I’ve previously covered various screenplay coverage services on the blog, and I’ll keep updating you on the results. But what about novels? Should we try to get our novels reviewed by professional readers? When should we do it, and how much does it cost?
I have a beta reader who has been immensely helpful with the first three chapters of my novel, both with language and story. A couple of other friends have read and enjoyed the manuscript overall, though I’m not going to claim they were incredibly objective, I’m confident they did have a good time: I know their tastes, and they have read and commented on my stories before. So it was a safe bet.
So far, I haven’t been able to hook an agent, at least not with the first few pages of my story. Now that some of those pages took some rewriting thanks to my beta reader, I’m ready to send more queries and see if I get any requests.
I’ll also probably send the manuscript to Coverage Ink (included in the list below) for an overall review. They reviewed my pilot script before, and I found their comments very helpful, and to the point. And if they made 20 points, I probably only disagreed with (or wasn’t sure about) 2 of them, which means they got what I wanted to do with my story.
That’s one of the most important aspects of coverage for me: for the reader to be as objective as possible, comment on the marketability of the story and suggest ways on how to make the story catchier and irresistible, without changing its heart. I tried Coverage Ink after hearing about them via Stephanie Palmer’s Good in a Room blog. I’ll also resubmit the pilot after completing my editing.
They also offer proofreading services, and if you can afford it, I strongly recommend getting your story proofed as well as critiqued by people you trust.
So without further ado, below are some of the services you might consider starting your research with:
*(Please note that with the exception of Sigrid’s e-book, I haven’t used affiliate links in this article.)
– Writers & Artists:
Their services come in several stages, so you can send in anything from your first draft to final. Full manuscript review ranges from £680 – £1020. They also offer other packages, so do check out their site for more information.
– Sigrid Macdonald:
Sigrid is the author of Be Your Own Editor. I own this e-book and I’ve found it tremendously helpful. While it wouldn’t substitute for Sigrid reading every page herself, it’s a great alternative when you can’t afford editing services.
– Coverage Ink:
Coverage Ink offers different levels of coverage, so be sure to check your options out. You might also want to get a quote for your novel by submitting the first 5 pages.
– Writer’s Digest:
Writer’s Digest Shop offers manuscript critique for your novels. It’s currently 3 dollars per page.
Please keep in mind that this is not meant to be a comprehensive list, just a starting point for your research.
If you have tried editing services, please share your experiences in the comments.