Weighing up the Cost of Manuscript Appraisal Services via (@artshub)

Arts Hub discusses the costs of manuscript appraisal services, in light of the Australian Society of Authors' new offerings. About ten years ago I used a manuscript appraisal service for a novel manuscript I had completed, and considered it good value. I was much less experienced then of course, so it was a short cut of sorts. It was nowhere near as expensive as some of these options though. You have to consider whether an investment of over a thousand dollars in a manuscript is worth it (it'd pay for a top-notch cover, for example), or whether some of the skills you acquire during the appraisal service are transferable top future projects, making it more of an educational expense.

I also liked this (check out the site):

Matt Dale of tells us that he usually charges an ‘hourly rate of around $40 and payment terms by chapter, so the author can see (and pay for) progress in real time’, which might be a more economical way for a writer to determine if they want to use the service without forking over a huge chunk of change.

And remember an appraisal doesn't really mean squat when it comes to using it to pitch your manuscript:

This is backed up by a survey the ASA conducted in 1999 with 13 agents and seven publishers. The survey found that appraisals were ‘a vital link in the publishing industry chain’ by helping strengthen the writing of emerging talent, yet had ‘little effect on any chances of publication’. This report, available on the Writing WA website offers a comprehensive look at the pros and cons of appraisals.

Read all about it here:

Finding an editor (and treating them well) - via @BothersomeWords

I found this blog post via Angela Slattery's blog (to which you should also subscribe, as it is quite useful). Bothersome Words is a provider of literary services (eg. proofreading, editing), and wrote an article comparing hiring editors to hiring any tradesperson. This in itself is a worthwhile read, but what particularly struck me (reading writing-related posts with Literarium ever-watchful over my shoulder), was the introduction:

There are many ways to go about hiring a freelance editor to help you with your fledgling manuscript or document. You can trawl through the Yellow Pages, check Google, contact your local Writers’ Centres or dip into the directories of numerous Societies of Editors.

Just as there are hundreds of tradespeople to choose from, so there are hundreds of editors. So you narrow it down. You look for editors who specialise in your subject area. Maybe you take advice from fellow writers, get recommendations.

Finally, you have a list of people who you think would suit your manuscript. So what next?

What's next is you hire the services of someone like Bothersome Words. But of course, finding Bothersome Words is one of the problems we hope Literarium will solve.

Lucas and I are aiming to be able to provide that directory of services, sortable and searchable by as many different tidbits of metadata that we can think of. Do you have a fantasy romance novella of 15,000 words? We can bring back all Editors in your state that accept fantasy and/or romance and work with projects of that size. Literarium will speed up that initial process, cutting out all the clumsy googling, yellow-page hunting, writing-list bothering and friend haranguing.

Why? I'll end by quoting from my own comment on the post:

[...] I see a massive boom in self-sourced literary professionals now that self-publishing digitally is a much more viable path; illustrators, typesetters, proofreaders - all the services that would once have been provided inside a publishing house. [...]

That's why. :-D