What’s Included in a Manuscript Analysis?

After months of fretting over individual sentences, it’s hard to see the big picture. If you’re worried about what readers might take away from your novel and its characters, a manuscript analysis can help.

When I review your manuscript, I provide 7–15 pages of the following information:

  • An overview outlining your strengths and weaknesses, with recommended actions you can take to improve your manuscript
  • Comments on your novel’s structure that uncover organizational problems (e.g., misplaced scenes, unnecessary scenes)
  • A critical review of your plotting and pacing that details where your narrative feels too fast or too slow
  • Character profiles that discuss the believability of your main characters—whether they make sense or are too perfect, whether stakes are high enough for readers to feel concerned for or about them, etc.
  • A section on the strength or weakness of your main themes
  • An analysis of your grammar and style, covering common errors (e.g., misused punctuation), overused words, and awkward stylistic decisions
  • Other sections or subsections that may be particularly relevant to your writing and work
  • In the case of short story collections, I offer thoughts and suggestions on each story.

Whereas editing and proofreading focus on numerous technical concerns, a manuscript analysis concentrates on the “heart” of your novel and how it might be received by readers.


Do I need a manuscript analysis?

An analysis isn’t right for every book, and the typical book production process does not include a critique that’s exactly like this. Even so, a manuscript analysis can facilitate self-editing and help you as a writer, especially between drafts or after initial edits.

If you’ve already self-published your book through Amazon and it hasn’t been received well for less technical reasons (e.g., “I never really connected with the characters,” your reviewers might be saying), a manuscript analysis can help you figure out how to make changes to boost sales.


Does a manuscript analysis include copy editing or proofreading?

No, those are separate services.

The technical advice I provide in an analysis is more general than specific. My critique of your work may include comments about common errors I spot while reading, but I will not direct you to particular lines or make comments and suggestions using Microsoft Word’s “Track Changes.” For that kind of help, consider copy editing.


How much does a manuscript analysis cost?

I charge on a per-word basis. For a manuscript analysis, my rate is 1 cent per word.

80,000 words * 1 cent per word = $800.00

Out of your budget? Keep an eye on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Reddit. I occasionally post coupon codes for my services!


How do I pay for a manuscript analysis?

Payments are made via PayPal or by check or bank transfer.

For a project that costs more than $200.00, I bill in two stages: an initial fifty percent deposit prior to beginning work and a final fifty percent charge when you receive your analysis.

If you would prefer to pay three to four smaller invoices over the course of a few months, please talk to me. I’m often willing to agree to this if you can pay by money transfer or check. I like to avoid PayPal’s fees, when possible!


How long does it take to analyze a manuscript?

Most manuscript analyses are completed within two to three weeks. However, the contract we sign will likely allow for a month. This makes sure we have enough time to discuss any of your concerns and settle the initial payment.


What happens after you send me the analysis?

After you’ve received your analysis, you can continue to email or chat with me for up to one hour about your work. Beyond that, I’m able to provide additional assistance for $30.00 an hour.