Have you heard these terms flying around (maybe on my own social media), but aren’t completely sure what they mean? Is there a difference?
What They Are
A manuscript assessment is a high-level review of the document. I take a look at plot, character development, and arc. It’s a great way to see where the writer is at. It can identify whether they need to go back and do some more work themselves, or if they need a more in-depth review from a developmental editor.
A developmental edit goes much more in-depth than a manuscript assessment. It goes line by line, making sure the structure is strong, including plot, and characters.
What They Cost
In addition to the level of detail going into either a manuscript assessment and a developmental edit, the biggest difference is the cost. My manuscript assessments cost $347CDN and my rate as a developmental editor is $0.05/word CDN. With a 50,000-word document, the cost of a developmental edit is $2,500CDN.
That’s a lot of money, isn’t it? And what if you don’t need a developmental edit? You might not. I’ve had some clients who have a very strong manuscript that I only identified a few areas to review after a manuscript assessment. That’s why I always recommend going that route first.
What about author going the route of traditional publishing? Won’t they have a developmental edit after they get signed? Yes, an editor will review their manuscript before its release date. However (and it’s a big however), due to the sheer number of queries agents and publishers get, the only way for authors to stand out from the crowd is to make sure whatever they’re submitting (whether it’s the full manuscript or the first 25 pages) is as infallible as possible.
What To Do?
Okay, now what about the authors who aren’t sure if they’re even ready for a manuscript assessment? In January, I’m offering an introductory rate of $50 to review a single chapter. From there authors will have a clearer path forward. To get this rate, email me with the subject heading Chapter Review.
A final word, just as no two authors are the same, no two editors are the same. Find an editor that you gel with, who understands your genre. Interview your editors. While I’m always excited to work with new people, ultimately, the goal is to shape your manuscript into an incredible piece of literature. Work with the person (and people) who have the same goal as you.
If you’d like to talk more about editing, or to determine if I’m the right fit for you and your book, I invite you to schedule a 30-minute zoom call so we can meet.