Manuscript Annotation

Detailed critique and guidance via editorial memorandum and margin comments in manuscript text

Manuscript annotation is a hybrid service consisting of overview notes addressing big-picture analysis (similar to our manuscript evaluation) and copious “close notes” inserted directly as comments in the manuscript. The editor who reads your manuscript will not only address strengths and weaknesses and offer suggestions in the overview memo, but also will provide comments in more specific detail throughout the manuscript.

Manuscript annotation includes an overview memo that summarizes how the story or narrative is working as a whole, with attention to plot, pacing, characterization, dialogue, and writing style (for fiction); and organization, structure, effectiveness, and clarity (for nonfiction). In addition, this service includes running commentary throughout your manuscript, providing suggestions and ideas and flagging specific matters in need of attention or further consideration. The result can be thought of as a very comprehensive and detailed roadmap through the revision process, with focus on big-picture matters affecting the book as a whole, as well as highly specific matters of execution.

This service is most appropriate for later drafts of manuscripts or works that are already reasonably sound in structure. If you’re unsure an annotation is right for you, we’d be happy to advise.

Jonathan Balcombe
Favorite genres include science, nature, history, memoir, social sciences, travel, and narrative nonfiction
Renni Browne
Favorite genres include memoir, southern fiction, mystery/suspense, and character driven literary or mainstream fiction
Marcia Ford
Favorite genres include memoir, multi cultural fiction, literary fiction, thrillers, and thoughtful works on religion and spirituality
Karinya Funsett-Topping
Favorite genres include literary fiction, romance, short stories, essays, and stories involving animals or magic realism
Peter Gelfan
Favorite genres include memoir, literary fiction, mainstream fiction, humor and satire, thrillers, science, and philosophy
Lindsay Guzzardo
Favorite genres include contemporary women's fiction, romance, literary fiction, mainstream fiction, and historical fiction
John Robert Marlow
Favorite genres include thrillers, mystery/suspense, action/adventure, middle grade and YA fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and true crime
Julie Miller
Favorite genres include memoir, literary fiction, thrillers, and books involving ecology, nature, animals, and the environment
Brian Preston
Favorite genres include humor and satire, memoir, travel, and historical fiction and nonfiction
Shannon Roberts
Favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, middle grade and YA fiction, mystery/suspense, LGBTQ, and social science
Diane Stockwell

Favorite genres include memoir, history, politics, science, true crime, women's fiction, mainstream fiction, and historical fiction

Pricing for manuscripts over 50,000 words is $0.014 per word. Pricing for shorter manuscripts is as follows:

37,501 – 50,000 words: $625
25,001 – 37,500 words: $510
12,501 – 25,000 words: $390
6,251 – 12,500 words: $275
Less than 6,250 words: $160

Turnaround time for manuscript evaluations is typically 4-5 weeks.

Click here to see a manuscript annotation sample.

To request a quote, make a submission, or request more information

Please visit our online welcome center, email us at, or call us at (520) 546-9992.

What happens next?

All inquiries to The Editorial Department will be personally fielded by author services director Ross Browne, who will do the following:

  • confirm receipt of your materials
  • gather any further information needed
  • do a no-cost/no-obligation preliminary review, to get a feel for which editor(s) and service(s) best fit your project’s needs
  • provide a written quote with price and turnaround time for any recommended services
  • answer any questions about recommended options or possible alternatives
  • schedule your project with the assigned editor, if you decide to move forward
  • explain and finalize the appropriate billing arrangements
  • provide a firm delivery date and keep you updated on our progress, as appropriate
  • deliver your feedback or editing to you once it’s ready
  • arrange for follow up with your editor by phone or email, once you have reviewed your feedback and/or editing
  • advise on next steps, and schedule reviews of new drafts if requested

Privacy & Confidentiality

We have utmost respect for our clients’ privacy concerns and will never sell, share, or disseminate your contact information. We will treat all materials supplied to us as confidential.

Formal nondisclosure agreements are not required but are available on request. More info is available here.

“In publishing, a novel by an unknown writer is a difficult thing to sell. The only thing more difficult is a novel by a writer who had some slight success and then, through failure to produce, has become a has-been.”

Elizabeth Nowell, Literary Agent