Second, the selection process was inherently subjective, much like submitting a manuscript to a publisher, but we made our selection based on several guiding principles.
- The author is able to succinctly describe what his or her book is about. To us, this means that the author has a clear understanding of what readers will find in the book. The content is also unique, meaning it is differentiated from the myriad books readers find when book shopping.
- The author has a clear understanding of the book’s appeal, in terms of the topic and content. This helps separate authors who focus on the content and book’s value to the reader and not on their feelings about it.
- The author has identified a specific target audience. This gives the author the ability to consider the readers’ needs and interests while writing and the ability to promote the book effectively.
I have to throw in one more selection criteria, though it played the least role in the selection process. While reading the entries, I asked how interesting the topic is to me. Why did we use personal interest in the topic as a part of the selection process? The answer is simple, really. We are providing this service for free.
Each of the entries seems interesting, though for differing reasons. However, I asked which one of these I would be most likely to buy, if I could only buy one, with no other information than what is provided here. I would read all of these, but we could only choose one. (Interestingly, we received more sci-fi/fantasy entries than I expected. Of the seven entries, three fit into this genre.)
Personal interest, though, really wasn’t a major factor in the decision process. We have worked on, edited, and reviewed a wide variety of books, both fiction and nonfiction. In every case, we take on the author’s goals and interests as our own. After all, our job is to help the author be successful! With that mindset, every book is interesting because we have a vested, professional, and personal interest in its success. It’s also this mindset that enables us to help the author publish a great book. We are on the author’s side.
So whom did we select to receive the free manuscript analysis and review?
Our selection for the free manuscript review and analysis is . . .
Special Sauce: Secret Leadership Ingredients Revealed! by Raymund Mitchell
Here’s what I liked: The author focuses on added value to the reader. Fiction authors and nonfiction authors, alike, can do this. The author asks, “How will this book benefit the reader?” and then writes a book to provide that value. Whether the answer is “Entertainment and escape,” “a new way of looking at family relationships,” or “strategies for dealing with difficult coworkers,” the reader needs to get some value from the book.
The second thing I liked is that Mitchell has fairly clearly defined whom this book is for. It is a specific, narrow population. He knows what kind of book he has, and he knows who will read it—and why. This is part of the work an author does before (and during) the writing process.
Already, just after reading the synopsis, we have some ideas for improvement, but all in all, we’re looking forward to reading this.
Here’s what happens next.
The author sends us his manuscript. We will read it carefully and prepare a detailed analysis of the books strengths and weaknesses. Finally, we will generate a list of recommendations for improving the manuscript. This will take about a week once we have the manuscript. Basically, we’ll do all the things listed in the contest announcement.
But I didn’t win!
Each entry looked interesting and we would be pleased to assist any of these authors. The author of any non-winning entry may engage us for manuscript review and analysis at a 20% discount. Send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call our office number (888-474-4393) if you wish to discuss this. We have a menu of other services, as well, from basic proofreading through complete manuscript revision.
Will there be another chance?
Yes. We will do this again, though probably not for a few months. Keep your eyes on the Precise Edit blog. We will announce the next contest there.
The hardcopy (13.95), PDF (9.95), and Kindle (9.95) versions of 300 Days of Better Writing are available for purchase at HostileEditing.com.
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