Manuscript Assessment Services
Book Evaluations - Book Critiques
Nothing but the truth ...
We start our collaboration from a foundation of honesty and ethics. When you ask for a book critique, we will tell you if your manuscript is fair, good, excellent, or outstanding; filled with potential but in need of professional assistance or further work on your part; or unpublishable in its present form.
New writers tend to have similar issues (e.g., chronological progression, weak characterization, uneven plots, excessive back story, and lack of structure). An evaluation will tell you whether you're on the right or wrong track (or even have writing talent); a critique deals with specifics. If you opt for a critique, your manuscript will be examined for areas of weakness, inconsistencies, and character development problems. Accuracy, clarity, completeness, faults in chronology, voice, viewpoint, and overall impact of the work on the reader will also be assessed. When necessary, alternate themes, organization, dialogue, sub-plots, descriptive passages, or tie-ins will be suggested. Both the evaluation and the critique include an opinion regarding marketability. Evaluations and critiques do not include line editing.
The following editors offer book evaluation and book critique services:
Judge: Indie Book Awards
Developmental Content Editing, Writing Assistance, Query Letters, Book Proposals, Submissions to Literary Agents and Publishers
BETH BRUNO is a columnist, author, and book editor. Hundreds of her articles have been published in print and online, and her first book, Wild Tulips, came out in 2001 and went into a second printing in 2002. Beth's proximity to New York and her position as President of the CT Authors and Publishers Association give her unique access to literary agents and publishers in and around New York City. Several of the authors whose manuscripts she has edited have been published in the mainstream, thanks to her referrals on their behalf.
Beth’s editing interests are eclectic and include a delicious mix of fiction, nonfiction, young adult, and children’s works. Among the 350+ manuscripts she has edited, she has a special affinity for: mystery/suspense, women’s fiction, memoir, psychology topics, romance, self-help, how-to, and both fiction and nonfiction for young adult (YA) readers.
In addition to editing, Beth serves as a judge for the Indie Book Awards, an excellent contest for authors who self-publish. Winners receive cash prizes, publicity, and introduction to literary agents and publishers.
"I want to thank Beth for the spectacular job she did editing my book, which has just been published. When Beth first*** received the manuscript, she understood what was missing and recognized the changes needed to improve the flow, characterization, plot, etc., of my novel. She had a keen eye for small details. Beth was also always very available to discuss suggestions, and she quickly came up with alternatives to solve the problems we encountered along the way. She guided me through the particulars of my novel to the final polished product. The result: A published book." Oscar Medina
THEODORA BRYANT focuses on mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, adventure, and horror titles. She has considerable experience with trade non-fiction. As Editorial Director of her own publishing house, Theodora published almost 100 titles, garnering several awards in "Best Of" categories. Almost half of the titles were bought for paperback reprints, and two were optioned for TV/movies. She has invaluable knowledge about the industry, the type of people who run it, how to work within it, and tips for getting your foot in the door. She's reviewed, evaluated, and edited thousands of manuscripts through the years, and uses that knowledge to help her clients produce results-driven manuscripts, query letters, and synopses. She works particularly hard at staying in the author's "voice," making sure the facts and dialogue match the time period in which the book is set, and "losing" excess verbiage. She's a good mentor, hard worker, and in many cases, has ultimately become a good friend.
Owner, award-winning publishing company, 1994-2001
Freelance editor (with this network only) since 2002
Critiqued and edited hundreds of manuscripts
Dozens of authors now happily selling their books
Detailed written critique/evaluation of your manuscript that asks questions, points out conflicts, confused timelines, characterization difficulties, etc., in the manuscript itself so the guide is always there for you to follow as you rework it.
Mentor you with creative ideas, and guide you through the whole gamut of what’s what in the publishing industry (i.e.: whether traditional or self-publishing is best for you).
Hands on content edit (aka copy-edit, aka line edit), structural/stylistic edit of your manuscript, doing everything to get your manuscript ready for a traditional agent, a traditional editor, a self-publishing company, or ready for submission to an e-publisher.
Work with you on a query and/or synopsis when the manuscript is ready for publication, should you want that.
Manuscript Assessment Services
Manuscript Evaluations, Critiques, Organizational and Developmental Editing, Line Editing, Writing Assistance, Ghostwriting
CARLY CANTOR is a twice-published author, agent, and publishing industry veteran who worked for several years as an acquisitions editor at a New York publisher. She is currently a meticulous, hands-on independent editor who “becomes one” with every project, paying close attention to both the big picture and the small details. Her extensive experience includes critiquing, development editing, and line-editing of fiction and nonfiction projects.
Besides having edited 200+ books for major publishers and independent authors, she also represents writers as an agent with a well-established NYC agency, which provides her with a foot in the New York publishing world—i.e., access to the current thinking about what is hot and what is not!
When she critiques a manuscript, her goal is not to tear down but to help a writer see what is working and how to build on that. She pays attention to pacing, narrative arc, characters, point-of-view, subplots, consistency, writing style, plausibility, and general appeal for the intended audience. When explaining narrative problems, she always provides specific examples from the manuscript and is available afterwards for follow-up questions and conversation.
As an agent in a busy New York literary agency, Carly is bombarded by fiction manuscripts and has developed a knack for quickly identifying problems. Many writers struggle with the same writing challenges, and an experienced eye can see what your favorite aunt, the English teacher, typically cannot. Carly recommends that any serious would-be writer start with a manuscript evaluation before moving into the finer points of line-by-line editing.
Carly often works with academics, psychologists, and medical doctors on high-caliber material in the social and life sciences, helping to make their writing more accessible to a trade audience. One happy client, a medical doctor, said of her, “She is a consummate wordsmith, with the facility of not only understanding and integrating scientific and technical material but also illuminating arcane and otherwise opaque descriptions.”
She has also worked closely with memoir-writers and has a knack for preserving an author’s own special voice while helping him or her avoid narrative mistakes that come across as awkward or amateurish. Some of her memoirists have been people documenting struggles with mental illness, addiction, and/or abuse; an adoptee who found her birth mother; a man convicted of the mercy-killing of his wife; a woman born in Korea who was oppressed by the culture’s sexism; a man falsely accused of and prosecuted for federal crimes; a son of a Holocaust survivor who learned his father’s story after 50 years of silence; just to name a few.
Carly edits fiction with an appreciation for how the brain works and for the fact that readers like to pick up clues while they read, as they do in real life, and figure things out rather than be constantly told how to interpret what characters are thinking and feeling. She pays attention to pacing, descriptive detail (the Goldilocks rule: should be just right; not too much, not too little), narrative arc, character development, dialogue, and general writing issues. One novelist said of her, “I have been guided by a number of different editors throughout my career. Without any hesitation, I can say that [she] is the best editor I have ever worked with.”
Carly is an associate agent at the New York-metro area literary agency Joëlle Delbourgo & Assoc. She has authored two books: Francisco Vásquez de Coronado and The Mexican War (The Child’s World, 2003). For several years, she was an acquisitions editor at Carol Publishing Group, New York, NY, where she acquired and edited numerous hardcover and trade paperback titles on a variety of nonfiction subjects, mostly in the areas of self-help, health, history/current events, how-to, memoir, and pop culture.
Michael is not accepting submissions until January 2018.
Substantive editing, copyediting, rewriting
Fiction and nonfiction: literary, how-to, psychology, self-help, crime fiction, adult, young adult, drama, fantasy, sci-fi, true crime, international relations, current affairs, nature and science, military history, forensic science, travel
MICHAEL CARR has edited or copyedited 300+ fiction and nonfiction titles for major publishers and authors. Notable nonfiction authors include Bernard Goldberg (NY Times best-seller Arrogance), CNN anchor Lou Dobbs (Exporting America), Rev. Al Sharpton (Al on America), and CNN Crossfire host Tucker Carlson (Politicians, Partisans, and Parasites). Michael edits most fiction genres but specializes in literary and historical, crime/mystery, drama, fantasy, and science fiction.
Notable fiction authors include Brad Meltzer (#3 NY Times best-seller The Zero Game), NY Times Notable Book of the Year author Archer Mayor (The Surrogate Thief, Gatekeeper, The Second Mouse), crime grandmaster Donald Westlake (the Dortmunder series), and the fantasy master Michael Moorcock (The White Wolf's Son).
Michael has also edited eight published volumes on world affairs and some twenty self-help books (medical, psychological, personal growth, and business) and has translated a dozen novels and other literary works from Spanish to English.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Before STACEY DONOVAN became a professional editor more than 20 years ago, she worked in a literary agency where she learned how to say no more often than yes, and include reasons why. A stint in advertising followed, teaching her to tell it short and sweet, meet deadlines, and most important: never give up.
Donovan is a ten-time published book author of both fiction and non-fiction. She has edited or ghostwritten dozens of published books for her clients. Two became New York Times Bestsellers, and another nominated for Best First Novel by International Thriller Writers. She is experienced in many genres: Contemporary/Mainstream; Caper/Detective; Erotica; Gay/Lesbian; Literary Fiction; Mystery; Psychological Thriller; Suspense; Women's Fiction; Young Adult; Memoir/Autobiography; Creative Nonfiction.
- Detailed critique/evaluation of your manuscript
- Developmental/structural/stylistic edit of your manuscript
- Complete revision of your manuscript
- Collaborate with you in a mentoring capacity as you edit your manuscript
- Collaborate with you on a query and/or synopsis when the manuscript is ready for publication
- Determine with you which literary agent would be suitable for representation
- Determine with you whether to pursue mainstream, small, or self-publishing
- Consultation on your initial and/or ongoing Social Media strategy
Donovan is a writing coach, mentor, collaborator and ghostwriter. She has published dozens of non-fiction articles on design and art, and specialized in celebrity interviews with experts in their field. She is also a Publishing and Social Media strategist.
KARIN GRAHAM is a trained editor. She has a bachelor's degree in comparative literature from the University of Virginia, a JD from William and Mary Law School, and a certificate in editing from the University of California Berkeley Extension. Karin honed her skills in turning facts and events into a coherent story in the crucible of the courtroom and her years as an attorney make her utterly attuned to the way that just the right (or wrong) word can change everything. She uses those skills to bring out the best in your work.
If your novel has fight scenes or involves any aspect of police procedures or the law, Karin is your specialist. Karin is a trained martial artist, with a third degree black belt in tae kwon do and years of training in hapkido and Krav Maga (which is a street-fighting self-defense system designed by a man fighting to survive in 1930s Eastern Europe). This means that Karin is uniquely able to evaluate the realism of your fight scenes. She has accompanied police on search warrants, observed autopsies, and been to countless crime scenes. She has training in arson prosecution and investigations and has given lectures to investigors on the subject of search and seizure law and to college students about the insanity defense.
Karin understands that just because editors can change a manuscript doesn't mean they should. An editor's job is to make the author's manuscript stand out, not to remake it as their own.
ANA HOWARD is the author of seven well-reviewed and award-winning children’s novels and has helped many others with their manuscripts, including picture books, chapter books, middle grade and young adult novels. After working in public schools for many years, she has now been a part of the publishing industry for fifteen years and provides a creative and supportive environment. She is passionate about children’s literature and offers the following services:
• Developmental, substantive and content editing
• Formatting and guidance on the submission process
• Query letters and synopses
• Advice for self-publishing authors
Publishing Credits Include:
- Water at the Blue Earth, young adult historical fiction (Roberts Rinehart)
- A Ceiling of Stars, middle grade contemporary fiction (American Girl)
- Nowhere, Now Here, middle grade contemporary fiction (American Girl)
- The Magic of Ordinary Days, adult historical fiction (Viking Penguin)
- Under a Stand Still Moon, young adult historical fiction (Brown Barn Books)
- Call Me the Canyon, young adult historical fiction (Brown Barn Books)
- Nicki, contemporary middle grade fiction (American Girl)
- Thanks to Nicki, contemporary middle grade fiction (American Girl)
She has seen one of her novels made into film (for Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions on CBS) and has won numerous literary awards. She believes that even in today’s tough publishing climate, it is still possible for new writers to enter the business and succeed. Second to writing her own novels, she loves to mentor others to help them achieve their goals. She knows firsthand how writers benefit from the help and support of other writers and/or editors.
"My novel had lingered in the offices of editors at the Big Six for years. Ana’s editing was timely and skillful and showed an understanding of my work. I used 95% of her suggestions and cut 200 pages from a 600 page manuscript. End result is a book with a clean, compelling narrative that has been called 'a gripping read'. Reader reviews of my book at Amazon and Goodreads have been very gratifying and allowed me to enter the top 100 for science-fiction/fantasy. Kirkus Reviews selected Prophets of the Ghost Ants as one of their Best of 2011. I would recommend Ana Howard's services to any author whose work needs an edit. Cost of the service was more than fair and the end result was priceless." —Clark T. CarltonSample Book Critique
JOHN DAVID KUDRICK (BA in Theology / MA in Journalism—Professional Writing: Fiction).
You're sitting at your computer, smiling, feeling an incredible sense of satisfaction in your heart. After more hours than you can count, you've finally finished your novel – a story from deep within your soul that you want to share with the world.
But then the questions start hitting your mind: Is it the very best that it can be? Will anyone even want to read it? What should I do with it now?
With nearly twenty years of experience as an editor, John David understands the gamut of feelings that comes with getting your novel from your hard drive and into print. That's why he'd love to partner with you in getting your novel to the next level …
- Manuscript Critique – With a detailed evaluation document and annotated comments/suggestions throughout your manuscript, find out how you can make your good book even better.
- Content Editing – Guidance and hands-on editorial help in reorganizing and revising your story to make it even more powerful and engaging. Includes two rounds of editorial review.
- Copyediting – Line-by-line editing to take care of grammar, word usage, tone, format, and more. Includes two rounds of editorial review.
- Proofreading – A final polish to clean up typos, inconsistencies, misspellings, and punctuation problems. Includes two rounds of editorial review.
- Ghostwriting – Crafting of a book-length manuscript using existing material from author. Also includes a follow-up copyedit. (NOTE: Ghostwriting available for Christian living/spirituality book projects only.)
FLOYD LARGENT specializes in history, natural history, anthropology and the sciences on the non-fiction front, and speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror, and allied fields) otherwise. He's published his own e-book on fiction marketing (100 Great Places to Sell Your Short Stories, Both On and Off the Web), and is intimately familiar with technical writing, having worked as a technical writer and editor for ten years. He's also been published in most of the popular American history magazines, including American History, America's Civil War, Old West, and True West.
Mr. Largent can provide publishing assistance (especially with short stories and journal articles), content development, manuscript evaluation, and mentoring services, supplemented with advice concerning manuscript mechanics, query letters, book synopses, and proposals.
- Developmental editing
- Book proposals
"I handed Floyd my 65,000 word manuscript on June 6th and got it back, polished to within an inch of its life, on July 25th. Floyd did a fantastic job."
"I've been going through the story and I'm about halfway through the review.... So far, the work is incredible. I really like what you've done with it to say the least. Satisfaction would be an understatement."
"Floyd Largent did an outstanding job with my manuscript. [H]is attention to detail, knowledge, and professionalism surpassed my expectations. I could not have been happier with the final product, or picked a more qualified editor to work with."Manuscript Critiques by Floyd Largent
Paranormal romance | psychic/supernatural phenomena | science fiction | fantasy | speculative fiction | western romance | young adult
KELLY LYNNE is the proud "auntie" to over 50 published novels, novellas and short stories, which have sold to Kensington Publishing, Carina Press, Cerridwen Press, Awe-Struck Publishing, Samhain Publishing, Wings ePress, Bradley Publishing, and The Wild Rose Press as well as author self-published titles. These books have gone on to earn high praise from reviewers and readers, as well as multiple awards and contest wins. As an editor for The Wild Rose Press, she edited contemporary western and light paranormal romances, with heat ratings from sweet to spicy. Outside of romance, her fiction fortes include sci-fi, fantasy, speculative fiction, young adult, and stories of psychic or supernatural phenomena.
Empathic about the "feel" of a story, Kelly provides suggestions so that authors may revise with their own style in mind, preserving the individual voice, while alerting authors to current trends in publishable styles. Developmental fiction editing requires an emotional investment in the work - an investment of time and effort that Kelly is happy to make.
Kelly has published over 100 non-fiction articles, two short stories, and a novel. She knows the hoops authors are expected to jump through and helps authors polish their submission packets. Query letters, synopses and professional quality formatting are as important as a well-polished manuscript.
Specialties: style-sheet to track continuity, character traits, and plot aspects | critique of story plot, character believability and setting | weeding out clichés, redundancies, wordiness, triteness and vague generalizations
FICTION AND NONFICTION BOOKS, MEMOIRS, THESES, DISSERTATIONS (APA Format)
“James Powell examines the symbols of language the way a biologist examines cells.” New York Times Review of Books
“James Powell assures us that the universe is a silent partner in a dialogue that goes on all the time.” New York Times Review of Books
JAMES N. POWELL is "a good literary surgeon," as one of his accomplished clients noted. As an editor of fiction and non-fiction, he views manuscripts with comprehensive vision and an eye for detail. He will read your fiction with an eye to making it believable and your non-fiction with a knack for making it both convincing and engaging.
His books and short stories have been translated into many languages and are known throughout the world. His list of publications includes The Tao of Symbols (Morrow 1982), Energy and Eros (Morrow 1985), The Prentice Hall Global Employment Guide (Prentice Hall 1983), Mandalas: The Dynamics of Vedic Symbolism (Sterling 1980), Derrida for Beginners (Writers and Readers 1996), Postmodernism for Beginners (Writers and Readers 1998), Eastern Philosophy for Beginners (2000), Deconstruction for Beginners (2005), and Slow Love: A Polynesian Pillow Book (2008).
His short story "The Silence of the Hummingbird" was published in Spanish in Revista Katharsis, in Malaga, Spain, and his journalism has appeared in Spirituality & Health, Tahiti Beach Press, the Santa Barbara Independent, and Montecito Journal.
Developmental editing, substantive editing, line editing, manuscript evaluation, publishing consultation
Fiction and nonfiction: literary, historical, mystery/suspense, adult, young adult, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, paranormal, erotica, humor, and new age/spirituality
ANDREA ROBB spent over a decade as an acquiring editor at Penguin Random House, working on key titles for Knopf, Doubleday, Pantheon, Vintage and Anchor Books. Prior to that, she was on the editorial team at The Book of the Month Club, where she evaluated hundreds of titles for club inclusion.
Notable fiction projects that Andrea has edited have included Jennifer McMahon's NY Times bestselling novels The Winter People, The Night Sister, and Burntown; the NY Times bestselling Veronica Mars mystery series; the Harvard Lampoon's NY Times bestselling parody Nightlight; the translations of Paulo Coelho's internationally bestselling novels The Spy, Adultery, Manuscript Found in Accra, and Aleph; Whiting Award-winner Melanie Sumner's How to Write a Novel; and Latifah Salom's debut suspense novel, The Cake House.
Nonfiction projects include blogger and comedian Samantha Irby's We Are Never Meeting in Real Life; Vela magazine founder Sarah Menkedick's debut essay collection Homing Instincts; multiple anthologies in the bestselling Foxfire series on Appalachian history and culture; the political travel guide The Nation Guide to the Nation; and new editions of Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey's Driven to Distraction and Answers to Distraction.
In addition to her editing work, Andrea has worked with over one hundred bestselling and award-winning authors to tailor their copy and paperback packaging for the softcover audience, often developing new materials such as reading group guides, introductions, and glossaries.
Authors she's worked with in this capacity have included Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus), Anne Rice (Prince Lestat), Chris Bohjalian (The Sandcastle Girls), Lisa Unger (Heartbroken), Karen Russell (Vampires in the Lemon Grove), Joby Warrick (The Triple Agent), Kate Alcott (The Dressmaker), Ariel Lawhon (Flight of Dreams), Kevin Kwan (Crazy Rich Asians), Stephen Harrigan (The Gates of the Alamo), Alex Kava (Hotwire), J. Courtney Sullivan (Maine), Jennifer Close (Girls in White Dresses), Peter Heller (The Dog Stars), and Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven).
Via a penname, Andrea is also the author of a successful young adult novel with HarperTEEN that was chosen as a selection of the Scholastic Book Club, and has written text for popular television tie-in projects published by Insight Editions.