An editorial evaluation is a cost effective way of determining if your manuscript is marketable and how much work is required to get it market ready. For just a fraction of the time and money it can cost to edit, proofread, design, typeset, and print a book, an editorial evaluation will provide you with an honest assessment of your book’s marketability and how much editing is required (or, how much rewriting is required before you even consider an editor) prior to taking your book to the publishing stage.
In an editorial evaluation, a professional editor will assess a portion of your manuscript. Keep in mind that the editor is working for you – the author and publisher. Editors provide guidance for the author’s own best interest and not because they enjoy trashing books. They provide an objective assessment of the book’s strengths and weaknesses in an honest and forthright manner. An editor will offer some perspective on the book’s effectiveness and in what ways it could be improved.
Here are some areas of appraisal that you can expect in an editorial evaluation.
- The overall strengths of the book: would the editor want to continue reading the book?
- Themes, and for works of fiction, the character and plot development (and the pace of the story). The editor will call attention to weaknesses in the plot and character development, and should use specific examples from your book and make suggestions for improvement.
- Specific errors or inconsistencies in logic and flow.
- The quality of your research. The editor will offer an opinion as to how well you back up your original writing with research.
- The quality and force of the prose (sentence structure, word choice, mechanics, etc.), with specific examples and suggestions for smoothing out the language.
- Assessment of the book’s marketability: whether or not there is a potential market for the book and whether the book is market ready.
Allowing a stranger to review your work can be extremely uncomfortable. Many people fear the criticism contained in the “honest and forthright assessment.” But, when you are preparing to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to see your book published (not to mention the hundreds of hours spent in writing your book), an editorial evaluation is a small investment that insures your money will be well-spent.