Share/Bookmark

Do You Really Need Peer Reviews of Your Book Manuscript?

By Barbara G. McNichol

You’ve noodled through your book concept, created an outline to make your ideas flow, and filled in your outline with detail. You’ve accomplished a lot. Pat yourself on the back and dance the snoopy dance! But don’t rest on your laurels just yet. You won’t be ready to launch your project until you’ve allowed others with a more objective eye to give you the thumbs up.

Put your magnum opus aside for a few days and rest. Then give the manuscript one more critical look. Are you sure you’ve said everything you want to say? Once you’re satisfied, you’re ready for the next crucial step to making your manuscript the best it can be-a peer review.

A Necessary “Evil”?

A peer review involves sending your manuscript to fellow writers, other experts in your field or genre, and readers in your target audience for their feedback. As those who’ve been through the process know, a peer review can be frustrating and nerve-wracking. The reviewers’ role is to help you “see” what you’ve written, and you may get feedback you don’t want to hear. But you also garner valuable information to make your book better.

Reviewers point out what’s working in the text or storyline and what isn’t. They may nitpick on the wrong things and take you on tangents, offering suggestions that don’t advance your ideas. Still, feedback from reviewers is essential because they bring a variety of perspectives to the book-as your buyers will. Be prepared for ideas that could be so far off you wish you could take back your manuscript and say “never mind.” But also be ready for dynamic and brilliant suggestions.

Keep Reviewers on Track

To ensure reviewers’ comments are valuable as opposed to distracting, guide the process the best you can. How? Consider these suggestions:

• Be specific about what you want peer reviewers to look for.

• Ask them if the content seems complete or if you’ve overlooked something important.

• Also ask them to forgive typos, punctuation glitches, and the like, as those issues are addressed in the editing process. You want them to focus on content.

Be Grateful for Valuable Feedback

Resist the temptation to skip the peer review. Reviewers’ questions often reveal muddy spots that need to be cleared up. Thank them! It’s easy to get your nose too pressed to the computer screen to see the overall picture. Peers may notice places where you need to expand on your message or where you haven’t used words correctly. These problems you can fix with a little more thought and a good word or language reference. But don’t rely on reviewers for nitty gritty editorial glitches, or you could receive a confusing patchwork of opinions. Best to let your editor ensure consistency and precision when it comes to details. You can’t expect that from peer reviewers.

When you instigate this review process, you’ll find that people appreciate being asked. What’s more, you’ll have ambassadors out there when your book finally launches.

About the Author: Barbara McNichol helps nonfiction authors through expert editing and her searchable e-guide, Word Trippers: The Ultimate Source for Choosing the Perfect Word When It Really Matters, available at http://www.BarbaraMcNichol.com.

Source: www.isnare.com

Permanent Link: http://www.isnare.com/?aid=368398&ca=Writing


Tagged with:

Filed under: Uncategorized

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!