Someone recently reached out to me regarding my editing work. I was more than happy to talk with them.
However, when it came down to the fees. This person wanted to cut the fee in half! Like it was a suggested fee and up for negotiations. Granted, he meant it lightly ( I think), but it did make me stop and think of how many others out there look at editing fees as a thing that’s bartered and traded for.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I trade with one of my clients on an occassion. I don’t offer this to anyone else. Please, don’t ask.
Look, I get it. I really, really do. I am going to invest just over 500 bucks for my current MS to be edited, and she’s one of the lowest charging editors out there for the quality of work given (I’m a returning client for this lady). I did a little research for more editors and found prices up to a staggering $7,500 for the same work I’m going to have done, and the same work I do. More on this later…
I don’t believe many authors (NOT authors who are also editors) truly understand the amount of work it takes to edit, the expertise required for quality work, and the time it takes to produce efficient work. All of this effort is put into consideration when developing fees to charge.
Note: I’m not belittling the work authors have put into their manuscripts. Not in the least. I’m an author too, and the work we put into our stories is worth diamonds and gold. Just… not refined. Which is where we editors come in. The term “polished” come to mind when editing.
And to be blunt … I should be charging more. Much, much more. Because not only do I have the knowledge and skills to charge more, but I also have 11 years of experience. I could easily charge three times the amount of fees. But I don’t. Because I have branded myself as affordable (more so than the other guys who claim to be the same) and as somone who caters to the indie community.
So, what I would like those reading this post to keep in mind is, if you are a writer, and you pitch your book to editors, please know edits are an INVESTMENT in your work. You may not get your investment back, but let me tell you, reviews that tout editing errors are much less likely to sell than those that don’t.
Now to the reason why I charge the fees I do.
I want to be truly affordable. I am already short selling myself because I am damn good at what I do and can back it with references and a portfolio of clients. But I want to also make it easier for those who have the passion, desire, and skills to write books, to do so successfully, and the indie author community has come under too much scrutiny and backlash because edits are not cheap, so many of us have forgone this all important step and skiped right on to smashing that publish button.
That brings me to another point I want to touch on.
Afordable doesn’t always mean cheap. Edits (regardless of the level), are an investment.
Read that again.
This investment will take you further than depending on self-edits alone. No matter how great of a job you think you can do on your own. There will be mistakes, and the readers out there will catch them. No matter how great you are, you’re not perfect. You’re too close to the story to catch everything. Please, don’t go it alone.
If you go it alone, please know what you are getting yourself into. Not only are you risking putting out lower quality story, you are telling your readers you don’t care about them enough to give them your very best. You set yourself up for failure before you even began.
And here’s a little secret that isn’t really a secret (at least, it shouldn’t be): Most of us will allow payment plans. There are likely stipulations to this, but it can’t hurt to ask.
Do yourself and your readers a favor. Hire an editor.
Just to give you an example of average editing costs, I did a little digging and found a few sites that share common fees with various levels of edits.
Book Baby advertises as affordable. Their fees? Edits are $7.00 per page. Based on the standard of 250 words per page, that puts their costs right around $0.028/word.
Now multiply that by, say, an average 75,000 word novel.
My fee? $200.00, which equals out to be about $0.0026 per word.
Their proofreading fees are $3.00 per page. This breaks down to about $0.012 per word, for a total of $900.00.
My fee is $100.00, or $0.0013 per word.
Mary Kole explains her research suggests edits average at $0.01 – $0.02 per word for proofreading and $0.02 – $0.04 per word for edits (copy/line). I’ll let you do the math.
In closing, I hope this helps when looking at the numbers, understanding the reason for the fees, and when you reach out to an editor, don’t negotiate their fees unless they invite you to.
Also, HIRE AN EDITOR! Even if it’s not me. Trust me on this one, okay?