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PAID services offered > Editing services: common rates, types of, finding, advice

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message 1: by Alex (last edited Feb 05, 2017 01:29AM) (new)

Alex (asato) To figure out more about what an editor can do for you, the different kinds of editing, and for links to editor listings, check out the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (est. 1965 and runs the Nebular awards). they have a really good article: http://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/f.... it has a whole slew of articles. you should also check out the Editorial Freelancers Association, http://www.the-efa.org/. They actually list the common rates (which are for professional editors):
Updated: July 2015

Common editorial rates —regardless of whether a project is flat rate or hourly— tend to fall within the ranges indicated below. These should be used only as a rough guideline; rates vary considerably depending on the nature of the work, the time frame of the assignment, the degree of special expertise required, and other factors. The industry standard for a manuscript page, however, is a firm 250 words.

Type of Work Estimated Pace Range of Fees
EDITING
Editing, basic copyediting 5-10 ms pgs/hr $30-40/hr
Editing, heavy copyediting 2–5 ms pgs/hr $40–50/hr
Editing, website copyediting $40-50/hr
Editing, developmental 1–5 pgs/hr $45–55/hr
Editing, substantive or line 1–6 ms pgs/hr $40–60/hr
For example, basic copyediting at the least expensive rate is $30 /(10ms pgs * 250 words per page) = 0.012 cents per word

you might also want to check out Jane Friedman's blog (janefriedman.com). She was the publisher for Writer's Digest. here's an excellent article:

Should You Hire a Professional Editor?
Posted on November 10, 2016
https://janefriedman.com/hire-profess...


Roughseasinthemed | 263 comments Well worth pointing out. The UK NUJ has similar rates as does SfEP.

Trouble is most people are not willing to pay this sort of money. Especially when they can get students or people offering to edit for free/less than $100 to gain experience or a testimonial.

I had a student doctor try to insert a needle for the anaesthetic. Jeez was it painful. She was useless. And I've got obvious veins. Why would you want to put your book through that process?

Some people don't want to pay a few hundred, let alone a thousand or more. But, that applies to most craft skills these days. Editing is no different.


message 3: by Elisa (new)

Elisa | 164 comments I understand people having hang ups with "students" or working with those offering free service. But putting those people down (especially when there's an entire section for free services in this group) doesn't do anyone much good.

On the student doctor needle thing, I've had a fully trained nurse with years of experience stick both arms an average of 6 times each before she handed it off to a newbie (who found a vein after one prick).

The price someone charges doesn't dictate how good they are. And having some knowledge of editing will help a writer spot bad edit jobs.


Roughseasinthemed | 263 comments Agree that more money doesn't always equal quality. In any sphere.

One of my friends took editing courses so she could understand the process and self-edit better. But that means more money.

Authors I know have been through two or three editors before they find one they prefer. Horses for courses.

My point was that people don't want, or choose not, to pay a professional editor, for many reasons. And the OP put the recommended rates into context.


message 5: by Lin (new)

Lin | 213 comments Mod
Anyone choosing to pay an editor needs to be aware of what the job involves, the recommended rates, and the benefits.

Sadly, sometimes those offering cheap services do more harm than good. And sometimes those offering top-rate services still might not know what they're doing. Even if an editor is good, they are not necessarily the right fit for an author. And the author needs to know enough about their craft to judge whether an editor is good for them or not.

At the end of the day, you're asking someone to put a lot of hard work and knowledge into improving your work. Calculate a decent hourly rate, and compare that to what you're expecting to pay. How much time are you expecting them to spend on the work? Is that a rate they can afford to maintain, or will they struggle to survive?

Suggesting that "most people are not willing to pay this sort of money" is ignoring the fact that many do; otherwise the service would not exist.

Anyone who gets a book traditionally published will have a lot of money spent on it by the publishers, who will be investing in editing, formatting, proofreading and cover design, as well as marketing etc. Releasing a book without ensuring it has been through this sort of service means it will be at a disadvantage.

Constantly forcing prices or expectations of charges down means the work will be done by those who are unwilling or unable to do a thorough job, and they will rush it through just so they can get enough work done to pay their bills.


message 6: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 115 comments It makes sense to see it all spelled out like this, but the thought of spending a thousand dollars on anything except basic necessities makes me tremble. It's sad because I really want my book to succeed, but I just don't have that kind of money. Does anyone know the difference in traditional publishing vs. self? Obviously you'll need a professional editor for self publishing, but does traditional take care of the expense?

Thanks to Alex for posting this!


message 7: by Elisa (new)

Elisa | 164 comments Jessica wrote: "It makes sense to see it all spelled out like this, but the thought of spending a thousand dollars on anything except basic necessities makes me tremble. It's sad because I really want my book to s..."

From what I know and my own research, traditional publishing includes professional editing but they would want your MS to be as polished as possible before submitting. That means going through and finding silly mistakes yourself or having multiple people look over it if you cannot afford an editor on your own. The final editing will just clean up and perfect the MS before it's released to the public.


message 8: by Cimone (new)

Cimone Watson | 93 comments Jessica wrote: "It makes sense to see it all spelled out like this, but the thought of spending a thousand dollars on anything except basic necessities makes me tremble. It's sad because I really want my book to s..."

With traditional publishing, you don't have to pay any money. Your book is chosen for publication by an acquisitions editor, who works for the publishing company. Your book goes through some edits in the year-and-a-half or more between the signing of the contract and the book's release date. Toward the beginning, the acquisitions editor sends you a letter suggesting changes, and you have a certain amount of time to make those.


message 9: by Cimone (last edited Feb 05, 2017 11:23AM) (new)

Cimone Watson | 93 comments The question of how much to charge is one I've been asking myself for a while. I love to edit, but it's hard work. When you do hard work, you don't want to short-change yourself. I'm okay with negotiating, though. I am still a beginner, and I'm sympathetic to writers who don't have much to spend.


message 10: by Alex (last edited Feb 05, 2017 11:59AM) (new)

Alex (asato) true knowledge is power. that's why I posted this cursory information. i'd really recommend the referenced articles. they provide invaluable advice by veterans of the book publishing industry, SFWA and Jane Friedman--as well as the nuts and bolts as to how to find and vet editors. it's your hard-earned money after all.

Jessica wrote: "It makes sense to see it all spelled out like this, but the thought of spending a thousand dollars on anything except basic necessities makes me tremble. It's sad because I really want my book to s..."

as you become a better writer, less editing is required. that's been the experience of a romance novelist friend of mine--and you know that romance authors really have to crank out the product! @_@ so, let's say that you keep writing a lot and do self-editing (for example, using writing books or other websites) get beta readers, critique partners and so forth, then you might only need a basic copy edit. the total cost of such a copy edit could be at the least expensive rate of $30 /(10ms pgs * 250 words per page) = 0.012 cents per word:

50k = $600
75k = $900
100k = $1200

(these are just "rough estimates"; they could be less.)

Jessica wrote: "Does anyone know the difference in traditional publishing vs. self? Obviously you'll need a professional editor for self publishing, but does traditional take care of the expense?"

just to add some color to the previous posts:
"... perhaps you’ve been submitting your polished manuscript to literary agents for some time and are getting positive comments, but still racking up rejections. Something’s wrong, and you aren’t quite sure what–or the rejections all seem to identify the same problems. A good independent editor may be able to help.

If you’re just starting to submit for publication, though, or are self-publishing but don’t care about starting a career, the benefits are less clear. Before you pull out your wallet, investigate alternatives–a friend who’s not afraid to criticize, a local writers’ group or critique circle, an online writers’ group, a creative writing course or teacher, a professional writer with whom you’re acquainted. Any of these may be able to give you the help you need, free of charge or at a fraction of the cost. (You should be seeking such sources of feedback anyway–no writer is capable of being completely objective about his or her work, and outside viewpoints can be very helpful.)

... You’ll get the most out of your experience if you treat it as a learning opportunity–a chance to hone and improve your own editing skills. Self-editing is an essential part of the writer’s craft; if you’re really serious about a writing career, it’s something you need to master. In fact, investing in a writing course, or joining a critique group, may be a much better initial investment for a new writer than springing for an editor."
(http://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/f...)



message 11: by Cimone (new)

Cimone Watson | 93 comments I forgot to say thank you, Alex G, for these resources!


message 12: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 115 comments Thank you everyone for your responses!! I feel a lot better now, but it looks like I'll have to save up for an editor haha.


message 13: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments Consider doing some beta reading for others. I've found that helps me a lot with mine as it makes me sensitive to what others have commented regarding my work. I also like to read the posts for queries, blurbs, etc. (https://www.goodreads.com/topic/group...) as it's a whole lot easier to see other people's mistakes than it is to see yours. Once I'd made an effort to help them I find it helped me, a lot.


message 14: by Vance (last edited Feb 05, 2017 05:53PM) (new)

Vance Huxley | 29 comments Sorry, been busy (writing) so I picked this up late.
Regardless of how the following sounds, I write for fun. If I ever get a hit, great. If not, I enjoy putting my ideas on paper and beating them into a book. :-)

From my relatively limited experience (7 books), I've found that amateur betas, professional betas, a good editor and the polish from the publisher are all needed - more than once in some cases!
If I'm not happy with how the storyline is going, or I think it is too long, drags etc., then cheaper betas to put me on the right track.
Once I'm happy-ish with the result, professional betas (3 to 6), and fix what they find.
Then a professional editor, mine checks and comments on the storyline, pace etc. as well. Parts or all might need a second edit.
When I'm happy with the result, off to the publisher, where the latest book is being edited twice to give it an extra polish (I don't pay for those) My contract stipulates that my ms must be cleaned up before submission. The publishers, quite rightly, don't want to be paying for several rounds of editing.

I wrote a lot of words before wondering if they were a story. Finding out cost me a couple of thousand pounds as I learned to put the words in a readable form, and get rid of all my bad writing habits. (Sixty years of them)
It ain't cheap. I don't know the relative odds on betting on horses or poker vs the returns on writing, but it might be a better bet! :-)

All that said, enjoy! I've found it very satisfying, and there's a lot of hobbies cost more and give you less. Good Luck!


message 15: by Tiara (last edited Feb 05, 2017 07:53PM) (new)

Tiara Giles (tiaragiles) | 21 comments I'm with Jessica here. These prices are very terrifying and all I'm reminded of is how poor I am and how you need money to help you succeed in life. Or at least that's what looking at the prices makes me feel like. So, if I have to wait seven years for editing because I have to save, it sort of sends me a devastating effect. There are editors though who don't charge you over a $1000. I've seen the prices but I haven't tried to test the waters for the best one since some might charge for a sample edit. I barely make $100 a paycheck.


message 16: by Ime (new)

Ime Atakpa | 82 comments If you publish traditionally, most houses will have editors to assign to your book depending on the genre and the editors' specializations, but just like with freelance editors and Goodreads users, you're not always going to get an editor who's a good fit for your book. That's not to say they aren't competent editors, but they have to understand the book as you want it to be and suggest changes to help you realize that goal to be a good editor. In other words, if they don't see your vision, they're not the best editor. And what are the chances that you'll find an editor that really, really sees your vision? Slim. That said, every edit is still a valuable resource for helping you to make the best of your book.

If you can't afford an editor at all, the best thing is to find friends with technical expertise who are willing to look over your work for free. They're few and far between but also an invaluable asset.


message 17: by Entrada (new)

Entrada Book Review | 209 comments Everyone has posted so much great information here - I really think that it's amazing you're all so willing to share your knowledge.

And I just had to comment... Roughseasinthemed... you crack me up! Spot on...people just don't want to hear it. :)


message 18: by Silvia (new)

Silvia (drumgenie) | 156 comments Tiara wrote: "I'm with Jessica here. These prices are very terrifying and all I'm reminded of is how poor I am and how you need money to help you succeed in life. Or at least that's what looking at the prices ma..."

Tiara, yes, some of the prices are frightening. However, as it goes for anything, the more experienced editors or those that have experience in working with traditional publishers often charge more (by the hour, for instance). You can find a lot of editors right in this group (I'm one of them), and most of the prices are competitive. From my understanding, most editors will not charge for a sample edit (usually anywhere between 1,000 to 2,500 words, depending on the editor--I usually will supply a 1,500 sample) as it is a good way to get a feel for both the author's writing style and the editor's editing style. Also, some editors offer payment plans or run specials, so there is always deals to be found (for instance, I have an author who is splitting her payments up over the course of several months prior to her editing slot in order to make it more affordable).
Keep your chin up, it'll happen without breaking the bank!

Silvia


message 19: by Gerard (new)

Gerard Pourlavie | 9 comments Ime wrote: "If you can't afford an editor at all, the best thing is to find friends with technical expertise who are willing to look over your work for free.."

I volunteered to beta read for an in-law. Big mistake. Dreadful first page I couldn't get beyond. Nor could I be honest with him. He self-published anyway.


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