Almost every first-time author approaches an editor when they believe their manuscript is finished and ready for the finishing touches—and almost every first-time author is wrong. What’s an editor to do? Consider adding manuscript evaluations to the menu of services you provide. Without running up a big tab, the author can get a realistic appraisal of what they need to do on their next draft, along with some acknowledgement of what they’re doing well—and encouragement to keep going. And with a little practice, you can whip up a manuscript evaluation in about a week, so you can often ease first-time authors’ anxiety with quick gratification.
Lynne Melcombe has been writing and editing for over 30 years. She does substantive, stylistic, and copy editing, proofreading, manuscript evaluation and coaching. She works primarily on nonfiction, and copy edits and proofreads fiction. Recent clients include Harbour Publishing, Douglas & McIntyre, Greystone, Royal BC Museum, and the governments of BC, Alberta, and Canada. Lynne has a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative nonfiction writing, a BA in anthropology and English, and certificates in editing, publishing, and writing. She lives in Port Coquitlam, BC, with her little dog, Tessa.