Saturday 30 December 2017

Should I get a manuscript assessment (appraisal)? Should I get a manuscript edit?

Should I get a manuscript assessment (appraisal)?
Should I get a manuscript edit?

Generally this means you are getting an assessment to find out whether the manuscript is commercially viable, if there is a good story arc, if the characters are believable, etc.

Basically it is a person reading over your manuscript and telling you if they like it, as it is a very subjective check. And you need to be aware that different readers will say different things. 

The assessor looking over your manuscript is being paid by you and will want repeat employment, and therefore will often give feedback mentioning that your work is great, but then point out a few areas to work on. 

You may then go back and make the adjustments, but still have a manuscript that is in dire need of editing. Plus, if you go and use the services of an editor following this, you and the editor may go and change all the areas that the assessor suggested you alter in the first place.

Upon typing this, I have realised that my view of manuscript assessments is very subjective also. You will need to form your own opinion. However, now that my opinion is out there, here is another: The only time it would be worthwhile to get an assessment would be if you have it assessed by 3 assessors and they all say it was terrible. Then you would have a fairly good idea it was really bad. If they all said it was good, you still would not know for sure. At least with an edit you are being shown all the issues that could make your manuscript unreadable, or boring, or not believable, or lack that special something. An editor will generally go line by line and help you make decisions on what needs to be altered, but at a grass-roots level, rather that a general read-through point of view.

So, I suggest an edit first. This will help you with your story, your sentence structure, your characters, your story arc, your punctuation, your start middle and end, and everything else. This will give you a great working base to go from.

Later, if you want an assessor's opinion on if they think it is commercially viable, and to see if they like it and what kind of author/title it is similar to, then it may be worth it. However, again, it is subjective. And not everyone likes the same stories. An editor will help you create something that is correctly done and with real life characters.

I hope this helped. 

Mat Clarke.

P.S. Services for editing if you are interested: 

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