Find out if your manuscript is ready for an editor: get an Appraisal first
What is an appraisal? When you’ve spent thousands of hours writing your novel, you may think it’s the best it can be. But is that so?
I wish I had a dollar for every error of punctuation, syntax or grammar that I see in a supposedly finished manuscript.
The very best authors employ editors to ensure perfection. An appraisal by that professional is the starting point. Ask your editor to give you a detailed appraisal so you can see where to improve.
What would that look like?
- I am looking for strengths and weaknesses, correct syntax, use of words: adverbs, adjectives and verbs
- I am looking for faulty punctuation, spelling errors, typos. But most of all, how the narrative flows
- Is there a good hook, and does it all make sense?
- If there are pictures, I am looking for formatting problems.
- I am checking for dodgy text wrapping. Are all the images the right size? Are there any missing plate numbers? What about the references?
- English is a very awkward language. Just because you learned it as a child does not mean you can write it well
- In the appraisal report I outline my thoughts about the above issues, plus where I see the work being published, what genre it sits in, what demographic it will be aimed at, and most importantly, what editing will be required to bring it up to tip-top publishing standard
- Then, I write you a Style Guide
- This Style Guide can be a simple agreement between author and editor on which language will be used: American English, British English, Australian English or other languages and dialects
- Once the first read and appraisal has been finished, the author and editor can get to work.
- This is where the fun begins.