Professional manuscript assessors abound in the market. Essentially the deal is that you pay someone to give feedback on your novel. It may be something worth considering if you are an unpublished writer looking to submit your manuscript to agents and publishers.
The first question to consider is whether or not you should get your manuscript looked at by a professional at all. If you haven’t had something published before, this may be a good idea. I asked an insider, the wonderful Cassandra Marshall, freelance editor and literary agent intern, for her opinion:
“If they've got their MA in writing, are active with critique partners/writing groups/etc, are friends with other publishing authors, or have exhaustive experience in a related writing field, they may already know what they need to know. On the other hand, someone that comes from a completely different background and has no experience/connections might benefit a little more. Maybe someone knows they are lousy at commas or formatting… Maybe they're perfectly decent writers but just want to know if their ideas or pacing is up to snuff.”
Check that the person you are handing your work over to is reputable. Don’t just rely on their website. Ask for references or find recommended people through word of mouth. There’s no point in wasting your money unnecessarily. Casandra Marshall also warns of literary agencies that refer you to expensive in-house editing and assessments. Be sure it’s not just ploy to take your money. Do your homework first.
Choosing the right person to critique/assess your work is essential. There are a few different types of professional manuscript assessors in the market. You could find someone who works in the industry (eg a professional editor), or someone who has had a few published books under their belt. Or, if your lucky enough, and can afford it, a combination of both. What type of person you choose depends on your personal taste and your type of manuscript. Both have their own set of skills that could be useful when looking at your work.
Lee Pletzers, urban fantasy/horror writer of novels including THE LAST CHURCH and THE GAME, suggests that finding an editor may be more important than someone who assesses.
“Self editing just doesn't cut it any more and what could an assessor tell you that an editor couldn't? I think you will find that most freelance editors will assess your manuscript as they edit it.”With this in mind, it may be worthwhile looking for an assessor who doubles as an editor.
JJ McConnachie discovered writing about 2 years ago when she realized her musical talent was limited to jamming a few songs on a guitar and decided to leave it that way.
Part Two of Professional Manuscript Assessors