You’ve finished writing your nonfiction book, but what next? The answer is to get feedback on your manuscript. You can, of course, get feedback from friends and family or beta readers, but if you want objective, honest, and expert feedback, it’s best to get a critique (also known as “editorial assessment”) from a book editor. 

A critique is ideal for you as an author if you: 

  • Need an objective and educated opinion on your manuscript before self-publishing
  • Are considering seeking a publisher and want honest feedback on whether your manuscript is good enough (and how to make it good enough)
  • Aren’t sure which type of editing you need, if any
  • Want to learn to edit your own book so you don’t need an editor in future (yes, we’re trying to do ourselves out of a job!)
  • Want to be empowered to make the changes to your manuscript yourself so you don’t need hands-on editing
  • Have a budget that doesn’t extend to hands-on editing

What is a critique? 

A critique is where the editor assesses everything from the title to the final words of your manuscript, then provides a comprehensive editorial report (around 10-15 pages) with feedback on:

  • The title and subtitle: uniqueness, interest, relatedness, etc.
  • The big picture: content, message, structure, aims, etc.
  • The small picture: tone, writing style, flow,
  • The length: word count, chapter length, paragraph length, sentence length.
  • The formatting: headings, styles, visuals, etc.
  • The good, the bad, and the ugly: what works, what doesn’t work, and what could be better.
  • The value: whether you need to add more value for the reader and how to do it.
  • The audience: whether you’re speaking to your audience and meeting their needs.
  • The clarity: anything that is unclear or could be better explained.

In critiques, the editor provides feedback on the manuscript, but you make the changes as the author. The aim is to empower the author to make the changes themselves do they don’t need hands-on editing, though you can also opt for hands-on editing afterwards if you’d like. You can find out more about our editing services here. 

What you’ll get in a critique:  

  • A manuscript full of comments on individual instances, sentences, and paragraphs
  • A comprehensive editorial report
  • An hour-long call to discuss the feedback
  • One free check of your changes*

*Must be within one month so the editor remembers the manuscript accurately, and increases in word count from the original critique will be charged on a per-word basis.

The service 

Critiques can take anywhere from a week to a month depending on the book and the word count. The cost also depends on the word count. The longer the book, the higher the cost. The cost of a critique per 1000 words is £20.

Privacy and nondisclosure

We take our authors’ privacy seriously, so rest assured we won’t share your documents, details, or the content of our discussions and recommendations with anyone. We delete all files after use. You can see our privacy policy here.

Our experience 

At The Book Shelf, we specialise in nonfiction books that make the world better. We empower our authors to write life-changing books for their readers. We’ve worked on over 500 books with authors around the globe — from first-timers to New York Times bestsellers, non-native speakers to TedTalkers, and everyone in between. If you want to change your readers’ lives, we want to help you achieve that.

Our specialist areas are:

  • Business: This might include entrepreneurship, leadership, getting out of the rat race, or building a business. It might relate to your particular business, teaching the reader a skill or sharing expertise on your subject matter (such as property development or animation).
  • Personal development: This generally includes books on how to make the reader’s life better, such as how to become happier. It might also mean teaching them individual skills such as goal-setting or nutrition. It often includes aspects of psychology, health, and wellbeing.
  • Philosophy: This could be any area of philosophy from ethical theories to philosophical approaches, metaphysics to morality. For example, the meaning of life, how to think independently, or what happiness is. It may be an analysis of traditional philosophy or proposing a new approach.


“Ameesha gave insightful commentary for me about the manuscript. She provided a wealth of comments, questions, and analysis, far beyond my expectations. The critique was brutally honest, and it helped reveal weaknesses in the manuscript, including redundancies, unclear arguments, contradictions, and places where more research was needed.

Ameesha also helped me align my focus toward my target audience. Through reading her detailed and well-organized editorial assessment and in-doc commentary, I developed a much more focused outline and was able to decide on a writing style more appropriate to my intended audience. She also helped me make needed cuts and additions. Our video chat discussion after I read through the edits was invaluable and allowed us to discuss my intended changes and next steps. She was very patient with my many questions and helped me find creative solutions to my problems.”

Collaborating with Ameesha provided not only a much-needed critique of my manuscript, but also valuable training in nonfiction editing that I will use in the future. In that sense, I was paying not only for one project, but for an education in editing from a master editor.” – Harrison Paul, Apr 15, 2020

“Working with Ameesha was a delight! From the very beginning when I sent in my sample manuscript, I was instantly impressed by her depth of knowledge and professionalism. She made it all seem so easy, while at the same time being very strict in her review. She was accessible to me all through the process, very helpful and friendly.” – Olayide Abel, Aug 2020