Editorial Letter

“Independent Book Review provided me an editorial letter for one of my novellas, and the recommendations surpassed my expectations. It put the reader first–something we on the writing and editing end often lose sight of–and was both detailed and practical with a summarizing list of improvements. I will definitely come back for my next books! I highly recommend this service.” – Mira Kanehl


What is an editorial letter?

You’ve just finished your book! Do yourself a little dance. Have yourself a little party. You deserve to celebrate.

For traditional authors, you will soon be hitting a point where you feel ready to submit your book to a literary agent or publishing house. It’s an exciting time. Then, months later, you could receive any number of responses, including an acceptance (woo!), a form rejection, or even no response at all. If you’ve been rejected, how are you supposed to know why they didn’t like your book?  

As self-published authors, you might feel ready to hit the publish button and wait for the reviews and sales to start coming in. But did you get professional big-picture feedback yet? Did you know there was another option other than developmental editing?

Sometimes called a manuscript evaluation, an editorial letter addresses big-picture issues with an author’s full book like primary narratives, pacing, characterization, and other broad storytelling elements. An editorial letter says that while your book might not be ready for publication yet, it can be ready soon–and here’s how to do it.

For authors who can’t afford a developmental edit, this editorial letter service is a great, inexpensive way to get professional feedback on your manuscript. Categories include “What the editor enjoyed about your manuscript,” “What the primary issues of the manuscript are,” and “Specific recommendations for revision.” While each letter is different, you can expect your letter to be anywhere from 1,000 to 1,5000 words.  

When should you purchase an editorial letter?

You should have written at least one complete draft of your manuscript before purchasing an editorial letter. But if you want to get the most out of this service, please consider completing a few rounds of self-editing before you purchase. If you don’t, the editor who will evaluate your manuscript will likely address issues with your book that you already plan on fixing. So fix them first, then send it over.

Keep in mind that you can submit for multiple rounds of editorial letters. We’d be happy to help you from beginning to end, and we’ll even throw in a discount for returning customers. Just let us know your plans in the contact box, and we’ll get you started.

Who will be completing your editorial letter?

Joe Walters is the editor-in-chief of Independent Book Review, and he will provide your editorial letter. In addition to his promoting and editorial work at IBR, he has experience as a staff member for the now-defunct Indianola Review, as the marketing director at a small press in Oregon, and currently as the blurb and book review specialist at Paper Raven Books. He approaches each new editorial letter from a reader’s perspective first and then provides tested solutions to big-picture issues thanks to his experience in reviewing, publishing, and writing. Get to know his developmental editing perspective through his article, “31 Specific Strategies for Improving Your Novel.”

Rates & Turnaround Time

Joe Walters completes his editorial letters at $.002 per word. In order to discover exactly what price your editorial letter will be, multiply your book’s word count by .002. Here is a small list of the roundabout prices:

  • 35,000 words = $70
  • 50,000 words = $100
  • 65,000 words = $135
  • 80,000 words = $160
  • 100,000 words+ = $199

At this time, Joe is able to complete his editorial letters in 4 weeks. If you need it before that time, no problem. We can work together on expedited prices to reach your goal. Just let us know in the contact box below.

How to get started

  1. Finish drafting your book. (You got this!)
  2. Revise your book. Make your characters stronger. Develop your secondary narratives. Improve your book in every way that you can (and consider some beta readers too).
  3. Fill out the form below including your genre, word count, and any specific questions you may have.
  4. Your editor will reply with a contract and the payment button to begin your 4-week turnaround period.

Whether you’re asking a question or requesting an editorial letter, we’re looking forward to hearing from you!


Interested in our other editorial services? Check these options out below.