Personal editing. Professional results.

What you can expect edits to cost

April 5, 2022
Posted by:
Ron Seybold

Everyone's rates differ to some degree. If you're extremely accomplished as an author, you might get away with an edit of some kind for under $1,000. Those accomplishments are a measure of your skill, not your talent. Your talent is the engine, but your skill is your pilot. Most authors need more than $1,000 of edits and see the value when they review the evaluation and the manuscript.

I've never had a client say the equivalent of "is that all?"

The process

If you're thorough, the editorial process is

• The development edit, with notes on how to revise
• An editor's follow-up to have your revisions reviewed
• A line edit, for expression (how should this sound?)
-- You review these line edits --
• A copyedit, if you're self-publishing, or you want complete control over the work.

Proofreading is not copyediting. However, it usually includes very light copyediting these days.

Consider the time the editor spends, if you blanch at a quote above $600 to evaluate your book. Reading 100,000 words is going to take six hours alone, and that's speedy. A good evaluation includes margins notes, so editor-reading goes even slower than that. Finally, there's drafting the eval letter, maybe about two or three hours. If I'm the editor, I'm having a hard time by now getting the job done in under 10 hours, being thorough, and including an hour of phone-Zoom review.

Log enough years with stories and copy edits on your desk, and the editing rate becomes commensurate with your experience.

You get an evaluation. Shoot for a line edit after your development work, or a light review of your changed sections. If you're still writing and haven't seen the end of the book yet, you should be developing with a coaching editor. That's a service I provide.

If you're submitting for publication, get working on your synopsis or chapter summaries. Essential tools, for you and the editors to come.

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