writing and editing

Manuscript Evaluations and You

When I talk to authors about editing their manuscripts, they often jump to proofreading. They never mention manuscript evaluations and may not even know what those are. This post will show readers what manuscript evaluations can do and why they’re an important step in the editing process.

  • Manuscript evaluations look at the whole picture.
  • An editor will read every word of the manuscript and make comments and suggestions.
  • The editor focuses on the positives and negatives of the manuscript.
  • The editor provides suggestions and next steps on how the author can improve the manuscript.

Manuscript evaluations are less expensive than developmental edits. They take less time to complete than a developmental edit. Just like a developmental edit, The editor will write a report of their findings and send it to the author. The report summarizes the manuscript, the editor’s findings, and the writer’s next steps..

In a manuscript evaluation the  editor may point out and comment on errors they find, but they won’t fix those errors. They won’t:

  • Fix word choice.
  • Fix formatting errors.
  • Comment on what needs to be corrected as far as character, setting, and point of view..
  • Will not fix endnotes or footnotes.
  • Will not fix the manuscript’s organization or development problems, but they will point out the problems.

After reading all of this, you may be thinking: If this is what a manuscript evaluation is and what an editor will and won’t do during one, then why should I consider a manuscript evaluation? After all, it’s probably going to take time I don’t have and put me behind in my editing schedule.

This a valid question. A manuscript evaluation gives the author a chance to have a professional editor read what they have written. It also provides the opportunity to get an objective and unbiased opinion for a relatively inexpensive price.

It’s an opportunity for the author to learn about holes in their manuscript and ways to fix them. It also provides the next steps in the editing process and let’s the author know what working with an editor is like.

Manuscript evaluations are worth the time and money. Next time you’re ready to begin the editing process, consider a manuscript evaluation. They’re a great way to strengthen your writing and you’ll be happy you did.


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