image of vintage adding machine
Image credit to Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash.

One of the most common questions I see about editing relates to pricing. And understandably so. If you are self-publishing, you will probably need to hire an editor, cover designer and formatter. Editing is usually the most time-consuming — and therefore, the most expensive — part of this process.

Editing prices include many factors. Here are just a few:

1. The type of editing. developmental, copy editing, line editing or proofreading. These all differ from each other.
2. The condition of the manuscript. I have refused to edit books because they had so many issues: character development, plot flow, overall organization and much more. Instead, I provide a critique with an assessment of these issues. The author can then go back and make corrections. If an author is stuck, I can provide coaching.
3. How quickly the client wants the manuscript returned. The quicker the turn-around, the higher the rate.
4. How many Bible verses are in the book. For example, I recently edited a 60K word book with 300 verses. I charged extra for that as I checked every single verse. Note: The correct Bible version was listed for each verse.
5. How many citations are in the book. For example, I am now editing a book of around 220K words with at least 800 citations. Again, that increases the price.
6. The writer’s grasp of English. Sometimes, a nonnative speaker wants the book edited for standard American English. That involves rewriting content and extra work for the editor.
7. The editor\’s experience. A new editor just starting out often charges very low rates. As in almost any profession, rates increase based on the editor’s experience.
8. The demand and work load of the editor. High demand usually means higher rates. See point 7.
9. The amount of self-editing the author has done. I once proofread a manuscript for a small publisher. The client told me that the manuscript had been edited 10 times — yes, really! — and I still found minor errors. However, because of all the work the client had already put into the book, my rates for that project were very low. In addition, the publisher has sent me quite a few projects since then.
10. The word count. I charge more for shorter projects as I still have the same amount of administrative issues and back-and-forth communication with the author that I do on larger projects.
11. The number of future projects the client has. I usually (not always) offer a slight discount on future projects from the same client.

This list is by no means exhaustive. If you have any editing questions, please feel free to contact me at writebylisa@gmail.com. I’m happy to help. For further information, see my website at writebylisa.com.

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