Book Editing

What Is the Average Cost to Edit a Book? – Money Talks!

affordable book editing services

The process of transforming a manuscript into a published book is both thrilling and complex. And editing plays a huge part in this journey. Book editing is not just about fixing mistakes, refining language, or rectifying the format of the manuscript; it’s about improving the whole structure of the story, ensuring the final product resonates with its target audience.

Though self-editing is important, it has its own limitations. You’re too close to your work to spot all the issues – if you could, you’d fix them already! The best approach is to do your editing, and then let a trained professional take over for a proper edit.

Editors are the goalkeepers of the book writing avenue, enhancing a writer’s work to its greatest potential and ensuring that the book connects deeply with its readers. A book editor serves as a crucial collaborator. Their key responsibility is to polish and improve a manuscript to prepare it for publication. This requires thorough attention to detail, a grasp of narrative structure, and an in-depth understanding of language subtleties. Editors do more than just fix grammar and spelling mistakes; they get into the heart of the text, making sure it’s clear, cohesive, easy to understand, flows well, and keeps readers hooked.

If you’re serious about publishing a top-notch book, investing in affordable book editing services is crucial.

But many authors wonder: “How much does editing cost?” Well, it’s not a simple answer, as editing costs vary based on different factors. However, like any service requiring a skilled professional, figuring out the cost of book editing can be daunting. To ease the confusion, we’ve gathered industry insights to help you understand average rates and the key factors to consider. With these facts, you’ll have a clearer idea of what it might cost to edit your manuscript when you’re ready to self-publish.

In this post, we’ll explore editing costs, offering you tips that will help you plan for this important stage in your book’s journey to publication. Whether you’re new to writing or a pro, knowing these costs helps you prepare for a successful book launch.

What Type of Editing Do You Need?

What Type of Editing Do You Need

Every project is unique. The requirements of one writing project can differ substantially from one another.  Therefore, determining the type of editing your manuscript needs is crucial, so an editor needs to read and assess your work and recommend what type of editing will help in refining the manuscript to its full potential. Here are the main types of editing:

  • Copy Editing: Also known as stylistic or line editing, this focuses on correcting grammar, usage, spelling, punctuation, and other style mechanics. It ensures your manuscript is clear, consistent, correct, and complete on a line-by-line basis.
  • Content Editing: Also called structural editing (often overlapping with copy editing), this provides valuable insights into your manuscript’s content and structure. Additionally, addressing technical and mechanical needs.
  • Proofreading: This is the final review, typically done after formatting and layout, to visually check for errors like cross-references, missing words, and misspellings.

While we suggest that manuscripts receive at least a content edit at minimum, it’s best to follow up with a copy edit and proofread. This thorough approach ensures your book is structurally sound and minimizes credibility-damaging errors upon publication.

Five Factors Influencing Editing Costs

When it comes to estimating the cost of editing a book, it’s crucial to learn that various factors come into play. These factors greatly influence the final amount you will pay for this service.

    While some editor’s fee is based on the amount of time spent on a manuscript, the majority of editors charge fees based on the length of the text of your manuscript. Costs are often calculated per word or per 100 words.
    Consider the editorial requirements of a theoretical physics textbook against those of a novella; if you have a dense manuscript that must comply with a specific style guide and has hundreds of footnotes and citations, it will undoubtedly cost more to do a thorough review. Also, keep in mind that the complexity of your manuscript may necessitate multiple iterations and different types of changes over time.
    The amount of effort required to edit varies by genre. It’s especially important when you’re dealing with a specific issue that demands an editor with specialized knowledge to evaluate your work in context. For example, historical fiction may necessitate considerable fact-checking, so an editor with a background in history (maybe even the era you write about) will have greater insight than a generalist.
    If you are a rookie writer, your book is more likely to contain grammatical errors, a complex structure, narrative holes, general inconsistencies, and so on. As a result, a novice writer’s manuscript will often take longer (or require more rounds) to edit, increasing the cost. Many editors divide each edit type into “simple” and “complex” tiers to illustrate how much attention the text requires. Naturally, many of these variables may be addressed with more expertise and by ensuring that your work arrives in the best possible form for your editor.
    It is to be expected that the more experience or particular knowledge an editor has, the higher the fee they can charge. Professional accreditations that reflect their advanced abilities are also common among more experienced editors. Accredited editors are trained, verified, and certified by industry groups such as Editors Canada, and they can charge more than double the averages indicated above.

Average Cost Range for Different Types of Editing

So, how much does editing cost?

Making your manuscript good enough to begin selling directly to readers or to sign with a literary agency and secure a book contract will require effort. Most likely money.

There are numerous types of editors available at a variety of prices. Some editors charge by the hour, by the word, or by the page. For our purposes, let’s include both per-word rates and the total for an average-length book of 80,000 words. If someone you’re interested in working with charges differently, you may still compare the overall estimate to what’s shown below.

These editing charges are based on the Editorial Freelancer’s Association’s editorial rate chart, which is used by freelance editors, authors, proofreaders, and other professionals. Their graphic of editing rates is updated annually and offers a range of median rates for various editors. That means these price ranges are in the middle of the road.

The EFA uses per-word pricing, which can also be applied to an average word count of 80,000 or you can compare to editors who estimate you by the project, the hour, or by some different formula.

Developmental Editing

Deep editing that addresses large-scale concerns such as story, structure, character development, pacing, voice, and setting. Or nonfiction things like argument, organization, timing, and audience.

.03-.049 per word, or an average of 80,000 words $2,400-$3,920
(Up to $7,100 for specialty topics such as STEM and business.)

Line Editing

Sentence-level editing improves and polishes your book on a micro level, ensuring your words are precise, clear, and transmit maximum impact.

.02-.029 per word, or $1,600 to $2,320.


Extremely detailed fine-tuning that corrects all grammar, syntax, inconsistencies, and occasionally inaccurate facts.

0.02 cents per word to .049 $1,600-$3,920


Proofing is the process of correcting typos, formatting, and pagination mistakes after the book has been formatted and is almost ready for publication. (Remember that you only have to pay for this if you’re self-publishing. If you have a traditional publisher, they will pay for proofing.)

02-.039 $1,600 – $2,120

The rates below are general estimates, and are not part of the EFA survey.)

Editorial Assessment

Overall feedback on a manuscript’s merits but without line notes and with significantly less depth than a developmental edit. The Editorial Freelancer’s Association does not survey for this service but reputable editors tend to charge between $1,000-$1,500.

Full Edit, Or Developing Edit + Line Notes

All of the general comments of a developmental edit, plus a line edit. Also not polled for, this service is labor intensive (and incredibly valued), so expect a higher charge than any of the above. Think $3,000-$5,000.

How to Budget for Editing

How to Budget for Editing

Creating a budget for editing is a pivotal step in the journey to publishing your book. It ensures your manuscript receives the necessary polish without straining your finances. Let’s delve into creating a feasible budget and understanding the significance of prioritizing quality editing.

Determining a Feasible Editing Budget:

Before setting a budget, assess your manuscript’s length and complexity. Longer and more intricate works typically require more editing time and expertise. Identify the editing services your book needs, whether it’s basic proofreading, comprehensive line editing, or substantial structural revisions. Research the prevailing rates for these services in the market. It’s prudent to maintain flexibility in your budget to accommodate unforeseen complexities or extended editing durations. As a general rule of thumb, allocate approximately 10-15% of your total publishing budget exclusively for editing expenses.

Prioritizing Quality Editing:

While it may be tempting to cut corners to save money, compromising on editing quality is ill-advised. Quality editing is instrumental in the success of your book. A meticulously edited manuscript garners favorable reviews from both readers and critics alike. It enhances readability, comprehension, and overall appeal to your target audience. Therefore, view the cost of editing as an investment in refining your book to its fullest potential and fortifying your standing as an author.

By diligently crafting a budget and prioritizing quality editing, you set the stage for a successful publishing journey and ensure your book reaches its maximum potential.

Is It Worth Hiring an Editor?

Yes, it is worthwhile to engage a book editor offering affordable book editing services because of the knowledge they offer to your pages. However, once you know how much it costs to employ a book editor, you may feel a bit overwhelmed by editor charges.

Before you ask this question, “How much does it cost to hire a professional book editor?” And conclude that it’s too much!” Think about this question once: in the long run, how much it’s going to cost you not to hire an experienced editor for your storytelling?

Editors assist you by;

  • Finding inconsistencies that will weaken your credibility
  • Finding typos that you and your beta readers overlooked
  • Fixing story flaws and character arc difficulties.
  • Provide expert feedback and guidance.
  • Offering a fresh, outside view of your manuscript
  • Sharing useful writing techniques

Whether you choose traditional or self-publishing, finding the correct editor is critical to the success of your tale and your career.

Great editors are worth the money!

There is a thing about skilled, and experienced editors that they are not cheap, nor should they be. If you’re looking for an editor with years or even decades of experience in your field, they may indeed cost more.

Assume you want the best possible editing job done on your book (which we believe most authors desire). In such a scenario, it’s worth paying a little more, especially for editing tasks that need a lot of experience and genre knowledge to do, like a developmental edit or a thorough editorial evaluation. That doesn’t mean you can’t work with an outstanding editor on a relatively tight budget; it just means you’ll have to look a little more to find the appropriate individual and/or figure out a payment plan over time.

Fortunately, if an editor is sincerely committed to your project, they are generally prepared to meet you halfway. Again, you can request monthly payments or negotiate a discount, especially if you’ll be working with them on many books.

Be respectful and honest in your communications, and you will undoubtedly find an editor who will work with you.

Choosing the Right Editor for Your Budget

Choosing an editor who meets both your manuscript’s requirements and your budget is a key decision. This decision can have a huge impact on your book’s quality and market success.

Finding an Editor in Your Budget

Begin your search for editors who specialize in your genre. Use writer’s networks, web directories, and professional editing organizations as resources. Once you have established a list, contact them to inquire about their charges. Be open about your financial limits; many editors are prepared to compromise or offer payment options.

Evaluating Samples and References

Always ask potential editors for work samples and references from past clients. This will help you understand their editing style and efficacy. Reviews and testimonials can also be useful indicators of their knowledge and dependability.

Ensure Editor-Author Compatibility

Beyond financial considerations, be sure the editor you hire is someone with whom you can have a good working relationship. Good editor-author compatibility is critical for a productive and successful editing experience. An editor who understands your concept and communicates properly can significantly influence the development of your book.

Find Your Editor Now!

Now that you know what to expect and have context for the question “How much does it cost to hire a book editor,” you can move on to the next step.

Just like you want the appropriate match for a coaching session, so does editing. When you decide to hunt for an editor offering affordable book editing services, you want to learn a little bit about the individual you plan to work with. The topic of how much it costs to hire a book editor involves the expense of time.

Contact a couple of editors offering affordable book editing services and ask about their previous projects. To see if your genres are compatible, you might ask for testimonials or look up the writers they deal with. While editors wear many hats, some have a penchant for certain genres and produce their finest work in those categories.

You took the time to answer, how much does it cost to employ a book editor? Now it’s time to do some research to discover one. In the long term, it is far better to put in the effort upfront than to regret it later.

Are you wondering how to avoid failing in your first editing experience? Simply focus on your research! Do not worry. If you are committed to succeed, you will put in the necessary effort. It’s time to take control of your creative passion and find an editor!

FAQ’s – Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What factors affect the cost of editing a book?

The length, complexity, and type of editing required are important considerations. Extensive revisions or specialist editing, such as developmental editing, may result in higher charges. Furthermore, the editor’s level of experience and expertise can influence cost, as seasoned editors frequently demand higher charges for their services.

  1. Are there several pricing plans for book editing services?

Yes, editing services may be charged by word, page, or hourly. The experience and scope of the editor determine the rate. To discover the best fit for your budget, it’s important to examine several possibilities. Some editors offer packages or discounts for larger projects.

  1. Can I get affordable editing services without compromising on the quality?

Look for editors who charge reasonable charges but produce high-quality work. Consider employing freelance editors or looking at editing packages from respected companies. Additionally, get samples of the editor’s previous work to check that their style and competence match your requirements.

  1. Is it appropriate to discuss editing fees with editors?

Yes, negotiating can be an option, particularly with freelance editors. However, consider the editor’s skills and the value they can add to your project while discussing the fees. It is critical to approach editors to find a mutually beneficial solution that matches both your budget and the editor’s professional standards.

  1. How should I budget for editing my book?

Begin by assessing your manuscript’s requirements and studying typical editing fees. Allocate a certain amount separately for editing from your total publication budget, ensuring that you have enough amount to cover professional editing services.

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