Fringe Fiction discussion

Fringe Fiction General Chat > Editors' Rates

Comments Showing 1-23 of 23 (23 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Amy (new)

Amy Butcher | 46 comments This topic is in response to a question about editors' rates, as I had mentioned in another thread that I charge $70 to $100 for editing.

I just wanted to make clear that this rate applies to corporate documentation. But for book publishing with independent presses, this is not the norm.

For example, an editor at a mid-list press here in Canada would probably charge closer to $10 a page, so for a 400-page novel, that would be $4,000. Still a big chunk, though, and out of reach for the vast majority of self-published authors.

Editors who work on bestsellers at the big six (or the big five now) for sure make five to six figures. But that is a whole other ball game compared to the self-publishing industry.

The point is that there are editors for all types of markets and all types of jobs, and professionals should always charge what the market will bear. People buying those services need to know what the going rates are to make sure they're not paying too much or, very importantly, not paying too little for bad service either, because that's still money wasted when you have to get the job done over again.

In editing circles, there is always grumbling about people undercharging and putting downward pressure on prices, but in my experience you are paid for the value you provide. What extra value are you giving the client? What experience? What knowledge? These are things that authors should also consider when deciding who to hire and how much to pay.

Here is a great article with a full table of what professional editors charge for various services:

For indie authors? My rates are really very low compared to what I normally do: $.010 cents a word for copyediting, $0.012 cents a word for structural editing and $.001 cents a word for proofreading.

So for a 100,000 word novel, this would end up being $1,000 of copyediting for 100 hours of work, or $10 an hour. Not my professional rates, but rather the rates for a labour of love.

And don't forget that there can be room for negotiation: Some editors accept monthly payments or they can do just one chapter to give you an idea of the work involved and so you can do more editing on your own.

Someone good will also take time to consult with you about your needs, because seriously, there are so many variables involved with editing that you don't just jump in without some serious consultation first.

I hope this information is helpful!


message 2: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Excellent info!

Question, let's say there's only about 10 - 20 typos in a whole 100,000 manuscript, how many hours would that take? Or is reading the whole manuscript, checking for typos, a part of the hourly fee?

message 3: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 506 comments One has to read the whole book to find those 10-20 typos.

message 4: by Amy (new)

Amy Butcher | 46 comments That's a great question.

It's hard to say how long it would take, as the problem with that kind of job is that it's like looking for a needle in a haystack and can take a long time!

But one way to deal with that situation if you're on a tight budget is to tell the editor, "Just do a quick read through and fix what jumps out at you." So, in that case you're just looking for a second pair of eyes and you could probably negotiate a lower price if you can. I could maybe go at double the speed in that case. (But things could still be missed with that type of process.)

You could also have the person do a check in Word for the main mistakes: affect/effect, from/form, etc. and not read the entire thing through if you're confident with everything else yourself. (Although again, not ideal.) You could also do that yourself, although an editor would probably be more aware of everything that should be checked from a proofreading standpoint.

I find that the major problems aren't typos but missing words, as you have to read very carefully to find those. It's easy for your brain to fill in the missing information if you're doing a quick read.


message 5: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Thanks for the answer!

In your experience, what kind of editing is needed the most? IE, copyediting, stylystic, etc.

message 6: by Amy (new)

Amy Butcher | 46 comments Hm, that's tough to say, because people vary so widely and it depends on when you get the draft. I would say that number one is probably copyediting, as it can be very difficult to cut out the fat in your own writing.

As Blaise Pascal once said, "I would have written you a shorter letter, but I did not have the time..."

I think the need for stylistic editing is very personal; hard for me to say if it's "needed" the most. I personally stay away from that type of editing, as I'm also a writer and I don't want to risk putting anything of my voice in someone else's work.

message 7: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1890 comments Mod
I know my stress is typos/grammar. I won't pretend to be so grand an editor that I don't need help elsewhere but the devil is in the details when it comes to sentence structure.

message 8: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Cut the fat, love that phrase.

message 9: by Amber (new)

Amber Foxx (amberfoxx) | 287 comments Yes. I have a certain revision phase that is the cutting rewrite. I focus exclusively on cutting excess verbiage. It's like sculpting my book out of the big block of too many words and scenes. Then I have to do it again and again. I've always been naturally thin but my books tend to gain weight.

message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

i had a lamentable stint in a writer shop of a 100 writers/illustrators (tech) and we had lots of phony formulas and sheets of b.s. about how much we charged and how we set our prices, but the reality was you could multiply the page count by $300 and be spot-on. granted there were variations tossed in, but most of our project leaders didn't understand the why's and how's of variations so most of our clients ended up with--surprise!--$300/p.
that may sound like a lot at first, but it covered all costs, not just the lousy writers. fine editors. some remarkably talented illustrators. ho-hum project managers. cheerleaders. clueless upper managers. and, of course, me.

message 11: by Amber (new)

Amber Foxx (amberfoxx) | 287 comments $300.00 a PAGE? I must be reading this wrong. If not, I love my editor even more. She does not charge me anywhere near that. Not even in the same conceptual universe as that.

message 12: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1890 comments Mod
-jaw drop-

message 13: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1890 comments Mod

message 14: by Harmony (new)

Harmony Kent (harmonyk) Wow--$300/p ... surely not???

How can anybody afford that?

I am an indie author first, and an editor/proofreader second. Indies are my passion, and I deliberately keep my prices low. I know how hard it is to make money on your books, and editing is the one area that lets a lot of indies down. I want to make it as affordable as possible--I'm even open to negotiation. Am I selling myself cheap? If I can help someone, then I don't care. Is my service substandard? Definitely not. As with a previous comment: it is a labour of love :)

message 15: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Depends on the prokect, I'm sure. Tony didn't specify whether the job involved working on full fiction novels for indies. It could have been the company owner who paid, yearly salary, etc, etc, a lot of factors. So I wouldn't recommend assuming anything.

message 16: by Harmony (new)

Harmony Kent (harmonyk) Good point Lily :)

message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

sorry to wait so long before i dropped the other shoe. i tried to post a Part II but...
the whole system crashed!
so now i'm holed up in a cabin near wichita, my crazy gun-toting friends surrounding the ranch while we await the ePolice to come and take me to eJail. but i swear to you this: if they want my books, they'll have to pry them from my cold, dead hands!

where was i?
oh yeah. the gap i didn't state strongly enough was that i worked in the corporate world, in a writer shop and/or as a consultant. the significant difference is that our/my clients were corporations that spend other people's money. once you understand the difference, getting the big boys to give you money is pretty easy. (be arrogant.) and since i was an insider, getting contracts was a walk in a park.

a skanky, filthy park with slimy walks and no playgrounds and a lot of greedy a.h.'s.

i am so glad to be out of that park.

but as of, say, 2005, the last time i had any contact with the old-schools, the market value of a (technical) page was still $300.

if you think about it, patterson and the other major writers make far more than that. what they have that the rest of us don't, is marketing. is ONLY marketing. the impact of marketing is the major part of my reasoning for concentrating so heavily on marketing. much of the blab that we share on goodreads, among good writers and bad, among the caring and the afraid, is poop. witness courtney's concept, which she has so graciously shared on another thread. (just as an aside courtney, i've copyrighted your ideas--all of them--but will happily sell them back to you for a small fee... say, $300/p? hrrah ha ha!)

courtney, i'm going to pick on you for the remainder of this paragraph, but i am comfortable doing so in part because you exude confidence, which i really, really, really, like, (really!) but also because i think this is the most important thing i can write here. i have no intention of failing. yet you, courtney, may have more talent than i have and you may be writing the better book. still, you may be slated to endure tenure in anonymity. why should that be? if you write the best book shouldn't you earn the limo and the mansion? if your work is best, then shouldn't you be the one who lunches with tom cruise, discussing you writing the screenplay? so how can i help prevent the injustice of improper anonymity? maybe i can't, but, again, i have no intention of failing. so, glass-half-full: maybe i can.
maybe i can help.

all of this, then, as a cheap lead-in to starting a thread, out here on the fringe, surrounded by the good and the afraid and the ignorant; starting a thread that questions aspects of the 'marketing concept' that most authors are saddled with.
just more poop?

patterson lost his talent long ago, as have others. all he has left is... let's shout it out together: marketing! he's the author's equivalent of sylvestor stallone playing tough-guy even though hes, what? 86? my mom said he died about 4 movies back, but i'm not sure of that.

gotta go.

message 18: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Here's your other shoe, Tony ;)

message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

part III. (proving you can’t shut me up!)

i NEED to mention that the editors above seem competent and i would certainly consider their services if i was smarter.

also, when i consulted i did the exact same work for the exact same price. $300/p. many clients already knew my work so getting work was easy enough, but my major selling point was speed. the national average for tech writers is(?) or at least was a dismal 1.5pp/d, which includes all peripheral work--illustrations, editing, rent, taxes...

where a big shop may have a 9-month turnaround, i offered delivery in a month. an easy task. caveat: i had the reputation going in, so quality was seldom an issue, and then only while silly middle-managers tried to haggle price. nobody complained post-delivery. (actually, they complained about my attitude and my breath and my looks, but never about my work.)

not to brag, but i wrote 15pp/d of finished doc. this may be interesting to those considering alternative income streams. getting to 15pp/d is a simple, controllable process that takes average 'pro' writers about 6 months if they have a good mentor. and tech writing, once you learn the tools, is easy.

in line with amy's statements, charging the industry rate rather than tugging rates downward helps all writers, all editors, all writing shops--helps everybody who inhabited my onceWorld.
thus, 2 cents.

now i'll shut up for awhile. go watch some latvian tv.


message 20: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1890 comments Mod
That is most kind of you to say, Tony. I do aspire to more than anonymity but it'll probably be a little toil in self-publishing until I can get an agent to take me seriously. Hopefully I can play it smart, pay my dues and word will get around.

I'm sorry, just wanted to be gracious about a compliment but will all the thread to return to its topic :)

message 21: by F.W. (new)

F.W. Pinkerton (FWPinkerton) | 28 comments Wish we could like posts on goodreads. As there are a few in this thread that could do with a like :)

I would love an editor as my grammar is not the best but is improving with each book I write. But my biggest problem is once I write something I find it nearly impossible to get rid of it. Those words are my babies, and I cannot bring myself to cut them off and hear their little screams as they are thrown into the recycle bin.

One day I hope I am in the financial position to find an editor,but as writing is a total hobby and I am broke, that might take a while lol. I would be intrigued as to how my books would flow. I know they would read better grammar wise but it would be most interesting which bits would get the chop - as they hacked my poor babies to pieces!

I am sure like other people have said in the past. I can always spot mistakes in others work, but not my own. In fact I was helping a friend of mine format her book for creatspace and noticed she had put 'though' instead of 'through' at least four or five times. Once I noticed her error it was easy to search for it.

message 22: by Wren (new)

Wren Figueiro | 216 comments Seems like there's a wide range when it comes to editing costs. The ones I've seen charge by the word count. One I saw recently was $400 up to 100K words.

message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

f.w., your 'little screams' metaphor is grisly but great; write horror!

editing is more art than science. proof: have an editor edit 1000 words, then once you've gotten your babies back and the screams are forgotten, ask the same editor to edit the same 1000 words. the edit will be very similar but will show the art-vs-science difference.

$400 for a bad edit is a waste; $400 for a great edit is wonderful. it's the same $400. (spending it on my editing would be nearer the 'waste' end of the spectrum, but i'll still take your money. send it by paypal to

back to top