“Will you review my manuscript and tell me whether it’s publishable?”
This is a common request I get from prospective clients.
My short answer is: Every manuscript, no matter how good it is, needs a critique (also known as “constructive feedback”) to become publishable.
In response to the critique, the author then does rewrites. Fewer rewrites if the manuscript is close; more rewrites if the writing needs more help. The final step, when you’ve done your last rewrite and addressed all the bigger-picture stuff, is to have your manuscript copyedited (also called “line editing”).
In light of that, it may not make sense to pay for a review to see if your manuscript is publishable, because unless you’ve already received a critique, done your rewrites, and had the manuscript edited, the answer is: it’s not publishable (yet).
It’s more cost-effective for you to go straight into having a critique, since you will need one anyway. In a critique, I give you feedback on the bigger picture—the developmental issues (e.g., plot, character development, themes, dialogue, description, etc.). I make comments directly in the manuscript, at the spots where something catches my attention. I also do a write-up summarizing the salient points.
What you end up with is a custom-made “user’s manual” for rewriting your book. A step-by-step guide created just for you.
So, start with a critique. It’s not as scary as it sounds!