Are there any manuscript review services people can recommend?


Well-Known Member
Jul 26, 2021
So I'm looking around for the best possible bang for the buck in terms of having someone else review my WIP, which I've edited, proofread, reworked a few times and there seems to be a few options, some with clearer price schemes than others and some a bit vague as to what they are actually offering to do.

The two best looking offers I've found so far are Curtis Brown and Writers and Artists, both having pretty decent rates with the latter giving a better price to word count.

And yet I'm still not sure and I figure there must be tales to tell here, so anyone got any recommendations on who else might be best?

haven't seen any feedback about how helpful this is
Which is a great point. I'll add a note in the guidelines about please dropping a note in the thread if someone on chrons beta read your MS and it was helpful for you. You don't have to call out the person, just express thanks to the community and indicate if the thing is working.
You could try John Jarrold, lit agent and script doctor, with a serious career in SFF publishing and very approachable.
A free option is Beta Reader Marketplace

I haven't seen any feedback about how helpful this is, but it might be useful to have some members give your manuscript a read through before paying for something.
You could try John Jarrold, lit agent and script doctor, with a serious career in SFF publishing and very approachable.
Those are both some rather good pointers, thanks very much.
Also the literary agent of quality people like, er, me.
Much depends on what you're looking for. Copyedit? Proofread? Line edit? Developmental edit? Whoever you work with should be asking you those questions, or should lay out on a price schedule what they offer. Because "review" is far too vague a basis for shopping editors.

How many words long is the manuscript? You should be able to get a fairly good idea of range of prices, and then compare that to what you are able to pay. I could afford--and felt it was a worthwhile investment--to pay for a 65k novel. But for my 130k novel, the cost was prohibitive.

Beta reading is a different kind of service. I'm not sure I would recommend it for a first-time author, as beta readers themselves can be ... er ... less than professional sometimes. OTOH, some are great.

Finally, do not overlook the time factor. The last editor I hired didn't have availability for another six months. Then there's the turnaround. Beta readers can be quicker, as they tend not to volunteer unless they're available soon, but you can also get readers who simply never finish the work.
I'd also add that, in addition to copy edit, proof, dev edit, etc, you might also want to think about a specific readership or any character experiences outside of your own where you want someone with that background to read the work. Example: I'm a neurodiverse cis het man, but my story has 3 female protagonists, one of which is ASD and one of which is bi. Having a female editor with an ASD background was super important to me! And it was incredibly helpful. It called out where the lived experience felt true and where it felt false and really helped me edit.

@sknox I had a similar issue -- first draft was 190k words and I knew I needed to edit. (My initial goal was 165k, but actually hit 140k). I found an editor, went through the first couple page edits and we chatted. I said I couldn't do the entire book because of cost. She edited Part 1. In the course of those edits, I saw the issues with the rest of the book and asked her to pause so I could address them.

TLDR: If you're new to hiring an editor, you do not need to hire one for the entire book.

I'd also call out that borrowing, The Story Grid from my local library was incredibly helpful in switching from writing to editing. The website and other stuff is... a lot. (of money, time, structure, etc). The context of the book and what it offers and how it frames story, genre and arcs is incredibly helpful.

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