Author Topic: Manuscript assessment  (Read 1607 times)

Offline jcff

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 106
Manuscript assessment
« on: March 27, 2008, 03:28:49 PM »
hi everyone, I have recently finished my first draft of a children's novel.  I intend to leave it for a couple of weeks and then re draft it.  After that I am wondering whether or not to send it to a manuscript assessment service for their comments.  As this is reasonably expensive I was wondering what you all thought of these services, whether they are value for money etc and whether some are better than others and if so which ones (I am based in the UK).  thanks a lot
Julie

Offline Don

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13320
  • Murder & mayhem for fun and profit.
Re: Manuscript assessment
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2008, 09:50:46 PM »
Staying away for a couple of weeks before a re-write is probably a good idea.
Sending it off to an "assessment" service is a new one on me.  A bit like asking a stranger do you like my peanut butter cookie? when in reality, you've no idea whether they like peanut butter or not.  Better you should find a snippet and post it on the review board.  You'll get a fairly decend idea of how an editor would view it.
I have a motto: when in doubt, go for the cheap laugh.

midnightcandle

  • Guest
Re: Manuscript assessment
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2008, 10:21:36 AM »
I think don86usa may have a point. I haven't heard of this before. Writing is like art - totally subjective. You may end up with someones opinion who does not like your work but that does not mean it is rubbish. Just as a quick thought thogh. As a school governor myself, why don't you try a local primary or secondary (whichever age you are aiming at) and ask if there are any teachers who may read it. They may have a feel for what the kids are used to reading. I could be barking up the wrong alley - just a suggestion. Hope it goes well for you.  :)

Offline Donnettetxgirl

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 271
Re: Manuscript assessment
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2008, 10:38:26 AM »
Actually, Midnightcandle, you make a really good point. I did something like this when I completed the last draft of my mystery/suspense novel, Lady Gabriella.

I had a friend who had an english degree in college & worked at the school in my area. I asked her to look over the manuscript for grammer errors, flow, etc. She really did a marvelous job. I watched her as she worked, & learned so much from her.

I also had quite a few other people look over it & give me their opinion.

jfcc, you can pay somebody for this service if you want. However, there are many, many creative ways to get what you need without paying a dime to anyone.

Donnette Smith
Author of Lady Gabriella
www.freewebs.com/romanceauthor
www.myspace.com/storycreater 


midnightcandle

  • Guest
Re: Manuscript assessment
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2008, 11:30:54 AM »
My sentiments exactly. :)

Offline jcff

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 106
Re: Manuscript assessment
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2008, 12:18:45 PM »
Thanks for your thoughts.  I have a couple of friends who would do it for nothing but (and I think it's a fairly big but) I worry that wouldnt really give me an honest opinion as they would be worried about upsetting me.  I wouldnt really mind what they said but however much I say that to them I think they would make their comments more positive than they felt.  I also wonder whether I would believe them if the comments were positive but maybe I am being perverse!  I just wonder whether an impartial third party is better sometimes.
Julie

steve

  • Guest
Re: Manuscript assessment
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2008, 12:22:46 PM »
As an amateur writer, I find that seeking a manuscript evaluation is a matter of spinning your wheels in the mire of the publishing industry. You send a highly polished manuscript to an editor who will read it with an entirely subjective attitude-you have no idea of their tastes-it is a total crapshoot. I have read countless quaterlies, fictional periodicals, and reviews before sending a story. Much of the accepted and published material is almost unreadable, uninteresting and bland.  I really believe that the selection of what is actually accepted and published is mostly random. Most editors try to be way too literary and intellectual and have lost the ability to recognize a simple good tale.

Now, everyone is told to find an agent. Ditto the above paragraph.

So we now need a manuscript evaluator.....

Forget the established publishing industry-it is a waste of time and effort for the unestablished writer. Its not worth the effort, frustration and anguish.

I have a lot of great stories and memiors that I have written over the years. My goal is to compile them into neat, professional looking books, using an online self-publisher, and collect my writings for my family (children, grandchildren, etc.) and friends. Writing is nothing more than self-expression- leaving a bit of oneself behind.

I don't intend this rant to reflect upon the writers that participate in MWC. I find this forum to be interesting and informative. Many good ideas and suggestions have been found on this forum. My beef rests with the exclusiveness of the industry itself. I am hoping that the advance of self-publishing and the influence of the internet will result in the evolution of the publishing industry, and the the spread of better writing.



Offline Donnettetxgirl

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 271
Re: Manuscript assessment
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2008, 02:54:27 PM »
Steve,

I can definitely see your point. There are alot of great novelists out there with great, adventurous tales that deserve the attention of an agent or publishing company, but will never get it because of the struggle many great writers face to interest one of the obove mentioned.

And there are novels I've read that offer such a poor story that they don't deserve the page they're printed on. Yet, somehow, they have managed to find a place with an agent or publishing company.

It is very frustrating & somewhat unfair when you think about it.

I think that if someone is happy with the prospect of self-publishing, then that is a fine venture for that person.

But, then again, there are writers out there who are just not happy with that alone. They have poured so much into their stories that they desire them to be out in the public eye. They want the public in general to be reading them. Without the assistence of a publishing company or lit agent, this goal becomes extremely hard, if not near impossible. I'm not saying that it can't be done. What I am saying is that it would be much more difficult in most circumstances.

Publishing companies offer bookstores a handsome discount so that they will be more inclined to stock an author's book. They also offer returnability: if the store does not happen to sell all of the books they ordered from that publishing company, they have the option to return these book for a full refund. Almost all large bookstores will not stock an authors book without these two options in play.

For someone who plans to make a career out of writing, or plans to write many novels they would like to have published, I'd say the best way to do that would be to get the representation of a lit agent, or to get a contract with a publishing company.

One could go this route of self-publishing, but it can get mighty expensive to have the books published. And then as far as finding bookstores to stock them, a self-pubbed author would be entirely on their own.

It is the truth that we can't possibly tell what an agent is thinking, & we don't really, truly know what they are looking for. I went through 70-some rejections before I found a publishing company who was interested in my work. The thing of it was: I did not give up. I made certain that my manuscript was as polished as I could get it. I wrote the best query letter that I could, and I submitted for months on end.

There are unknown authors who land a lit agent or a publishing company everyday; even one's who don't have any writing credits at all. The only writing credit I had in my corner was that I used to write for a small newspaper in my hometown.

I am not saying that I will make it rich off writing. It is very rare that an author does from one book, especially. But, I was determined to get published, & I was determined to do this without putting my own money out.

If you really, truly want something, & you don't give up; I believe you will always find a way to get it.

Donnette Smith
Author of Lady Gabriella
www.freewebs.com/romanceauthor
www.myspace.com/storycreater

 

   

steve

  • Guest
Re: Manuscript assessment
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2008, 12:00:40 PM »
To Donnette and others who aspire to make their way by writing-I wish you all of the best. I am a heavy reader and look forward to reading your works. I thank you for you comments and suggestions.

For myself, my writings are amateur and not intended for wide distribution. I guess that can afford to complain, while not choosing to face the frustrations of the publishing industry. I'll submit material to the occassional writing contest and I enjoy participating in a local (Litchfield County, Connecticut) writers group. We recently self-published a collection of poems and stories from our members. This gave me the idea to put my own work into book form.

Good Luck to you all. I will continue to 'lurk' around MWC and jump in with the occassional comment. Perhaps even slip something in to the Review feature.

SE

Offline Donnettetxgirl

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 271
Re: Manuscript assessment
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2008, 12:34:35 PM »
And the best of luck to you, Steve. Keep writing & enjoy doing it.

Donnette Smith
Author of Lady Gabriella
www.freewebs.com/romanceauthor
www.myspace.com/storycreater