The Manuscript Review Process

Lizzie Case Posted by Lizzie Case, Digital Editorial Intern, Berrett-Koehler.


The Manuscript Review Process

Read about The Parts of a Manuscript here.

One of the most effective aspects of our editorial process is the use of outside reviewers. Berrett-Koehler works with over two hundred reviewers who are from several walks of life, including managers, consultants, writers, lawyers, published authors, academics, political analysts, journalists, and countless others who have committed to helping by reviewing draft manuscripts, for which they are paid a modest honorarium by Berrett-Koehler.

A draft manuscript is often sent to four independent reviewers for feedback. The reviewers have approximately a month to construct a general review (which they send via e-mail to the Managing Director of Editorial, who in turn will share it with you). The questions asked of the reviewers are intentionally general and nonspecific so as to elicit the most authentic feedback. Questions include:

+ What works best in the work, and how could that material serve as a model for other material in the work?

+ What material works least well, and what changes would you suggest to improve that material?

+ What do you see as the main themes and contributions of the work, and how well are they developed?

+ What themes and topics are insufficiently developed, and how would you suggest strengthening them?

+ Who do you envision as being the most interested audiences for this book? What people do you know who would enjoy reading this book and why?

+ Where are more details needed to flesh out ideas or bring concepts to life? What do the authors not discuss in the manuscript that you would like them to talk about?

+ What material distracts from the main themes of the work? Where would you suggest “cuts” to enhance readability and reduce repetition? Where would you like the author to go into even greater detail?

+ How well does the current organization of the manuscript work, and what changes would you suggest to improve the organization?

+ What do you personally find most interesting in the work and most useful for your own work and life? What do you like least?

If you have any questions regarding the review process, feel free to contact your editor or the Managing Editor, Jeevan Sivasubramaniam (415


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