What Does Editing Cost?

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What Does Editing Cost?

Post by Deej on Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:37 pm

Remember the old adage, you get what you pay for???

Jae - (author of six books, two novellas and various short stories) blogs about this very subject.

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What does editing cost?
February 5, 2013

For most writers, the costs of editing matter when they’re looking for an editor. So what’s a reasonable price for having your manuscript edited?

The Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) publishes a chart of common editorial rates. The following list will also give you an idea of what editors usually charge. Keep in mind that rates vary greatly, though.

By the way, the industry standard for a manuscript page is 250 words.

Copy editing:

$30-50 per hour. According to the Writer’s Market, the average is $35. Experienced copy editors might be able to edit about 10 pages per hour, which would mean they make $0.014 per word if they charge an hourly rate of $35. That makes $1,120 for an 80,000-word manuscript. According to the EFA, basic copyediting for an average-length manuscript would cost $960-2,560.
Many copy editors ask for $0.02 (2 cents) per word. That would mean between $1.600 for an average 80,000-word manuscript. I’ve seen some editors who copyedit for $0.005 (half cent)/word ($400 for an average manuscript).
According to the Writer’s Market, the average per-page rate is $4 (=$1.280 for an 80,000-word manuscript).

Line editing:

$40-60 per hour. Depending on the hourly rate and how long it takes to edit the manuscript, that would make $2,400-19,200 for an 80,000-word manuscript.
Some editors ask for around $0.02 to $0.03 per word (which would mean $1,600-2,400 for an 80,000-word manuscript).

Content editing:

$45-55 per hour. According to the Writer’s Market, the average is around $50.
Most editors ask for around $0.02 to 0.075 per word (which would mean $1,600-6,000 for an 80,000-word manuscript).
According to the Writer’s Market, the average per-page rate is $7.50 (=$2,400 for an average-length manuscript).

For most writers, that’s a lot of money. Can you get editing for cheaper? Probably. But you usually get what you pay for.

Let’s say an editor can line and substantive edit five pages an hour. That means an 80,000-word manuscript would take her about 60 hours. If the author pays her … let’s say $500, she’ll make about $8 an hour, barely above the minimum wage. Someone who wants to make her living editing can’t afford to work at these rates. So that might mean the editor is forced to work faster and be less thorough, or you will need to hire someone who is just starting out as an editor and charges less. Of course you could also limit yourself to just copy editing, but that won’t help you if your plot doesn’t work or you need help with point of view issues.

What you can actually do to reduce your editing costs is to deliver a manuscript that is as clean as possible. Trim the “fat,” the unnecessary words and fillers, and catch all the grammar and spelling mistakes you can before you send the manuscript to the editor.

Of course, the costs of editing depend not just on the editor, but on various other factors too:

Type of editing: For example, copy editing to correct spelling and grammar mistakes costs less than a substantive edit. See my previous post for an explanation of the types of editing.
Quality of writing: The more work the editor has to do to make the manuscript presentable, the more the editing will cost. Skilled writers with relatively clean manuscripts pay less. So normally, editors will want to see your manuscript or at least a sample before they can determine the costs of editing.
Length: Novels cost more than short stories or novellas, of course. But some editors work on sliding scales, so you’ll pay less per word for a longer manuscript than for a short story.
Editor’s experience: If you hire an inexperienced editor who’s just starting out, you’ll probably save money, but (depending on the editor) you might sacrifice quality.
Deadline: If the editor needs to work on a tight deadline, you’ll probably pay more for editing (most editors charge 25% more for rush jobs).
Number of read-throughs: If you want the editor to go through the manuscript more than once, you’ll probably pay more. Still, it could be worth the money because often times mistakes get overlooked on the first read-through or the edits introduce new errors.

As you saw above, there are different methods to calculate editing fees. Some editors prefer to charge by the hour. Others offer a flat rate that depends on word count, regardless of how many hours will go into editing the manuscript.

Advantage of a flat rate:

Both the writer and the editor know beforehand how much the editing will cost. With an hourly rate, the total costs won’t be determined until the editing is finished.
Some writers fear the editor will drag out the editing to have more billable hours.

Disadvantage of a flat rate:

Sometimes it can be difficult to estimate how much work is involved in editing a manuscript before you actually start working on it. If the editor underestimates the extent of the job, she ends up working for a very low hourly rate.

Full article here - [url=jaefiction.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/what-does-editing-cost/]jaefiction.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/what-does-editing-cost/[/url]

Here's a list from the Editorial Freelancers Assoc on rates - http://the-efa.org/res/rates.php It should be noted these rates are being used in the "straight" world of publishing.

One comment, there's a woman currently on Facebook and various Lesfic sites offering her services for editing, I would strongly, very strongly advise you read one of her books, (self-edited) before you ever consider hiring her or her daughter.

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Re: What Does Editing Cost?

Post by BassGuitarGirl on Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:00 pm

Very cool. Thanks for sharing this info, deej.

Question for you. Do you have Beta-readers do run-throughs first?
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Re: What Does Editing Cost?

Post by Deej on Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:12 pm

Always. I used to have three, now I m down to two that I trust. Hopefully, Ive improved some too. :shock:

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Re: What Does Editing Cost?

Post by BassGuitarGirl on Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:50 pm

I have one good Beta reader that I've used for all of my books. I am desperately searching for others. When the time comes, I may just put in a request somewhere here in this Forum. Very Happy
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Re: What Does Editing Cost?

Post by Deej on Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:08 pm

Absolutely BGG, that's why we're here. :lol:

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Re: What Does Editing Cost?

Post by PaulaO on Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:42 pm

Before I submitted BGCFA, I hired an editor to do line edits/copy edits for me. I accidentally found one who actually lived nearby.

I can't remember the manuscript size at that point. The submitted size was just over 78K so what I sent to her was bigger.

It cost me $600 for her to do it. She mostly did self-published books, a lot of non-fiction. She had no problem at all doing a lesbian romance and actually lowered the price for me since I was local and it was my first go. I think I still have it around here somewhere. At that point, she requested printed versions and did it by hand vs on the computer.

At that point, $600 was a LOT of money for us but we considered it an investment. We would see how well (or not) I could do on my own. She let me make payments. $200 to start, $200 to get it back, and $200 a month later. It took her about two months? Maybe? I have to check.

Would I do it again? No. I would hope I have improved enough to not need it. And I guess I have since my 2nd book sold.
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Re: What Does Editing Cost?

Post by Proofrdr on Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:49 pm

I ruefully have to laugh at those rates. Most lesfic presses cannot afford to pay their editors on that scale!

Most of the books I edit are at or above the 100,000 word mark. Even if the book is "clean" when I get it, the first edit takes about 5 pages an hour...80 hours. The second edit doubles the p/h...40 hours. Then there's usually a little back and forth fixing final results...maybe 2 or 3 hours. And the final proofread of the galley sheets....about 6 hours. Let's just say I make considerably less than minimum wage. ;)
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Re: What Does Editing Cost?

Post by BassGuitarGirl on Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:20 pm

Proof - Do you edit for individual writers (freelance) or are you assigned writers by a publisher (I mean, do you work for a publisher who pays you)? Am I making sense?
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Re: What Does Editing Cost?

Post by Proofrdr on Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:09 pm

Yes, you make sense. Smile

The answer is both. I edit regularly for Lynn Ames and Susan X Meagher, both of whom are also publishers. In that sense, I work for a publisher. But I am a freelance editor and also edit for other authors. I'm also constantly reminded by my partner that I am retired, so I limit myself to just 3 books a year.
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