Epiphany Editing & Publishing

Manuscript appraisals

A manuscript appraisal (also known as a manuscript assessment or critique) can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your writing. As an author, you may be too close to your text to spot many of its inherent problems and inconsistencies. For this reason, you should first consider getting your manuscript reviewed by a professional editor before committing to self publishing your book.

All writers have, at some point, asked friends and family to read their work and tell them if it is any good. But nothing can replace an experienced editor’s professional opinion. They will be able to give you an objective opinion about the general direction of your written content and provide suggestions for improvement.

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 improve your book’s chance of commercial success in a highly competitive market.

Most importantly, after reviewing your text we will provide some practical recommendations that you can implement yourself to help you to improve your manuscript prior to committing to the formal editing process.

Steps involved in assessing your book manuscript

STEP 1: Prior to having your book professionally edited and proofread, we recommend that you take advantage of our manuscript appraisal service. First up, we will read through your manuscript and provide you with a brief (2–6 page) written report. This 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, thus saving you 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 answer any questions you may have regarding the appraisal report. In addition, we can coach you about all the steps involved in your self-publishing journey – helping 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 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, most people 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 100,100 words; and the total word count for novels tends to range between 50,000 and 120,000 words.

If you’re seeking constructive feedback and author mentoring advice about your manuscript from a professional editor, please contact us.

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).