Manuscript evaluation

Before going ahead with publishing it is highly recommended that you first have your manuscript evaluated. In the evaluation we look at your manuscript from the viewpoint of a reader and a publisher.


An evaluation will typically include:

  • A synopsis of both the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript.
  • A general readability assessment of the manuscript, focusing on language, grammar and tone, pacing, and voice using examples from your text to illustrate points made.
  • Commentary of narrative outline, word choices and sentence structure, looking for and assessing ambiguity, contradictions (as applicable).
  • Overall assessment of structure – how your book fits together, with examples and questions highlighted for the author.
  • Tone and characterisation assessment (as applicable).
  • Suitability for the target audience and whether the content has been dealt with in a manner that helps position the material for success in the marketplace, highlighting both strengths and areas for improvement.
  • General comments and input; this will include an assessment of the current state and readiness of the manuscript to proceed to publication.

We offer two types of evaluation:

Express review

This is a cost-effective option if you’re a new writer and would like some general guidance regarding the quality of your writing, common grammatical errors, and other obvious concerns that can be worked on before submitting your manuscript for a full evaluation or editing.

This evaluation typically looks at just three sample chapters of the book or the first 30–50 pages. Comments may be provided in the sample chapters themselves or the evaluator will write a short 1–2 page report, or both – depending on who is doing the evaluating.

The disadvantage of the express evaluation is that the evaluator cannot identify problems that may occur later in the book, such as a weak ending, inadequate follow-through on concepts or plot, weak characters, timeline problems, or structural and content issues.

Investment: R2000

Full evaluation

This is the recommended option if your manuscript is complete and you’d like a proper assessment of all the items on our evaluation list before you engage the publishing process. The more work you can do as an author to perfect your manuscript, the cheaper your overall editing and proofreading costs are likely to be. An evaluation is worth gold as comprehensive feedback is provided and authors are able to see their work from another person’s perspective. This is the more expensive evaluation option as the entire manuscript is read and a lot of time is spent by the evaluator writing up the assessment and providing concrete examples from your manuscript where necessary. Our pricing is based on the length of the manuscript and is as follows:

Investment: R4500 to R8000

Editing and proofreading

It goes without saying that before you enter a publishing process, your manuscript must undergo professional editing.

Here we will address the four main editorial services available to authors, each of which addresses different aspects of a manuscript. It is important to understand these differences so that you select the right editorial service and have realistic expectations of your chosen editor.


Developmental edit

Developmental editing, also known as a substantive or content editing, is usually the first stage in the editing process and it looks at the “big picture”. It focuses on the manuscript’s intended use and target market, as well as the internal organisation, structure, style and flow of information or narrative. Are the ideas clearly developed and articulated? Are there plot holes and are characters well developed? Does the information included serve the narrative or purpose of the book?

The editor engages with the material at the deepest level. They may recommend adding, deleting or moving content; point out potential copyright issues; recommend a referencing style; and so on. They will often leave comments for you to address in the marked up manuscript. 

Line editing

Line editing focuses on improving the overall writing quality and usually comes after a developmental edit and before a copy edit. It looks at how you communicate your ideas – the stylistic construction of your story. The editor will point out sections that can be improved, phrases that have been over-used or incorrectly used, and inconsistent writing style. They will correct sentences that are too long and make the text easier for the target audience to understand.

Copy editing

Once the overall structure, flow and writing quality have been fixed, the copy editor will focus on the document at a more technical level. They will ensure completeness, accuracy, consistency, conciseness, readability, and most especially clarity — everything must be so clear that it cannot be misunderstood. The line editor also focuses on punctuation, grammar and spelling.

For self-publishing authors, a copy edit is the minimum recommended level of editing required for publishing.


This is normally done after the first page proofs have been produced — all the editing will already have been done. Sentence structure, flow, development and content should be sound, but the manuscript may need another check for lingering punctuation, grammar and spelling errors, and errors that may have crept in during the typesetting process, such as incorrect heading levels, incorrect page number references, and so on.

Editors in South Africa often include developmental editing, line editing and copy editing in one combined service called “substantive editing” or “standard editing”, depending on the amount of work involved.

When choosing an editor, it is advisable to confirm exactly what the editor will be doing for you so that you are getting the right service and have realistic expectations of the outcome.

How do I obtain an editing or proofreading quote?

To receive a quote for editorial services, either email us or complete the online quote request and provide the following information:

  • Three representative chapters (or the full manuscript depending on the service required)
  • Table of contents
  • Synopsis of the book
  • Total word count of manuscript
  • Intended target audience

Editing quotes take approximately 1–2 working days to generate.


Download the first three chapters of
Publish Like A Pro

Chapters one to three talk about traditional versus independent publishing, who owns your work, potential earnings, planning your book, planning your writing schedule, how to structure your book, choosing a title, using keywords for better SEO, what you need to include for publishing, how to find a publisher and submit your manuscript, and protecting your copyright. 


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To read the full table of contents, visit the book page on by clicking the link below. Scroll down to the "look inside" feature.

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OBTAIN AN EDITING QUOTE Get your manuscript into tip-top shape