It’s a Question of Dollars and Cents

So, how much should editing cost?

Yes, it’s a loaded question. But I’ve been doing a lot of research and I’ve (surprise surprise) found a lot of varying answers.

Let me make it easy for you… I have a 100 – 110K word novel (approx 300 pages) that’s been through a very comprehensive beta-read (by two accomplished authors), and at least half a dozen edits by me (and I’m pretty fastidious). So, what I’m after is a copy-edit just to make sure those sentences are tight, and my grammar and punctuation is correct.

Now, I’ve seen editors offering their services (for the above-mentioned need) at anything from $850 to $3,000. Don’t get me wrong, I’m willing to pay for quality, but I also don’t want to be taken for a ride.

What’s your opinion? How much do you think this type of editing service should cost? Do you think an editor’s costs reflect their quality of service? How much did you pay for your book to be edited?

For any editors out there, please weigh in on how you price your services! Oh, and whether you’re currently available…


23 thoughts on “It’s a Question of Dollars and Cents

  1. I’ve been fortunate that the bulk of my novels were edited by a publishing house so I didn’t have to pay. For the three indie titles I did release I had a previous house editor (already familiar with my work) edit for me. She knew the type of work I delivered so she charged me half of her normal fee. I know editing can be pricey, but I would ever pay the prices you mentioned in your post.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think because of the exchange rate (Mae Clair is in the US), the prices you quoted aren’t as expensive as it would seem. Perhaps asking the editors for client references would help.


      2. They’ve got to be out there. The best advice I could offer is to ask other authors who has edited for them. I think Robbie Cheadle mentioned someone she was happy with but I can’t remember the editor’s name.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. As a writer, I understand your plight. When we’re first starting, our funds are likely limited (or non-existent) and there’s a lot to deal with—cover art, editing, formatting, promo and advertising. We can do it all ourselves (and it usually shows), we can forego some of these (which limits our sales), or we can go broke hoping to recoup the money through sales (and we all know what a gamble that is). Forgive my language, but it sucks.

    As an editor, I can tell you those rates are in line with industry norms. Let’s say an editor charges 1¢/word. and you submit a 100K word manuscript. That’s $1000, which sounds so harsh. And let’s say it takes a work week to complete, so $200 a day. Let’s also assume that editor takes only two weeks off a year and never has a gap in the schedule. It works out to roughly $40,000 a year. Then the editor has to pay taxes out of that, in addition to all the regular living expenses. It’s really not a lot of in-pocket earnings. It might leave some people in a monthly deficit. Doesn’t seem so harsh now, does it?

    I’ve been lucky with some clients and have been able to soar through their work in record time. I’ve also had clients whose work took more than two weeks to complete because every sentence needed work. (Those are the days I wished I charged by the hour, but those people never could have afforded that.)

    You need to prepare for your first edit to go slower than subsequent edits (with the same editor) because he or she is getting to know your style and you’re getting to learn what things he or she constantly flags in your work. Later works will go more smoothly.

    Edits are like covers. You’re going to find people on Fiverr who charge you $50 for the project, and you’re going to find others who quote you thousands. You need to find the right person at the right price point. It may take you a few tries before you do. Above all, the relationship has to make you comfortable and your work shine. But once you find that right editor, that relationship will be brilliant.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for the writer AND editor’s perspectives Staci. Yeah, it makes sense that it costs a lot, and I know for truth that you get what you pay for. I went with a fairly pricey cover which is beyond brilliant because I couldn’t bear a pre-made cheap looking cover. I think I’m going to have to approach editing the same way. Thanks to a FB group I’m part of, i now have a bunch of good leads, so I think I’ll follow up some of those. Thanks again 🤗


  3. To be perfectly blunt Jess, it sounds like you have a lot of anxiety in taking the final steps towards publication. You’ve done everything possible so take the plunge and get it published! Still, if you want a copy edit, my daughter still hasn’t gotten around to reading your manuscript. I could kick her ass (not literally) and get her to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Mike you don’t know the half of it! Sometimes I think I’ll do anything to avoid having to hit publish 😬
      But seriously, I’d hate to put something out there with grammatical errors. After the last few beta reads I’ve had, I’m completely confident with the story, it’s just any grammatical errrors that might be present that are worrying me.
      Don’t harass your daughter! If she gets around to it, she gets around to it, I understand how busy people are 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m paying 1 cent a word x 85k that works out at $850.00. I think it’s a steal compared to some prices out there. I’m doing mine in 50 page sections that let me breathe a little easier in the paying. It’ll take longer, yes, but I’m willing to do that for quality.


  5. Such a hard question and honestly I don’t know the answer. Your writing is pretty clean, Jess, so a final copy edit to catch some missing commas and dangling participles shouldn’t cost as much as it would for someone who can’t write a clean sentence. I don’t know if editors are willing to adjust their prices based on a sample of your work (?). I wish I had time right now to help you with this – your book is worth the effort. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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