Big Picture Manuscript Evaluation

Finally, the day you’ve long been waiting for has arrived. You’ve finished the first draft of your novel or non-fiction book. If you’re like many of my previous clients, you’ve made a series of feverish phone calls or sent out a bunch of frantic e-mails, looking for an editor. There are just two problems with this approach. First, it is hellishly expensive to get a complete book edited, at least if you want to get the job done right. The last time I checked, Canadian Editors’ Association rates ranged from about $30 an hour to $100 or even more. (For your information, mine are somewhere near the middle of that range).

Editing is by its very nature extremely labour-intensive work-picky and detail-oriented. In my experience, the average, moderately-well written novel of 250 pages or so takes about 10 to 15 days to edit. If you do the math, using the hourly rates I just quoted, you will quickly see that the fee is likely to be well up in the four-digit range. That’s a lot more than most writers can, or in my view should, spend.

Secondly, while a complete edit will lead to a better book in most cases, it’s not necessarily the best and certainly not the most economical or time-efficient way to deal with problems of structure, tone, characterization, or even diction. The conventional edit is all about details. In the process, big-picture problems like those just mentioned can easily get lost in the shuffle. What to do, then?

Over the years, I’ve developed a quicker, more humane, and much more cost-effective approach to the problem. I will read your book carefully, taking note of its strengths as well as its weaknesses. I’ll make a few brief notes on grammar, punctuation, and the like, but I won’t even attempt to comment on detail on these matters. Then, I will prepare a fairly brief (2-4 page) comment outlining the book’s strengths and weaknesses, and telling you how close I think the book is to being ready for publication and what you need to do to get it ready for publication.

No, this service doesn’t amount to a complete edit. But most writers I’ve worked with have found that it gives them most of the tools they need to do their own editing job-and to do it more quickly and easily than they would have done had I not read their book. That’s why my “big picture evaluation” has become the service I provide most frequently. Quite simply, this approach works, and it doesn’t break the bank.


$10 per 1000 words, rounded to the nearest $5, with a $200 minimum fee. I’m willing to do a second evaluation of your edited version for half the initial fee at any time within one year of the initial evaluation. Please contact me to discuss your requirements.