Bobbin Manuscript Assessment
The Bobbin Manuscript Assessment is the optimum program to get a comprehensive overview of your manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as suggestions for how to move forward. It is designed to give you the best editorial assessment available and ensure your book has the reach and impact it deserves.
This program is tailored for fiction and nonfiction authors who want to publish a high-level professional book, but need to make sure it is absolutely the best possible book.
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Manuscript Developmental editing
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Early Readers + Eval + EditSave $3622
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- Flexible Payment Plans Available
Are you an author looking for beta readers or professional editing?
Bobbin offers 3 ways for you to get feedback on your manuscript to help you write a high-level professional book
Bobbin Early Reader Feedback Program
Hand-picked and highly trained Early Readers who are well-read in your genre and will give you thorough, honest and timely feedback on your manuscript before your book coach gets your manuscript.
Bobbin Manuscript Evaluation
Developmental Edit. A Summary of your manuscripts strengths and weaknesses on a big picture scale from a professional book coach.
Bobbin Manuscript Edit
Line Edit. An analysis of your manuscripts strengths and weaknesses on a line-level from an award-winning editor.
Bobbin Early Reader Feedback
Imagine finishing your draft and instantly getting thorough, honest, and timely feedback from your target audience before you invest in an editor.
Our Bobbin Early Reader program makes it quick, easy, and fun to connect with professional beta readers and authors in your genre. We have a list of helpful writers and casual readers (non-writers) who are always interested in checking out the latest books.
We call them Bobbin Early Readers and they’re excited to help you make your book the best book possible. We’ve done all the busy work of finding, interviewing, and vetting beta readers for you, so that you get to spend your time writing and revising and self-editing your manuscript.
How We Connect Early Readers With Authors
So you’ve completed the first draft of your novel? Congratulations!
Now it’s time to start the all-important revision process. Be sure not to shoot yourself in the foot by sending it off or self-publishing it too soon. That’s the biggest mistake of unsuccessful novelists – being in too much of a hurry to get their book out, when it still needs (major or minor) revisions and final polishing.
To start, put it aside for a week or more, then change the font and print it up and read it in a different location, where you don’t write. Or, to save paper, put it on your tablet and take it outside to a park or a (different) coffee shop to read. That way, you can approach it with fresh eyes and a bit of distance, as a reader, rather than in too close as the writer.
Go through the whole manuscript for big-picture issues: logistics, characterization, plot, writing style, flow. Try to put some tension on every page, even if it’s just minor internal disagreement. Remember that conflict and tension are what drive fiction forward. As you read, correct minor errors and typos that jump out at you and make notes in the margins and on the backs of the pages. Then go back to the computer and type in your changes.
Now it’s time to seek out avid readers to give you some feedback.
Beta reading is a fun way to provide readers with unpublished manuscripts, receiving their feedback and opinions in exchange. And it’s a great way to improve your book.
We have a list of helpful early readers who are always interested in checking out the latest books. Once they sign up for our Bobbin Early Reader program, we send them books across a variety of genres.
How the Early Reader Program Works
Bobbin will send your book out to our Early Readers and bring their responses back to you a few weeks later. We have 200+ Early Readers and we’ll help you determine which would be best for your book right now. A month later, we’ll send you honest feedback from qualified strangers you won’t have to sit down with at Thanksgiving.
You start by filling out the Q&A below to submit your request. When you fill out the form, you’ll be added to our private database of authors and readers.
Next, our team will review all the information and confirm you’re a real person. (We work hard to ensure no spammers or scammers join our network).
After that, our team will review your application, and then send your Project Scope to the beta readers and/or authors who match what you’re looking for.
We’ve developed a feedback form with 80+ questions for your reader to fill out, guaranteeing you’ll be able to make targeted revisions where needed while also feeling reassured about what’s already golden.
After our beta readers complete your book, we will assemble a custom feedback form for you. This form can range in content from suggestions on plot development, grammatical errors, and much more.
The process is anonymous on both sides, so your beta reader won’t be biased going into the read and they can feel comfortable answering honestly without fear of reprisal.
As soon as we have availability, we’ll email your manuscript to interested beta readers as a Microsoft Word attachment.
Phase 1 - Early Draft Readers
You’ve worked for months—or years—on your novel, writing and revising. You’ve completed self-editing and the book is as good as you can get it without help from others. Now you think that you’re ready for another human’s eyes to gaze upon your work and tell you what works and what doesn’t quite gel. The first person you let read your draft is your Early Draft Readers.
These readers are also fellow writers and they know that you are giving away an early rough draft with all kinds of potential mistakes. They will forgive all the spelling, grammar, and formatting issues that may arise and will provide you with answers on the general entertainment level of the story.
We’ve found that fellow writers are most helpful for early drafts, when you might be stuck, at a crossroads, or when you’ve done everything you can with a draft but don’t know how to go further and need assistance with recognizing craft issues. They are equipped to spot and articulate specific plot, pacing, and character issues. Drawing on a common lexicon, fellow writers could explain, more specifically, what was lacking or wrong—as long as they don’t cross the line into “this is how I would have done it.”
On that note, we are well aware of the pitfalls of using fellow writers—in particular, the challenge for a writer of being able to switch gears and simply “read as a reader.” We writers have a tendency to want to change it to how we would write it ourselves. To help avoid this, Bobbin trains all of our readers on best practices for giving feedback. Plus, we provide all of our readers a detailed feedback Q&A to complete and that we review before we send it out to our authors.
Bobbin will select two Phase 1 Early Draft Readers from our tribe who best fit your project and send your manuscript to them. We’ve found that anymore than two is just too many cooks.
If you get too many people critiquing your work, it will work against you. Too many opinions, and too time consuming.
Optional. One of these readers may be a writer who writes in your genre while the other may be a writer who does not write in your genre. This is to give you valuable perspective on how your story actually comes across and to help you discover certain blindspots that might come from robotically following genre conventions.
Ultimately, you should always write to market — in other words, if your book is young adult fantasy, you want to write a book that young adults who are into fantasy will enjoy. That being said, your feedback is likely to be most comprehensive if you show your manuscript to more than just existing Harry Potter fans.
But we’ll leave it up to you to decide.
Phase 2 - Revision Stage Readers
After you’ve thought over your Phase 1 Early Draft Reader’s feedback, you sit back down at the computer and start revising.
This is the first big revision you’ll do after getting feedback from a reader. You’ll sweat and labor over a new draft, maybe even a few new drafts, until you’ve done everything you can think of to polish your novel.
You do a spell check and reread for proper grammar and punctuation. If you’ve changed character names or deleted characters, you read through and make sure that you’ve made changes consistently through your entire draft.
You check for continuity, and you check that all of our plot strands are tied up in a satisfying way by the end of the book.
When you’ve exhausted every option and polished every part of your manuscript and you think you’ve got a great next draft, then congratulations! It’s time for your Phase 2 – Revision Stage readers to take a look.
These readers will not be the same people who read your early draft in Phase 1, but they will also be writers. And they will provide valuable critique on your manuscript after you’ ve made revisions from the Phase 1 feedback.
Bobbin will send your manuscript to two of these Phase 2 Readers. We’ve found that anymore than that and is just too many cooks.
Bobbin will select two Phase 2 Revision Stage Readers from our tribe who best fit your project and send your manuscript to them.
As before, one of these readers may be a writer who writes in your genre while the other may be a writer who does not write in your genre. It’s up to you.
Phase 3 - Casual Readers
You’ve done your homework and fixed every flaw you and Phase 1 & 2 readers could find in your manuscript, and you’ve polished your manuscript as much as you possibly can.
Now it’s time to share your manuscript with readers who are non-writers.
Best of all, your beta reader will be well-read in your genre, so they’ll truly represent your market and know a hit–or a miss–when they see one.
These readers will provide you with your final critique before your manuscript goes to a professional book coach and editor.
All of these readers are non-writers. Non-writers are more helpful at this stage when your book is done–as a test audience, almost as quality assurance–but not for material that still required considerable work.
Non-writers don’t want to read something that’s not been edited or is hard to follow. Casual readers do not like being distracted by all the spelling, grammar, and formatting issues from a rough draft. And at this stage, your book should be in good enough shape for non-readers to check out.
You will get valuable “reader” feedback as opposed to “writer” feedback. This kind of reader feedback is usually more authentic, representative, and jargon-free. Non-writers may not understand or be able to articulate the mechanics and craft of writing like fellow writers can.
But these readers will be hand-picked directly from your target audience, who are familiar with and love your genre, and whose judgment you can trust. They’ll truly represent your market and know a hit–or a miss–when they see one.
And because of the anonymity of this exchange, they have no expectations, vested interest, or reason to soften their response for the sake of your friendship.
They won’t ‘yes’ you to death. It’s not what you need. Their feedback is raw and intuitive to their experience while reading your book, which is exactly what you’d get once your book is out in the wild.
And with this process, you get to receive that style of feedback while you can still make adjustments–as in, before you publish.
Bobbin will select five Phase 3 Casual Readers from our tribe who best fit your project and send your manuscript to them. All of these readers will be a readers who love your genre.
Bobbin Early Reader
A Bobbin Early Reader is just like a beta reader, except you earn actual dollars for helping authors write better books.
The Goldilocks Zone
We’ve found that these 3 Phases of reader feedback is the sweet spot.
We actually did the math. It’s the right amount of opinions to gather a consensus but not so many to stall you in the ninth circle of manuscript revision hell.
Problems can stem from an over-abundance of feedback. Any more than these 3 phases starts to muddy the water as you get slightly different takes on the same issues.
It’s way too easy to ask thirty people for comments, and then implement all their comments and lose what you intended for the story. Confusion and loss of focus will make the manuscript worse, rather than better.
If you get too many chefs in the kitchen, it can change the recipe, which is almost never the best solution.
And we’ve found that the Phase 3 is the tipping point.
After Phase 3, there are diminishing returns and you’re much better off polishing up your manuscript to prepare it for its first professional edit by a professional book -coach and editor.
Note: Early Readers are NOT responsible for a detailed combing of every single chapter and scene to catch story mistakes and help you build your world [that’s a developmental edit from your book coach], spotting awkward prose to fix [that’s the job of a professional line editor], or catching misspelled or missing words [that’s the copy editor’s job].)
We don’t recommend beta reading after copy-editing or proofreading because odds are too high that you’ll introduce errors and inconsistencies that will then never get addressed by an editor before the book is released.
The last thing you want are negative reviews pointing out a mistake due to this after all your hard work and financial investment!
And only after you address the issues pointed out by your all Early Readers will it be time to send your manuscript to a professional editor for their review.
The Differences Between an Evaluation and an Edit
Both provide a comprehensive overview of your manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as suggestions for how to move forward. Below is how they differ and when they are recommended to occur in your editing timeline.
Editing Phase 1:
Developmental Editing Included
One of our book coaches reads your manuscript and prepares a broad, comprehensive assessment. You receive specific advice on how to develop a stronger narrative, better pacing, and more engaging characters.
Looking At Big Picture Stuff
Your book coach will review your manuscript and give you an overall analysis of what is working and what could be shored up on a big-picture scale.
Your Phase 1 Edit
Because the manuscript evaluation is a big picture analysis of your manuscript, it should be done first (Phase 1) before getting into the nuts and bolts of a comprehensive line-edit (Phase 2).
If you’ve written more than just a few chapters of your book, our Manuscript Evaluation is designed to give you an idea of its strengths and weaknesses before you continue writing or start revising.
What This Means For Nonfiction
Nonfiction books will receive a “Flow & Content Edit”. In addition to evaluating the structure, the book coach reads and carefully edits the manuscript with an eye on the completeness, flow, and construction of ideas and stories, working paragraph by paragraph and chapter by chapter.
What This Means For Fiction
Your book coach will look at elements like narrative drive, tone and voice, structure, and consistency of theme.
Note: Your book coach will be looking at the big picture rather than grammatical or technical mistakes. This is NOT a line-edit or copy-edit or proofread.
Editing Phase 2:
One of our editors provides you with an in-depth, intense, thorough, and comprehensive edit that tackles a manuscript line by line. The editor cuts down on wordiness and tightens the language to create a more enjoyable read. This type of edit hunts down clumsy or awkward sentences that take away from the rhythm of your prose.
Looking At The Text Itself
Your editor looks at your entire book and gives you both a written analysis of its strengths and weaknesses on a line-level, and comments on specific elements in the text itself.
Your Phase 2 Edit
If you’ve revised your manuscript after having an evaluation (Phase 1), you might be ready to move forward with a manuscript edit.
What This Means For Nonfiction
In addition to reading the manuscript with an eye on the completeness, flow, and construction of ideas and stories, the editor will read each line and provide suggestions and edits on each line in the book.
What This Means For Fiction
Using a 15-point checklist, your editor will look at narrative drive, tone and voice, structure, and consistency of theme, as well as evaluate questions such as: Is Chapter 2 sagging? Are you effectively using flashbacks? And are you showing, rather than telling?
The Manuscript Edit comes with a phone call with your editor after you receive your feedback so you can ask questions and discuss the best path forward for your manuscript.
Note: Your editor will be looking at the big picture rather than grammatical or technical mistakes. This is NOT a copy-edit or proofread.
For all of our editing, we say that “we will hurt your feelings before we let you publish a bad book.” You will get a fair but honest assessment of your work and how it can improve so that you can have the best possible book.
Victoria Williams Author
Who You Might Work With
Literary agent turned editor of fiction & memoir where narratives and protagonists have distinct, identifiable voices.
Seasoned book editor with 20 years of experience at Penguin Random House committed to helping writers make their stories sing.
Former HarperCollins editor with 15 years of experience developing and editing award-winning books and NYT bestsellers.
Experienced, passionate, and versatile non-fiction/fiction editor. Clients include Al Gore, Garth Brooks, Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket).
Who should use Bobbin Manuscript Assessment?
- People who are serious about taking their work to a commercial level.
- People who want an honest assessment of their manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses
- People who want to fix big picture issues, reducing your edits down the line.
- People who are willing to invest the time and money necessary into quality
WHO SHOULD NOT
- People who aren’t open to criticism or being told that something is in need of further work. If you are not ready for professional criticism then it is not for you.
- People who want their book idea affirmed and seek blind praise
- People who don’t like writing or don’t have the time to sit down and write (see Bobbin Elite)
Frequently Asked Questions
To begin with, we thoroughly vet and test all our readers.
As part of the application process, we evaluate book reviews they’ve written on a blog, a retail site like Amazon, or a book site like Goodreads.
These reviews determine their acceptance into the tribe of Bobbin Early Readers.
They need to demonstrate their ability to make insightful observations and respectfully articulate why they did or did not enjoy a book; book summaries and generic statements of liking or disliking a book won’t meet these requirements.
These reviews should use complete sentences, be free of typos, and show proficiency in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
It’s easier to get into Harvard (6% acceptance rate) than it is to work with us as at Bobbin (<1% acceptance rate).
Additionally, to assign readers, we have an internal “ask system” that we use to pair up the right Reader and Author.
Here’s how it works:
You will fill out an Early Reader request. Then we create a “Project Scope” for your book, and let all 100+ readers see it.
They will read it, and the ones who are interested in reading your book ask to be assigned.
They answer two questions: 1. Why are you excited to read this book, and 2. What do you bring to the book that might help the author?
We review all the bids (books typically get between 10-20 bids), and then pick 9 we think will be the best match.
Our early readers are professional, paid readers.
They are true fans, are well-read in your genre and they embrace what makes reading that genre special.
Our readers genuinely want to help authors write the best books possible and are willing to read a manuscript that is greatly flawed.
But they come with no guarantees. They may or may not finish your book. They may or may not meet their deadline. They may or may not fill out our questionnaire, or fill it out completely.
Sounds like a great investment, doesn’t it?
Because knowing whether someone DOESN’T finish the book is just as valuable as knowing what they thought of it after they finished it.
These are readers who were drawn to your book by all the available information: Your title, your tagline, your book description, your bio.
They’re the ones who might pick it up off the shelf or buy it online or borrow it from the library.
Would it be horrible for you to get their reviews before the book is published?
That said, readers are not paid for any jobs they do not complete.
This is to encourage them to finish the book, meet your deadline, and fill out our customized reader questionnaire completely and thoughtfully.
We’ll stay in touch with your readers from start to finish and find out how their reading experience goes.
If they get stuck or don’t finish the book, we’ll find out why.
In any case, we’ll compile their anonymous answers and send them to you with our interpretation of your possible next steps.
At this time, we’re accepting books in the following genres:
- African American Fiction
- Children’s – Middle Grade
- Children’s – Picture Books
- Comics & Graphic Novels
- Crime & Mystery
- Cultural & Ethnic Themes
- Gaming & LitRPG
- Historical Fiction
- Humor & Comedy
- New Adult
- Paranormal Romance
- Plays & Screenplays
- Science Fiction
- Short Story
- Themes & Motifs
- Urban Fantasy
- Women’s Fiction
- Young Adult & Teen
- Antiques & Collectibles
- Biographies & Memoirs
- Business & Management
- Career Guides
- Childrens (Nonfiction)
- Christian (Nonfiction)
- Comics (Nonfiction)
- Computers & Internet
- Cooking & Food;
- Wine & Spirits
- DIY & Crafts
- Earth & Space &
- Environmental Sciences
- Education & Reference
- Materials Science
- Fashion & Textiles
- Finance & Accounting
- Health & Wellbeing
- Home & Garden
- LGBTQ (Nonfiction)
- Life Sciences
- Mathematics & Statistics
- Medicine & Nursing & Dentistry
- Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
- New Age
- Parenting & Families
- Physics & Chemistry
- Politics & Current Affairs
- Religion & Spirituality
- Self-help & Self-improvement
- Sex & Relationships
- Social & Behavioral
- Sports & Outdoor
- True Crime
Before we issue payment to the reader (and well before we send the feedback to the author), we review all reader feedback for short answers, vague feedback, and blind praise.
And we ask the reader to elaborate further or at least provide an explanation for why their response is incomplete.
We’re experts in examining this type of information for any helpful insight that we can pass on to our authors.
Our job is to help make sure your story is gripping and delivers a powerful emotional experience to your audience.
There’s nothing that quite tests a person’s patience like writing a book, then asking others to read that book, and then anxiously waiting for their feedback.
By the time your beta readers let you know that they’ve finished leaving notes, you’ll be raring to start putting their feedback to use. But it’s important to closely examine how implementing their advice or suggested changes will ripple through your manuscript.
Once you’ve received feedback from all your beta readers, we recommend that the first thing you should do is nothing. Again. You deserve to take another break. Plus, it’s helpful to get some space from your book so that can get fresh eyes once again.
Then it’s time to consider their comments carefully. Ignore any you really don’t agree with, but if two or more people say the same thing, be sure to seriously consider that comment or suggestion. Now go through and revise your story, based on the comments you felt were insightful and helpful.
Don’t take feedback personally.
I know it’s hard. Your words are a part of you, and you will inevitably be told that something you’re enormously proud of is a steaming, brown pile of terrible.
That’s hard to hear, but it’s not a statement on you as a person. It’s somebody who likes you doing their best to help you improve a craft that’s important to you.
At best, taking feedback personally prevents you from getting the benefit you need out of the beta reading process. As worst, like arguing, it can ruin a friendship or professional relationship.
Do compare beta reader feedback side by side.
Wait for all feedback from all of your beta readers to come in, then look at it side by side. You’ll find contradictory opinions, which can help you identify what to ignore. You’ll find places where they agree, which can help identify what needs changing even if you don’t want to change it.
Most important, you’ll find themes to the feedback. If you look for those themes actively, you’ll create another list of feedback the readers didn’t think to put down. Sometimes those themes are the most important factors to change or celebrate about your work.
Don’t let the feedback get you down.
Look at your beta readers like coaches. When your little league coach told you not to hold the bat like that, it might have hurt your feelings a little, but it also helped you get better at baseball. Even if you were holding the bat right and the coach didn’t know what he was doing, he made that comment because he cared about you, and the sport, and your development as a person and an athlete.
Always consider even the hardest-to-hear feedback in that light.
Don’t ignore majority opinion.
You’re going to disagree with some of the feedback that comes in. Sometimes you’ll be right. Other times, your disagreement will find a middle-ground solution where the wrong feedback points to what the real problem is.
That said, if you get the same feedback from multiple readers, pay close attention. Even if you don’t like it or agree with it. “Kill your darlings” is another writing truism, and for good reason. The harder you want to argue, the more likely it is they’re right.
As you receive your feedback, identify each note as part of one of five categories:
- To Do — places where the comment is clearly accurate and you wonder how you missed it. Make a list of these, and work through them one by one.
- Ignore — comments that are off-topic or clearly wrong. Do what the title implies: delete them and give them no further thought.
- Cherish — your feedback will also include points where the beta readers said “good job.” Save these in a file for review when you feel bad about your writing, and look for themes you can double-down on to make the rest of your work as good as those choice pieces.
- Projects — these are like your to-dos, only they require more work. “This dialogue line is awkward” is a to-do, but “Johnny’s dialogue sometimes rings false to his character” is a project. You also work through these one-by-one, but it often takes multiple steps to finish the job.
- Consider — some comments are neither clearly right nor clearly wrong. Tag these for consideration and discussion (NOT argument), then move them to their proper bucket once things are clearer.
Feel free to accept or reject what any reader tells you. If a number of people pointed out the same weakness—especially if they included both writers and non-writers—or if the comments resonated strongly, then the feedback should be taken seriously.
We give our beta readers 4 weeks to complete a manuscript and submit their comments.
It should be noted that Early Readers are not employed full-time with Bobbin. They’ve volunteered to participate in this program because they genuinely want to help you write the best book possible. And we respect their lives, commitments, personal obligations and schedules to allow them the autonomy and flexibility to fit our process into their lives as best they can.
That said, our goal is for you to get your feedback quickly. So, we allow authors the opportunity to ask for rush jobs at no extra cost.
- Expedited (3-week turnaround)
- Priority (2-week turnaround)
- Express – Next Week (1-week turnaround)
Please note: Early Readers accept rush jobs on a volunteer basis. To encourage readers to meet your deadline, we offer readers a significant increase in pay if they complete rush jobs on time.
But not all readers are motivated by money. Many derive more meaning from helping you write the best book possible.
Consider that asking for faster turnaround times puts a lot of pressure on the reader. And sometimes none of our readers may accept a rush job at all. In such a case they will deliver your feedback as soon they possibly can within the normal 4-week turnaround.
That said, we strongly discourage rush jobs because good feedback takes time. Our job is to make sure your story is gripping and delivers a powerful emotional experience to your audience. Your story’s quality is equally as important as getting your book written quickly!
The good news is you’re not paying any extra fees for faster delivery. So, if a reader does accept your rush job deadline, you’ll get feedback faster for the same price as the normal 4-6 week turnaround.
In any case, once we have received those comments, our team will compile your feedback form and send it to you within the next week. In total, expect the entire process to take 4-6 weeks.
That’s no problem! You can withdraw from the Early Reader program at any time.
Our early readers vary widely – they’re bookworms of all ages, from all locations, and with an interest in every type of genre.
This is an easy way to improve your book. Anyone who’s written knows how important it is to get lots of eyes on your text!
Yes. If you are already a member of Bobbin Connected, you may also apply to join the Bobbin Early Reader team!
Once accepted into the tribe of Bobbin readers, your Bobbin Connected membership does not change. You will continue to receive all the benefits that come with membership. You will also be given an additional role in Discord called Bobbin Early Reader.
YES. Our writers are professionals, bestsellers and award winners who love writing engaging, dramatic stories. But even they still have a developmental editor to show them issues with their work they’re too close to see. Plot holes, weak characters, flat moments; a developmental editor will make a good book, a great one.
The editor is the last person to receive the manuscript. When the author has completed writing his or her book, it is then sent to the editor, who polishes it and checks it for accuracy.
The editor proofreads the book, checking it for spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors, and also ensures consistency throughout the story, correcting any areas which conflict.
For instance, if the author stated that the main character had brown hair, but later changed that to blonde hair, the editor would catch that and correct it.
The editor also ensures proper word usage, verb tense, and consistent tone is used throughout. They look for areas which lack clarity, or are choppy or redundant. They are adept at making sure the book follows a consistent pace, flows well, and transitions between thoughts and ideas.
Some editors perform a minimal level of ghostwriting to meet these ends, and some provide suggestions to the author for alternate wording or layout of chapters; however, they are not expected to totally rewrite and/or rearrange the content of the book.
When the editor is finished, the book is ready to be formatted for print.
One of the most confusing parts of the editing process is simply understanding the different types of edits and which stage of the publishing process they should occur.
There are line-edits and copy-edits, proofreading and manuscript critiques, and that’s just the beginning. For the new author, the whole editing process can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure which one to choose for your manuscript.
To help you decide which stage of the editing process your manuscript requires, we’ve provided a standard timeline:
- Phase 1: Manuscript Critique (a.k.a. Developmental Edit, Editorial Assessment. We call it a Bobbin Manuscript Evaluation) An editor reads your manuscript and prepares a broad, comprehensive assessment. You receive specific advice on how to develop a stronger narrative, better pacing, and more engaging characters. Because the manuscript critique is a big picture analysis of your manuscript, it should be done first before getting into the nuts and bolts of a comprehensive edit.
- Phase 2: Line-Edit (a.k.a Comprehensive Edit. We call it a Bobbin Manuscript Edit) An In-depth, intense, thorough, and comprehensive edit tackles a manuscript line by line. The editor cuts down on wordiness and tightens the language to create a more enjoyable read. This type of edit hunts down clumsy or awkward sentences that take away from the rhythm of your prose.
- Phase 3: Copy-Edit The process of checking for mistakes, inconsistencies, and repetition. During this process, your manuscript is polished for publication. A copy-editor is usually the last person who touches the text of a manuscript before it goes into production – after the editor who bought your manuscript has taken you through revisions and given the final sign-off on your book’s content.
- Phase 4: Proofread Proofreading is the final stage of editing. It occurs after your book has been formatted for print or digital distribution—after you get it back from your formatter or book designer.
A Bobbin Manuscript Evaluation is considered a developmental edit. And it is Phase 1 of a standard editing timeline that your manuscript goes through.
Developmental editing is a form of writing support that comes into play before or during the production of a publishable manuscript, especially in the area of non-fiction writing.
It is a full read and review of your project. Which is an overall manuscript review, providing feedback on the structure of your book.
A developmental editor may guide an author in conceiving the topic, planning the overall structure, and developing an outline—and may coach authors in their writing, chapter by chapter. It’s common for developmental editors to add or eliminate characters in a fiction story, ideas or concepts in a nonfiction story, and to assist the author with the story line.
A developmental editor might suggest moving entire chapters or presenting them from a different perspective. They are fundamental in the overall development of the book, but while some do contribute some level of ghostwriting to enhance the flow of the material, they are not usually responsible for the actual writing of the manuscript.
Authors retain control over the document and are responsible for providing the content. An editor who creates content is no longer an editor but a ghostwriter.
With Bobbin, your editor will deliver your edit in the form of a letter, which includes an in-depth analysis of how well each story element is working as well as a chapter-by-chapter breakdown.
It does not include a proofread (sentence-by-sentence line-edit for punctuation, spelling, grammar) or a copy-edit (style).
Your editor will read through your manuscript twice. The first one is to read it as a reader, and pick up what they can and enjoy what they can. The second time, they’ll read it as an editor.
The purpose of the first read-through is to find out what you are trying to accomplish.
What are you trying to get your reader to feel here? What is your purpose? Are you saying it clearly?
And for the most part, by the time your editor gets to the end of the manuscript, she can tell what you’re trying to get to. If she can’t, then she’ll get to have a conversation with you and help pinpoint what you wanted to do, what’s still stuck inside you head. Then your editor helps get you there.
The Manuscript Assessment includes advice on:
The chapter-by-chapter breakdown assesses the quality of each chapter independently. Each chapter typically receives 1-3 paragraphs of feedback.
And it will have two columns. One column will be “reader” feedback.
What did your editor get from the page?
Just so that you can see that, because it is helpful. The other column will be “editor” feedback.
Each chapter is assessed for things such as:
- Plot Holes
- Scene Structure
- A Lack of Conflict
- Pacing Issues
- Whether it is Essential to the Plot
- Whether the Characters Behave Believably
- Whether It’s Entertaining
- Areas of Confusion (especially in Sci-Fi and Fantasy)
The chapter-by-chapter outline helps point out things like: more description here, the dialogue’s happening in a void, create more here.
In the report, your editor also talks about writing elements that you might be weak on. But instead of repeating the same advice you’ve heard before (show, don’t tell), your editor will make it specific to you and your writing style. Like, “I can see that you’re trying to show and not tell here, but let’s try doing it this way so it’s more effective for you.”
Having that personal one-on-one advice, we’ve seen really great growth in the writers that we work with.
Feedback from a Manuscript Evaluation can lead to significant changes to your manuscript. The assessment will identify your book’s strengths and weaknesses, and help you devise a revision strategy that dramatically improves the execution of your idea.
A Manuscript Evaluation can be useful at several stages in the writing process. Some writers may seek this deep-level feedback once the first draft is completed. Others might solicit an assessment after the manuscript has been through several rounds of beta reading or even professional editing; an assessment provides the kind of careful reading that leads to better theming, nuance, characterization and structure. A manuscript assessment can even be valuable if you have already self-published a book.
WARNING: A Manuscript Evaluation is for writers who are serious about taking their work to a commercial level. If you are not ready for professional criticism then it is not for you.
A Bobbin Manuscript Edit is considered an industry standard line-edit. And it is Phase 2 of a standard editing timeline that your manuscript goes through.
A line-edit addresses the creative content, writing style, and language use at the sentence and paragraph level. But the purpose of a line edit is not to comb your manuscript for errors – rather, a line-edit focuses on the way you use language to communicate your story to the reader. Is your language clear, fluid, and pleasurable to read? Does it convey a sense of atmosphere, emotion, and tone? Do the words you’ve chosen convey a precise meaning, or are you using broad generalizations and clichés?
A line-edit may draw your attention to:
- Words or sentences that are extraneous or overused
- Run-on sentences
- Redundancies from repeating the same information in different ways
- Dialogue or paragraphs that can be tightened
- Scenes where the action is confusing or the author’s meaning is unclear due to bad transitions
- Tonal shifts and unnatural phrasing
- Passages that don’t read well due to bland language use
- Confusing narrative digressions
- Changes that can be made to improve the pacing of a passage
- Words or phrases that may clarify or enhance your meaning.
- The purpose of working with a general editor in this way is not just to improve your current manuscript, but to give you the creative tools to become a better writer in ways you can carry with you to future projects.
WARNING: A Manuscript Edit is for writers who are serious about taking their work to a commercial level. If you are not ready for professional criticism then it is not for you.
You deserve for us to be totally upfront with you. Yes, Bobbin’s editorial services are not price competitive.
And you want to know if you’re getting your money’s worth. You want to feel secure in your decision-making process.
Is Bobbin actually worth our asking price or can you get a better return on your investment somewhere else?
The short answer is: you get to make up your own mind.
We’re not going to try to pitch you a load of bullshit about how great we are.
We understand that this is a BIG DEAL for you! Fees suck.
And we spent a lot of time thinking through pricing. It needed to be enough of a premium that authors would be motivated to really make use of the service and act in a way that’s beneficial to their publishing journey, but not too much money that it became cost prohibitive to the people who would benefit from it the most.
Truth is, some writers opt-in to get their book affirmed. They aren’t open to criticism or being told that something is in need of further work, or they don’t agree to the specificity of that need within our feedback.
Our goal at Bobbin is to give your story the strongest legs possible to run a competitive race in the commercial marketplace.
And we’ve found that many freelance editors charge such small fees because it’s critical that they work with “any” author that comes along as opposed to the author who’s the best match for their skillset, preferences and motivations.
This is due to the fact that they generally have trouble finding clients and need to edit any book they can get their hands on in order to sustain they careers.
Turning down work could mean not being able to pay their bills.
It’s like if a restaurant were to charge customers per bite of food. Not only would that be super weird, most patrons would only eat until they were merely satisfied, and wouldn’t finish everything on their plate so that they can save as much money as possible.
It would make for a much slimmer culture. Plus, it would cause the restaurant to lose money. The restaurant would be forced to start using cheap ingredients which would lower the quality of the food they serve to you.
A race to the bottom where no one wins.
And when it comes to publishing, it’s the authors who suffer because they end up with poorly edited manuscripts.
And the readers ultimately lose because they end up with unreadable, crappy books.
Ok, wait. Can you get quality editing at an affordable price? Of course you can. No doubt about it. That exists. Somewhere.
We’re not trying to convince you otherwise. Most freelance editors do incredible work because they truly want to help you write the best book possible. Plus, their reputations are on the line.
Bobbin is highly empathetic to the challenging circumstances that all freelancers face, which is why we would never hold that against them. We support them. Many have joined our tribe to escape that harsh reality. For them, our business model is a dream come true.
With Bobbin they have an unlimited number of really great authors and interesting books to pick from. They get to choose to work only on the projects that excite and inspire them and they only have to focus on editing—giving our authors the support and resources of an entire company to help you create the best possible book. Which makes for happier published authors, high-quality published books, and delighted readers!
Imagine a high-level and experienced editor, building an intimate relationship with you and your book to help you write something important and incredibly valuable to readers.
Here’s the deal:
Freelance editors want to be able to choose only to work with the authors who are the best fit, and only on projects that excite and inspire them.
But in doing so, they would need to charge higher fees. Not because they’re greedy or money hungry. But because the “right” author doesn’t come around often enough to keep them afloat. Therefore, they can’t raise their fees for fear that they might lose out on a paycheck.
Financially, this works out to authors benefit. And it makes total sense that you would want to save as much of your money as possible as well. We don’t hold that against authors either. We empathize with all sides.
It’s a challenging predicament all around. And Bobbin is here to solve it. For everyone.
But at least in terms of editing quality, you’re taking a huge gamble with your book when you take the cheaper route. You get what you pay for. But who knows? We’re not Nostradamus.
But we are in a completely different space from freelancers. Our approach to our editing services is original because we’re not a normal assisted self-publishing service:
- First of all, we’re not shy about the fact that we won’t work with everyone.
Although, we believe everyone can and probably should write a book. Not everyone should use our service, specifically.
The reason why there are no “Buy Now!” buttons on our website, no PayPal, no credit card logos pressuring you to give all your money to us is because we’re determined to work with the authors whom we can help the most and for whom we can provide the utmost value. Our goal is to help authors by giving great content, direction, and strategies.
We’ve deliberately positioned ourselves to be highly selective and we typically reject about 20-30% of authors who want to work with us based on our review of their Author Q&A.
We won’t work with you unless we believe in your idea. We would never just take your money. We use the Author Q&A to make sure we’re a good fit, and we’ll never take your money unless we think you have a good book in you that will provide value to the reader.
- Unlike every other editing services out there, Bobbin doesn’t charge per word, per page or per hour. Per anything.
Bobbin services are customary value pricing. We have a good idea of the editing process and fixed pricing is standard operating procedure for piecework and one-off projects in every other industry.
For instance, you might buy a cup of black coffee with creamer and whipped cream for $3. But, imagine instead paying the barista $0.20 per every minute it takes for them to serve you the coffee. And then on top of that add-on another $0.20 per every ounce of coffee in the cup. Can imagine having to calculate all that before you order, not knowing for sure what the final price will be every time you walk into your favorite coffee shop?
At best, it would be kinda weird right? At worst, it would a frustrating walk down the path of ridiculousness.
The reason our society has adopted our current purchasing system is because it simply makes much more sense to pay for the value of the coffee itself.
It’s easier. Its faster. It’s more efficient. For everyone.
Now, you’re probably going to say it’s a bit of a false equivalency. Coffee and manuscripts are two entirely different beasts. True.
But here’s the real deal, what no one will tell you: freelance editors will say that they charge by word or page but, behind the scenes, they’re really just charging per hour because scope of work isn’t easily estimated, even for them.
And editors are astutely aware that clients hate extra fees so they do their best to include those extra fees into your initial quote.
Not all manuscripts are created equal. That’s why editors request a sample of your writing before they start so that they can gauge how much of their time it’s going to take them to help you whip your manuscript into shape. Their calculations are then presented to you in a quote or project proposal.
Let’s say an editor receives two manuscript submission that have the exact same word count. One might be super polished and requires very little editing while the other is in terrible condition and requires the editor to work super hard.
The editor will account for those varied conditions and the two authors will get two entirely different quotes.
This process doesn’t make them liars. It makes them practical. It’s a noble and honest attempt for them to turn a messy system into something more palatable.
And we’ve found that authors are happiest with fixed prices because they know exactly how much it’s going to cost them. It helps with your budgeting and planning payments.
It’s easier for us too. Because it’s less clerical work and minimizes scope creep which puts more focus on efficiency, allowing us to devote more energy into helping your write the best possible book.
Our fee is based on the incredible value we deliver to our authors. And what you get is our full service and complete package regardless of how many words you write, how many pages we edit for you, or how many hours we spend working on your manuscript.
This saves you thousands of dollars because you get all of Bobbin’s extra special sauce (selection of your editor, coaching chats, email exchanges, support, guidance, etc.) without having to pay additional fees for any of the bonus hours you get.
Plus, you’ll always know the amount you’re paying, which saves you time from having to figure out future hourly fees added on to your package or calculating the amount of your manuscript’s words and pages against some arbitrary price. It also protects you from getting hit with any hidden and unexpected fees.
Here’s one real world example: Our standard turnaround time for a line-edit of a 400 page (100k words) manuscript is 5-6 weeks. But that’s just a deadline to ensure you get your feedback as quickly as possible. But in many cases, our professional editors will deliver much faster. Sometimes within 2-3 weeks. This saves you hundreds of dollars because we don’t charge you any rush delivery fees like other services. Plus, there are no minimum or maximum page limits for you to figure out how it factors in to your budget.
Our goal is to make every aspect of the publishing process simple and easy for you and we’ve found that a flat fee helps to do that.
- Our authors love that we’re not just a marketplace where you have to do everything yourself.
You don’t have to do it all yourself! And you shouldn’t.
Self-publishing does not mean doing it all yourself. It means becoming your own publisher, and one of the roles of the publisher is to hire the editor, and the art director, and the artist, and all of those other people.
Find the experts who know what they are doing.
We believe strongly that writers need to think of themselves as small business owners.
That means doing something of a paradigm shift in your brain of realizing that you are not an expert in everything.
Thus, you need to find the expert.
But unlike other services, Bobbin goes the extra mile and does the busy work of finding and hiring the experts for you. And we work damn hard in vetting the best editors in the industry to help make sure you write the best book possible.
It is the business model of self-publishing, with the support of traditional publishing.
We always have a plan for your next steps so that you’re not lost in the weeds with where to go after you’ve completed one stage of the publishing process. You’ll be empowered to continue your publishing journey with a clear direction and a firm grasp on what your book has to offer the world.
That’s what you’re paying for.
The books we have done and the authors we have worked with are of the highest caliber, so clearly our service can be very professional. You’re hiring us for that exact reason—to ensure that your book is as professional as any on the market.
Does a higher price guarantee better quality? Not necessarily. Anyone who’s ever purchased a shoddy computer printer can attest to that.
But it’s your best shot. You’ve spent countless hours, weeks or months brainstorming, world-building, and drafting your manuscript. You’ve worked for months—or years—on your book, writing and revising without any help from others.
Is it a bad idea to put an equal amount of devotion into getting the best professional editing available to ensure that your book has the reach and impact it deserves. Does it make sense not too?
And let’s be real. We brag about how our editors have worked on #1 New York Times bestsellers and how many of them are award winners because it’s a fact. We display many of the books we’ve worked on because we’re proud of our contributions to the world.
Not because it guarantees anything.
Bobbin can’t be that good, you might say.
And you’d be correct. No publishing experience is perfect all of the time.
Positive reviews, 5-star ratings, testimonials, case studies, can all be helpful gauges when you’re buying stuff. But they also have very little correlation to any outcome.
Because past success isn’t a prediction of any future result. It’s merely a good start.
So, here’s the ultimate point:
We know it’s hard to trust the book process to someone else—even experienced professionals. It feels risky. It’s your reputation on the line, after all.
We take that very seriously, which is why we make the following promises:
- We’ll hurt your feelings before we let you publish a bad book. We’ll always give you our honest opinion about your work and help you understand how to make it better.
- Your book will be professional. We take your book as seriously as you do, because our name is on it, just like yours. We will make sure all aspects of your book uphold the highest professional standards.
- Your book will be entirely your ideas, words, and voice. We do not do ghostwriting. Our process is designed to get the best, most authentic book possible out of you.
We love to read, we love to write, and we are waiting to help you make your dream of becoming an author a reality.
Whether or not you bring us onboard your publishing journey is totally up to you.
We just wish you, your book and your publishing journey the very best!
To help you plan out your budget, please follow the submission guidelines:
It's time to finish your manuscript. We can help.
If you’re serious about finishing your manuscript this year, let’s talk. We’ll give you an honest assessment of your manuscript’s strengths to fix big picture issues, reducing your edits down the line.
What authors like you are saying
I've worked with a couple of editing sites in the past to help me with my book, but most of them just deleted one or two lines or their advice was too vague. With Bobbin’s editing, there was always a reason behind an edit and, let's just say, it was A LOT better than simply deleting two sentences.
The simple truth is that working with Bobbin not only took my story to an entirely other level, it made me a much better writer. As a result, I am seeing trouble areas in structure more clearly and feeling confident about the range of fixes.
I have to say that I was originally skeptical about what I would gain from having Bobbin review my book as I thought it was already quite polished. But Wow, was I surprised! My editor’s feedback was so constructive and incredibly detailed.
Still have questions?
Feeling nervous and unsure?
We get that! It probably feels risky. It’s your reputation on the line, after all. We take that very seriously. We totally understand that this can be super overwhelming and we’re happy to talk you through it.
Big investments are always scary, but we do everything we can to ensure you know the program inside and out before you invest in it. Here’s how enrollment works:
Other Bobbin Services
A community designed for publishing professionals.
Get your book idea assessed by a New York Times bestselling editor.
You write the book with our editorial input, accountability, and emotional support.
Our flagship service. We do the writing, editing and publishing.
Your book gets a high-level marketing & promotions strategy.
To further help you choose the best fit for your needs, we’ve provided a side by side comparison of all Bobbin services
Our dedicated tribe of writers, editors and publishing insiders provide exactly what you need to succeed in your writing life – no matter where you are in the journey.
And there are so many choices it can get overwhelming. The challenge can be trying to figure out which program is the best fit for your needs.
We do everything we can to ensure you are 100% informed about all our programs before you invest in it.
We understand investing in yourself and turning your ideas into a book is a BIG commitment. But an important step, and we PROMISE YOU that you’ll be so glad you made it.
This is a 10x improvement over any other option that existed to get an idea out of your head and into a book.
The only thing left to do now is start. And it’s not about whether you have a great idea for a book. It’s are you finally going to do it?
Click the button below to see a side by side comparison of all Bobbin services.