I've just sent one of my novels off to the Iowa Book Doctors, for a F*R*E*E review. A few friends have done this and gotten back stellar 10-15 page responses (ignore that note that says 2-3 below) on what's right and what's wrong with their book, so I'm giving it a go. Of course, they offer other services that start at about $800, but at least this gets you a read by qualified writers/editors, without breaking the bank. If you can sign up for more, good for you! Do it.
Here's the info, in the form of their email response to my initial inquiry. YOU MUST INQUIRE FIRST. DO NOT JUST SEND OFF YOUR BOOK. You have to email them and ask if they have openings in their next reading period, and then receive the thumbs up to send in your book.
The best way to begin would be to send your book in, along with a cover letter stating the nature of your concerns. What kind of book have you written? Have you been trying to get it published, or is it that you do have a publisher, but you're not getting good feedback from the editor? You get the idea... let us know what's going on and why you sent it to us. If we can help, we'll let you what we propose to do and what the costs for that would be. If we see the possibility of eventual publication, we'll discuss what needs to be done to get your book to that level. If your book is unsalvageable, and you need to get back to work on craft, we'll discuss that as well.
We ask authors to send in their work for an initial evaluation. A few editors would read the manuscript and return a 2-3 page evaluation within two weeks that details the strengths and weaknesses of the work, what editing is necessary, what editing approach we would take, and what the costs for that would be. The initial evaluation is a free service that we use to screen authors and which enables authors to get a sense of our editing approach before they commit to a contract. If you felt encouraged by the initial evaluation to proceed with editing we would then send a contract. Most editing is completed within six weeks.
We don't quote prices for editing up front because the cost of editing depends on the nature of the book, the complexity of the prose, the depth of structural and narrative problems, etc. There is no way to know how those issues measure out for a book until we've actually read it. A doctor wouldn't quote a cost for treatment until they knew what was wrong with the patient. We operate the same way.
For the initial evaluation we ask that authors mail their manuscripts to our p.o. box. Standard formatting is preferred, and we ask that pages be numbered, double spaced, printed single sided, and unbound. If you would like to have an initial evaluation performed for your work, let us know and we can slot you in to the reading schedule.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to email or call.
The Iowa Book Doctors
P.O. Box 2898
Iowa City, IA 52244-2898
319 400 6857
319 354 6857