From Good to Great: How a Manuscript Appraisal Can Transform Your Non-Fiction Book

As a non-fiction author, you may spend months, or even years, researching and writing your book. It’s easy to feel lost or overwhelmed when you’re partway through. That’s when a manuscript appraisal can be beneficial to support you on your publishing journey. 

In this post, we’ll explore a little more about what a manuscript appraisal actually looks like, as well as some of the benefits of this type of feedback.

First and foremost – what the heck is a manuscript appraisal anyway?

A manuscript appraisal is a professional evaluation of your book by an experienced author, editor or literary agent. It can provide valuable insights that can help improve your non-fiction book and often, most importantly, help you get unstuck. 

You see, writing a non-fiction book might seem straightforward at the outset. You might even have what you believe to be a solid structure in place. But when it comes to writing the darn thing, it’s not uncommon to get a little lost. To feel like you can’t see the wood for the trees. To have the urge to give up and use your manuscript to light the fire in winter.

But before you reach for the literary pyrotechnics, I urge you to reconsider and look at a manuscript appraisal to help you. 

Any decent manuscript appraisal will supply you with the following:

  • Written feedback on your manuscript – what’s working, what isn’t and how you can move forward.

  • An opportunity to discuss the feedback with the professional who evaluated your work allows you to ask questions and seek clarification on anything raised.

  • A confidence boost – so you know exactly what you need to do to move your manuscript forward and write the best book possible.

For me, a manuscript appraisal should be a conversation. It shouldn’t be a one-way critique of your work. Instead, you should be able to ask the questions, so you know exactly how to continue. 

But what are the other benefits of a manuscript appraisal?

For me, before any of the other benefits I’m about to mention, an appraisal can give you an objective perspective. From someone who isn’t emotionally tied to your book. Yes, you can give it to your friend, partner or your great aunt Betty, but will they be able to detach from it and provide honest feedback?

Not likely.

You want someone who will give you the feedback you need to hear, not the feedback you want to hear… harsh but true.

Following that, a manuscript appraisal can help identify weaknesses in your book’s structure. This can be especially helpful if you have been working on your book for a long time and are too close to the material to see any flaws.

An experienced editor can help you identify areas where your book may be dragging, where the pacing is off, or where there are gaps in the information you’re presenting. By identifying these weaknesses, you can make the necessary changes to improve your book’s overall structure and flow.

It can also help you refine your message. A good non-fiction book should have a clear message that resonates with readers. An appraisal can help you identify the key themes and ideas in your book and ensure they’re presented in a clear and engaging way.

No one wants to read a snore-fest.

It’ll also tell you about any inconsistencies in your message and suggestions on how to address them.

Style and audience

A manuscript appraisal can help improve your writing style too. Writing style is a crucial aspect of any book, but it can be essential in non-fiction. Your writing should be clear, concise, and engaging. An experienced author or editor can provide suggestions on improving your writing style, such as avoiding unnecessary jargon and simplifying complex ideas.

After all, keeping your reader in mind at all times is crucial to success!

But just who is your reader? A good non-fiction book should be written with a specific audience in mind. An appraisal can help you identify your target audience and provide suggestions on how to tailor your writing to that audience.

This can be advice on how to frame your message, what types of examples to use, and how to present your information in the most appealing way to your target audience. As I always say, a book for a twenty-something millennial entrepreneur will sound very different to one for a sixty-something retired gardener.

And finally, a manuscript appraisal can provide valuable feedback on your book’s marketability. Again, an experienced editor or literary agent will have a good sense of what is currently selling in the non-fiction market and can provide suggestions on making your book more marketable. 

This can include suggestions on how to position your book, how to make it stand out from the competition, and how to create a compelling book cover and blurb.

So, is a manuscript appraisal the next step for your book?

A manuscript appraisal can be a valuable investment for any non-fiction author. It can provide valuable feedback on your book’s structure, message, writing style, target audience, and marketability. In addition, by taking the time to get an expert evaluation of your book, you can identify weaknesses and make the necessary changes to improve your book’s overall quality and appeal.

Oh, and you’ll get that all-important confidence boost too!

If you’re interested in a manuscript appraisal for your book, why not take a look at my ‘Book Fix’ service or contact me for a chat about how I can help you?

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