How Editors and Proofreaders Charge for Services

For my editorial services, I charge by the word. I have heard of others charging by the  hour, with an estimate coming before the agreement to do the work.

The advantage of charging by the word is that it sounds fair. An 80,000-word book works out to this rate or that, depending on the editor. And it is fair, if all authors are created equal.

Charging by the hour is fair, with an estimate, because all authors are not created equal. Some need more help, others need less. But sometimes estimates are too high or too low. They are based on how much work an editor thinks he or she will do with the manuscript.

Perhaps one day I will consider a hybrid of the two approaches.


2 thoughts on “How Editors and Proofreaders Charge for Services

  1. Pingback: Post From My Other Blog | The Creative Revolution

  2. As I’ve considered hanging my editor shingle out, I’ve always thought of it in terms of by the word. Probably in chunks of either 10,000 or 25,000 words. I think charging by the hour can create an incentive to pad hours and, at least at the outset, coming up with an estimate would be difficult.

    I also think there are different types of editing that can be done and that would also effect the rate. I just finished editing a manuscript where all I did was read it for typos and that type of thing. That’s quick and easy. I’m in the midst of editing another manuscript where I’m doing a lot more, finding inconsistencies, raising questions about various things and trying to do a lot to help improve the writing and the story. That’s not so quick or easy.

    Which, of course, begs the question … charging the same “by the word” rate for both wouldn’t make sense. So, there should be a basic copy editing rate and a “deep editing” rate and probably another distinction or two.

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