Book Editing, Publishing

How Much to Edit A 300-Page Book? – Diving into the Nitty-Gritty of the Book Editing Prices

book editing prices

The abundance of editing terminology can be overwhelming. One might assume that as editors, who prioritize language precision, we could reach a consensus on terms. However, that’s not the case.

Despite the myriad terms, editors generally provide four editing levels. Your book doesn’t need to undergo all four levels, but it might benefit from them.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into each level, discussing the scope of work, the different terms used by editors, and the expected price range.

The pricing range listed below is based on what notable editors charge these days. The lowest price in the range is the least an editor can charge while remaining fair to themselves; the highest price in the range is the highest an editor can charge. Of course, you will find editors who charge both below and above the price ranges given below. However, based on observation, reading the EFA rate table, and consulting with editors, the pricing ranges given in this blog are the general prices you may expect for editing fiction and non-dense nonfiction manuscripts. The ranges indicated do not apply to technical, scientific, or academic manuscripts.

Diverse Methods Of Charging: Editors charge in a variety of ways, including per hour, per page, per word, a flat project fee, or per 1,000 words. In general, editors set the fee based on how much they want or need to earn per hour. Even if they estimate a project fee, price per page, or price per word, they set the quote based on how much they want/need to make per hour.

Demystifying Per-Word Pricing: $0.02 equals two cents per word, not twenty cents per word. $0.031 equals 3.1 cents per word, not thirty-one cents per word. $0.05 equals five cents per word, not fifty cents per word, etc. To avoid decimal confusion, some editors charge per thousand words. So, they might charge you $20 for 1,000 words, which is equivalent to $0.02 (2 cents) for each word.

Understanding Per-Page Pricing: The standard is 250 words per page throughout the industry. Because the number of words on a page is determined by the font used and margins, when an editor gives you an estimated price per page, they are assuming 250 words per page. So, if your book has 50,000 words, the editor will charge you for 200 pages (50,000 divided by 250), even if it only has 150 pages.

Why the wide range in pricing: 

For each level, there is a typical price range. An editor’s fee is determined by their experience, the type of material they are working on, their pace, and their demands.

  • Type of Material: Editors charge extra to edit academic and technical writings because they are time-consuming and take a longer time to edit, and if we talk about developmental level editors sometimes have degrees in the subject topic. Less technical, lighter nonfiction, such as self-help books and memoirs, will cost less than technical texts. Some fiction genres, such as epic fantasy, demand more knowledge and take longer to edit.
  • Needs: Some may be the sole source of income, while others may reside in a high-cost area. Thus, these editors would need to charge more.
  • Speed: Because editors work at varying speeds, a faster editor may quote a lesser fee, whilst a slower editor will quote a higher price. In the end, both may be paid $50 per hour. A speedier editor is not necessarily worse or better in terms of skill than a slower editor, and vice versa. An editor should work at the speed that permits them to produce the best quality for the best price, which will vary.
  • Experience: All editors who have the right to call themselves editors have received some form of editing training, whether through editing classes, editing certification, reading professional development books, on-the-job training, and so on. An editor with more training and extensive years of experience may be able to charge more than someone with less training and experience. Essentially, freelancers, like workers, offer themselves raises when their skills improve.

Essentially, costs will vary due to differences in speed, type of material, experience, and needs; nevertheless, some may charge a higher hourly rate than the industry average, which may be reasonable given their demand, experience, and needs.

Level 1: Enhancing the Manuscript by Addressing Big-Picture Issues

At this level, the editor does not make any changes or markings to the text. The editor reviews your manuscript and gives you feedback; sometimes they may help you create the plot or book from an outline.

For this, the editor creates a lengthy report that focuses on the most obvious big-picture issues.

The author then utilizes the feedback to make modifications to the manuscript (or write it if the editor was just working with an outline). The author is solely responsible for making changes because the editor’s role is complete once the report is written.

This is less expensive than level two, which also addresses big-picture concerns, therefore it is a viable choice for authors who cannot afford comprehensive big-picture editing.

Terms for describing this:

  • The phrase “developmental editing” is also used by some in the next level.
  • Manuscript evaluation.
  • Manuscript critique.
  • Editorial report.

Typical pricing ranges from $40 to $60 per hour. $0.01 to $0.03 each word. Some editors specify it as a flat fee dependent on total word count (e.g., $400 for manuscripts with 50,000 or fewer words, $700 for manuscripts with 50,000-75,000 words, etc.).

Level 2: Big Picture Editing

At this level, the editor will handle the same big-picture issues discussed in level one. However, instead of simply making a report, they now add comments and modifications immediately to the text, pointing out problems as they arise and providing solutions to fix them.

Editors frequently provide an editorial report to discuss the overall big-picture issues and propose solutions that take place across multiple scenes.

If your book passes stage one, you will have fewer big-picture challenges left. However, while level one addresses the fundamental big-picture flaws of the book as a whole, they may still linger at the chapter or paragraph level. Furthermore, you may still have big-picture concerns, as the report just addressed the most obvious issues; it did not address all of them. Also, you may not have resolved all the issues highlighted in the report.

So, a level one edit does not necessarily eliminate the need for this.

Terms to describe this:

  • Developmental editing (yes, some use this term for this level as well)
  • Editing includes substantive, content, structural, and heavy copyediting.

Average Pricing ranges from $45 to $80 per hour. $0.025 to $0.08 per word. $7 to $20 each page.

Level 3: Word and Sentence Level Editing

At this level, the editor changes and comments on the words and sentences you used, as well as correct grammar, spelling, usage, and punctuation mistakes.

Some editors divide this into two services:

  • Making stylistic adjustments to sentences and words;
  • Correcting errors.

As a result, you may encounter editors at this level providing two distinct services.
Because some editors divide it into different types of services. In this blog, we will clarify each type, calling it copyediting, and include both types.

Terms for describing this:

  • Type 1— Line Editing/Medium Copyediting/Stylistic Editing involves modifying sentence structure and word choice to improve clarity, flow, and readability. This could entail rewriting awkward-sounding statements, interrogating sentences with ambiguous meanings, correcting syntax errors, recommending more forceful word choices, etc.
  • Type 2— Copyediting, Light Copyediting: Correcting grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage errors.

Average pricing ranges from $35 to $70 per hour. $0.01 to $0.05 per word. $3–$12 each page.

Level 4: Proofreading

Everyone refers to this level as proofreading. Finally, we have a common editing term on which we can agree. However, proofreading can mean different things in the indie market than it does in traditional publication.

In traditional publishing, a proofreader arrives after the book has already been designed and formatted and works on page proofs, hence the name proofreader.

In indie publishing, a proofreader often comes after the editor and they work on a Word document rather than page proofs. This is because indie authors usually have only one editor, necessitating a second set of eyes on the text. In addition, having the proofreader come first is less expensive. When the proofreader arrives after the layout, the author must pay either the proofreader or the book designer to incorporate the proofreader’s edits into the InDesign (or whatever other program was used) document.

A proofreader serves as your final line of defense. Thus, your proofreader should not be the same person who served as your editor at any level. (You may have had one or more editors.) Your editor or editors are now too close to your material and may easily miss the remaining errors.

A proofreader checks the following.

  • Check for grammar, spelling, usage, and punctuation issues.
  • Consistency in usage and presentation
  • Accuracy in text, graphics, and layout (if proofreading after book design and formatting).

Average pricing ranges from $30 to $50 per hour. $0.01 to $0.04 per word. $2–$9 for each page.

FAQ’s – Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do editors set prices for book editing?

Editors assess the level of editing required, word quantity, turnaround time, and their own experience. Pricing models vary, such as hourly charges, per-word rates, and set project fees. To achieve openness and budget alignment, these details must be discussed early.

  1. Is it cheaper to edit a shorter book than a longer one?

Shorter books have cheaper editing costs because they need less time and effort. Longer books frequently demand more intricate editing processes, which raises the final price. However, the complexity of the material has a major impact on the overall cost.

  1. What is the pricing structure difference between per-word and per-page options?

The difference between per-word and per-page pricing is that the first method uses the typical word count per page—250 words in this case—to estimate the cost of the manuscript, while the second method uses the actual number of words in the text. Per-page price provides an upfront estimate, although per-word pricing may be more adaptable to different manuscript lengths.

  1. Can I discuss editing fees with an editor?

Yes, negotiations are usual in the editing industry. Remember, editors’ fees reflect their skill and time involved. Be polite during the conversation, taking into account both reasonable compensation for the editor and your financial limits. Open communication and mutual understanding can result in a successful agreement for both sides.

  1. What is the average cost of editing a book with 300 pages?

Several factors, including the editor’s level of expertise, the complex nature of the content, and the number of pages in the manuscript, can affect the book editing fees for a 300-page manuscript. The price range could be hundreds of dollars to several thousand. Discussing your exact project information with possible editors will allow you to obtain a more accurate estimate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *