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The dream of writing the next great American novel is pretty much a pipe dream for most people. The publishing industry is a tough nut to crack, and overworked Editors don’t have time to coach new Novelists on how to be the next Toni Morrison.
But you do. As a Manuscript Evaluator, you look through the works of Authors who are hoping to be published, and give them advice and criticism on their work.
You don’t function as an Editor, although many freelance Manuscript Evaluators also do offer editing services. Instead, Writers send you their finished work (or a pretty good chunk of it), and you go through it to look for flaws. The purpose of your evaluation is to let Writers know how to stand out from the thousands of other works that get sent to publishing houses. You look at things like structure, character development, dialogue quality, scene transitions, and any other element that might improve the book. After analyzing the manuscript, you send the Author a detailed report on how they can improve their writing and give their story a good chance at being selected for publishing.
Authors choose your services over the advice of friends and family because of your experience in the field of publishing. Most Manuscript Evaluators are former Editors or Literary Agents, and many have written their own novels. There are a few firms that offer specific evaluation services, but for the most part, this is a freelance business that you’ll need to start on your own.