A manuscript evaluation lets you know whether you have created a successful story and allowed your book to come alive. Is your writing voice strong? Are your characters (real or fictional) fresh, convincing, and engaging, so that the reader will want to spend several hours with them? Is the narrative structure satisfying—and is it the best way to convey your material? Have you created suspense (important in both fiction and nonfiction), so that we are eager to turn the page? Is the world of your story vivid, intriguing, visual? Do the opening pages shine and give us an entrée into the story? These are some of the essentials I consider when evaluating a manuscript.
I also look for a writer’s particular gifts and how to enhance them. I identify the successful parts and suggest how the best material can be magnified. And I’m candid about what can be usefully deleted.
A manuscript evaluation includes a detailed written report about what’s working and what’s not, annotations on the manuscript (if you’ve chosen to send me a hard copy), and a half-hour follow-up by phone or email.
“Priscilla Barton puts concision, flow, and punch in the work. She’s the second set of eyes worth having.”
—Clark Lohr, author of Devil’s Kitchen and Mirandized Nation
Whether you are writing your first book or your twentieth, this is the necessary stage of editing, the final polish before you send your manuscript out into the world. This is where you declare that your book is a professional piece of writing.
Nothing will drive away your readers faster than poor grammar, inappropriate punctuation, clichés, repetition, inconsistencies, and typos. These are a few of the basics. As a skilled copy editor, I deal with these matters, along with the grace and flow of your writing, word choice, sentence variety, and consistency of character, style, and point of view. I also work with writers who have English as a second language.
Does your manuscript need copy editing? The answer is yes.
Do you have plotting issues, concerns about your characters, questions about setting? Perhaps you need to flesh out your story ideas, make good use of subplots, or ramp up suspense.
You may be unsure of how to organize your material or create a successful nonfiction book out of disparate ideas. Or you may need help with the next step in your writing journey or advice about how to write more deeply and efficiently.
If you’d like to discuss your current book project or various aspects of the writer’s craft, I am available for phone consultations. These typically range from a half hour to an hour and are billed on an hourly basis.
These days, ghostwriting is a craft that has come out of the closet. We simply accept that celebrities, politicians, entrepreneurs, prominent doctors, notable chefs—all sorts of people with special knowledge and stories—hire ghostwriters to help them get their ideas into print. Even some best-selling commercial novelists now publicly acknowledge their co-writers.
Why hire a ghostwriter? If you have a great story to tell but neither the time nor the skill to create a compelling manuscript, working with a ghostwriter can be a rewarding solution.
For my ghostwriting clients, I am able to work from partial manuscripts, interviews, even notes in a digital file. And I will do the necessary research. The point is to create a lively book that’s truly yours—in your voice, from your point of view, using your words and ideas. For me, this is both a challenge and a pleasure.
I offer an initial free consultation for each new project so that we can discuss your material, your writing goals, the potential audience for your book, and your budget and time constraints.
If you are interested in a manuscript evaluation or copy editing, I’d like to see a sample of your work, via email. With the writing sample, I’ll be able to recommend the most helpful level of editing for your work, and I’ll give you a firm price quote.
For ghostwriting, send me a short description of the project you have in mind, and from there we can have a discussion.
Literary therapy is billed at the hourly rate of $70, with a half-hour minimum.
If we agree to work together, I ask that half my fee be paid in advance, the remainder when the work is completed. Payment can be made by personal check or through PayPal.
Transparency and client satisfaction are of paramount importance to me.