Evaluating Nonfiction

Nonfiction comprises many categories and is fundamentally different from fiction. Obviously, fictitious stories are made up. Writers don’t have to stick to any facts or formulas, although it’s nice to keep novels within the realm of possibility. Fiction stories need to be plausible, but nonfiction books need to be accurate.

At Book Magic, first, we examine nonfiction manuscripts for structure. We want to make sure that the Table of Contents is organized and that the topics that you have chosen to discuss chapter by chapter appear to be in the right order. Does everything make sense sequentially? Does it flow?

We also ensure that you do not have repetition so that a topic that you’ve covered in chapter 3 does not pop up again in an almost identical fashion in chapter 13. We ask ourselves if you are using the right language and tone for your audience, and we look for any inconsistencies in your message or parts of the manuscript that may make perfect sense to you but might be confusing to the reader. We check hyperlinks to make sure that you have not cited a broken or out of date website, and we review your reference section.

Our editors look for wordiness; perhaps you have used three paragraphs to express something that you could have said in ten words. Or maybe you went off on a tangent and put something in chapter 7 that belonged in chapter 4. Perhaps your nonfiction manuscript started out well and captured the reader’s attention, but halfway through the book, our editors were yawning. We bring these issues to your attention and, better yet, we provide solutions.

Manuscript evaluations for nonfiction contain many comments in the margins where our editors have posed questions or made suggestions for change. This way, you are in control. You decide which of our recommendations to implement and which to dismiss. Ultimately, having a manuscript evaluation before copyediting increases your chances of having a professional and polished product for publication. 1.5 cents per word