Last night, I was looking over this ratings list of self-publishing services, which is curated by the Alliance of Independent Authors. I highly recommend it if you're looking at a certain freelancer or company to help with things like cover design. Some popular companies I've heard of, such as Author Solutions, have bad ratings on this list because of questionable practices or lawsuits.
One thing I didn't expect to find was a program called AutoCrit. It caught my roleplaying-gamer's eye and was rated "Recommended," so I clicked on the link.
It turns out that AutoCrit is a free-to-join website with lots of tools to compare your manuscript to published books using these categories:
Pacing and momentum
Combination (not sure why they gave it this name--it includes info on overused words)
Most of the reports require you to upgrade to the pro version ($30/month), but the free reports provide a helpful starting point. For example, I found the report "Initial Pronoun and Names" particularly useful, because I know I tend to start too many sentences with names or pronouns (a legacy of my training in editing nonfiction). It would take way too long to search for each name or pronoun individually in a program like Word or Scrivener, given how many false positives I'd get from names or pronouns used in places other than the beginnings of sentences.
While a tool like this is no substitute for a human editor, it can significantly reduce your editing costs by helping you fix a lot of things yourself instead of having to pay an editor to do them. I suspect even a one-month subscription would more than pay for itself in the amount it'd save you on editing. I don't get anything if you sign up; I just want you to have the best tools at your disposal.
And when you're ready for another human to take a crack at your manuscript—or if you're not even sure how to get started—click here to find the right way for me to help you.
(Thanks to Green Chameleon for sharing their work on Unsplash.)