What Is a Manuscript Evaluation?

Updated: Nov 21, 2020

Most people haven't heard of a manuscript evaluation, which is surprising and unfortunate because it's a cheaper way for authors to receive feedback and improve their manuscript before paying for in-depth editing.


What do manuscript evaluations cover?


A manuscript evaluation covers the same material as a developmental edit but on a more general scale. This includes feedback on multiple aspects of a story:

  • Plot

  • Characterization

  • Pacing

  • Tone

  • Verb Tense

  • Word Choice

  • World-building

  • Themes

  • Detail

  • Title

  • Target Audience

In a manuscript evaluation, editors also give suggestions for how to move forward with the revising and editing process. The goal of this feedback is to help you revise your story so that the foundations are strong before you hire an editor for developmental editing or copyediting; this can save you an entire round of editing and therefore some money.


How is a manuscript evaluation different from a developmental edit if it covers the same things?


Developmental editing involves the editor marking up your manuscript and writing an in-depth editorial report. At this stage, editors and authors often go back and forth with multiple drafts to polish the story. This process takes a lot of time and energy, which is why it's the most expensive level of editing.


Manuscript evaluations are a cheaper form of the above process. The editor will not mark up your manuscript but will still provide you with an editorial report to help you on your way. This is a one-time evaluation, as opposed to receiving feedback over the course of multiple drafts. If you can afford developmental editing, I suggest taking that route, but a manuscript evaluation is a good alternative.


How much does a manuscript evaluation cost?


I charge $0.01/word for the first 50 000 words of a manuscript, then $0.015/word for the next 50 000 words, and the price scales up from there.


A 75 000-word novel, for example, would cost $875. A developmental edit, in contrast, could cost $3000 or more for a novel of the same length. Thus, a manuscript evaluation is a small price to pay for professional feedback that will save you time and money in the future.


If you're interested in getting a manuscript evaluation on your fiction novel, email me at contact@brennadaviesediting.com, and we can set up a consultation call!

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