I am booked through Winter of '04. Please hold all queries until further notice.
What is the most difficult part of the writing process for you? (brainstorming story ideas, developing characters, revising, etc)
Have you been published previously, and if so where, and were you reviewed here?
Has the manuscript you want to confer on been accepted by an editor who has asked
you to improve upon it, but you just don’t know how?
Who has worked with you on this story to-date? (Friends, published authors, editors?)
What subgenre (if any) of women's fiction or romance is it?
When formatted to these standards, how
many pages long it it?
How much time and energy are you willing to pour into this story, still knowing there is no guarantee that it will be published?
Do you plan to self-publish (make a pdf file and sell it via the internet), use a print-on-demand publisher like iUniverse, submit to a small publishing house, or will you be submitting to an agent or a major publishing house?
Initial reading fee: $25 for any length manuscript (Required before requesting a full critique)
Heavy editing/ghost writing: $3 per page worked on. If you like the sample revisions and insertions I made on your story, I can be hired to revise your manuscript for you, either in certain sections only or in its entirety. (If you want a 300 page story revised it would cost you $900. If a critique by me shows that you need 40 pages revised, it would cost you $120 to have me rewrite those passages for you.)
Promotional Synopsis: Having trouble with the "blurb" for the back of your book jacket? As a reviewer, I've written summaries for more than 125 novels. For $25 dollars, I can write one for yours too.
If after querying me with your first 3 chapters you decide you'd like to work with me, and if I am available to take on another client and I think I have something to offer you, I’ll send you a confirmation email with information on how to pay the $25 reading fee via Paypal or a money order. At that point you email me an attachment of your entire women's fiction or romance manuscript (formatted for Microsoft Word according to these instructions), outline, and relevant critique notes or text from rejection slips from editors. In return, after a thorough reading, I will send you a detailed letter explaining whether or not I think your story has the potential to grab readers. If it does, I’ll also send you a sample critique and rewrite of excerpts from it.
If you think my commentary can help you, the fee for critiquing your entire work will be $1 per each page of the entire manuscript as formatted using a Dark Courier 12 pt font and exactly 25 lines per page. (You may be in for a big surprise when you see your single-spaced rough draft balloon to nearly twice its length after being formatted to those specifications. But an average of 250 words per page is an industry standard, and that's what you will have by using those formatting directions.)
This process can be repeated until you are satisfied with the way your manuscript reads.
So for example, for your 350 page manuscript you might ultimately purchase the first-time read-through ($25), the first-round light editing critique ($350), a second round read-through ($25), spot critiquing and light editing for 85 pages ($85), heavy editing/ghost writing for 30 pages ($90), a final read-through ($25), and copy for your book jacket and publicity packet ($25). The total fee for the work I do with you in that case would be $625. However, since we would work through one read-through and revision process at a time, you would pay for each service individually. Ultimately, each critiquing "package" I offer is completely tailored to each author's needs.
Disclaimer: There is no guarantee that having your work critiqued by
me will land you the publishing contract or agent you want, and even if you
do get a bite they may still require further revisions of your story.
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