In this post, we discuss five things you should consider before you have your manuscript appraised.
If you are really lost, or just a little unsure about where your book is heading, there may be some help around the corner. A manuscript appraisal can do wonders for your story and your writing.
Top Tip: Your BFF, your husband, and your mother are not qualified. They love you. They’ll lie or they’ll think they know what they are talking about and change it to suit their tastes. Be careful before you give it to them. Unless you are married to an impartial, experienced, brilliant editor, don’t go there.
What Is A Manuscript Appraisal?
A manuscript appraisal, or assessment, is a paid-for service. You submit your manuscript to a qualified individual for an opinion. An appraiser will look at the strengths and weaknesses of your manuscript. He or she will provide specific feedback about structure and plot, character, dialogue, pace, setting, and description. The appraiser may discuss language and grammar. Some editors and appraisers proofread for an additional fee.
A good appraisal can shed new light on problem areas. It highlights inconsistencies or holes in the plot. It helps identify unnecessary, or even unbelievable, characters. It can point out important descriptions and setting details versus padding. You get the idea.
5 Things To Consider Before You Have Your Manuscript Appraised
But, before you take the plunge and transfer the funds, here are five things to check:
- Each editor or appraiser has a different style. He or she will look at different things and provide different feedback. Ask for specifics before you submit and make sure you know exactly what you are getting. Ask for references or referrals from other authors who have used their services.
- Try to find someone who reads in specific genres. I wouldn’t recommend asking someone who doesn’t read or write non-fiction to appraise your non-fiction manuscript.
- Remember it is just an opinion. If the appraiser gives you advice or suggests changes that you don’t agree with, you don’t have to follow that advice. But do remember that you asked for the appraisal for a reason.
- You can submit a partial or a full manuscript. If you send a partial manuscript, I recommend sending a synopsis as well. Writing the synopsis might even solve a few of the problems you are struggling with.
- Think carefully about what you want out of the appraisal. Are you just frustrated or do you think you have something that needs a bit of polish?
You will know when you are ready to share your work. Be careful of doing it when you are frustrated. It is not a magic wand, but it can improve your writing and your story.
If you want an appraisal, click here: Appraisals
Top Tip: If you want to learn how to write a book, sign up for our online course.
by Mia Botha
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