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ScarletM.Sinclaire
July 17th, 2018, 04:54 PM
I landed my first professional editor. I spoke with them this morning and went over everything with her. She said the total cost of editing the book with both developmental edits and copy editing, will be $4,000. I mean, I knew editing would cost a lot, but never thought it would cost that much. She did state that it could be broken down into payments of $500 per month, but even then that's a lot of money. Is that a normal price range for doing both edits?

bdcharles
July 17th, 2018, 05:24 PM
It seems like a lot, but maybe this editor is amazing. I follow a few editors on Twitter and, to take one example, Jeni Chappelle, she charges about $8-$12 per 1000 words for each edit session. For my 140,000 word MS that would be about $2800. How long is your MS? Does she charge by the word?

Bayview
July 17th, 2018, 11:53 PM
Those are pro rates, so you'd better be getting pro results. I'm a bit worried by the idea of "landing" an editor--was there some sort of audition process?

Beyond that, I'd want to know: what else has this editor worked on? Some novels in your genre that have sold really well, I'd hope. And then I'd contact the authors of those novels to get feedback on the editor and the process and the rest of it. I'd also want to know what the editor thinks of your MS right now - what are the strengths and weaknesses and what does she think she can improve? I'd expect her to do a sample edit (possibly the first chapter) and I'd expect you to be really impressed with her work.

Good editing is a tough job and takes a lot of time and I don't think $4K is out of line for the work a good editor can do. But... you need to be damn sure this is a good editor before you cough up that kind of money.

Jack of all trades
July 18th, 2018, 09:49 AM
Read the contract carefully. You will be held to the terms outlined there.

That is quite a lot of money. I would hesitate to proceed with a sample edit of my work. Something to give me an idea if it has the potential of being money well spent, or simply wasted.

Pete_C
July 18th, 2018, 10:22 AM
Copy editing is pretty straightforward: find the errors and correct/remove. Most people can break that cost down to a per 1K word rate. As others have said, you're probably spending $2500 to $3000 on that.

Developmental editing is very much a case of 'how long is a piece of string' when it comes to costing. It's very much a case of looking for weaknesses in your plot, character flaws, sub-plot analysis, etc.. It's unlikely that two developmental editors will ever offer the same results, whereas copy editors should. You're being charged an extra $1,000 to $1,500 for that persons special skills, understanding and expertise in your genre (and sub-genre). Do they have provable skills in that genre? Have other authors waxed lyrical about what they added to the success of their books?

Some people need developmental editing, others don't. It's very much about the strength of your story, plot and sub-plots, characters, voice, etc..

That extra money could be the best money you've ever spent, or it could be money that simply confirms what you already now, or it might even be money that takes your book in the wrong direction.

I know a few developmental editors that work for large publishers, and they charge way more than the figure quoted here to do what they do.

If you need developmental editing, get a written definition of what they will do, how they will do it and what qualifies them to do it.

By the way, never be pleased to land an editor. You're paying them. They work for you. If they start calling the shots, walk away very very quickly.

ETA: This might be better in the Editing section rather than in Writing Discussions.

Bloggsworth
July 18th, 2018, 11:18 AM
Given that I was quoted 2,000 for writing a book on the history of my old school, I would suggest that $4,000 was at least $3,000 too much.

Bayview
July 18th, 2018, 11:49 AM
Given that I was quoted 2,000 for writing a book on the history of my old school, I would suggest that $4,000 was at least $3,000 too much.

I wonder how much you would have had to pay to get that book edited into something worth reading?

Renaissance Man
July 18th, 2018, 12:40 PM
I know from word of mouth that $0.06 a word is standard in America for editing. Is it extortion? I'll pay that much only once a few Beta readers have helped with the development half. Though honestly I'd research British, Canadian and Australian editing costs, first, just in case they're more honest about prices.

Bayview
July 18th, 2018, 12:45 PM
I know from word of mouth that $0.06 a word is standard in America for editing. Is it extortion? I'll pay that much only once a few Beta readers have helped with the development half. Though honestly I'd research British, Canadian and Australian editing costs, first, just in case they're more honest about prices.

I don't think "honesty" needs to come into it, does it? If you don't think the editor's worth the price, don't pay the price, but they're not dishonest for charging for their work. There's nothing unethical about attaching a financial value to labour and expertise and ability...

ScarletM.Sinclaire
July 18th, 2018, 05:41 PM
Those are pro rates, so you'd better be getting pro results. I'm a bit worried by the idea of "landing" an editor--was there some sort of audition process?

Beyond that, I'd want to know: what else has this editor worked on? Some novels in your genre that have sold really well, I'd hope. And then I'd contact the authors of those novels to get feedback on the editor and the process and the rest of it. I'd also want to know what the editor thinks of your MS right now - what are the strengths and weaknesses and what does she think she can improve? I'd expect her to do a sample edit (possibly the first chapter) and I'd expect you to be really impressed with her work.

Good editing is a tough job and takes a lot of time and I don't think $4K is out of line for the work a good editor can do. But... you need to be damn sure this is a good editor before you cough up that kind of money.


I'm sorry for the confusion, it wasn't an audition process. I should've stated I got an editor.

As for the sample edits, she stated something about not doing anything right now because she's booked out until November. She told me that once November opened up, I can give $100 to hold my spot and she would work with me. She has a masters in English literature, she's has been editing for 14 years, owns her own editing business and does side work for another business. She also runs a blogg and has a facebook page and her own website.

I ended up backing out of the deal though because I don't think I'm quite ready to afford something that high, even if the service is great. I don't want a chance of missing my payments (the contract stated that interest rates will apply if I miss my payments) because I plan on moving by the end of this year. Hopefully next year will be better and we can work together.

moderan
July 19th, 2018, 04:54 PM
I know from word of mouth that $0.06 a word is standard in America for editing. Is it extortion? I'll pay that much only once a few Beta readers have helped with the development half. Though honestly I'd research British, Canadian and Australian editing costs, first, just in case they're more honest about prices.
That's not standard editor-rate. That's SFWA pro word-rate for published fiction. 4K for copy-and-developmental editing is very reasonable. For a good-sized novel, you're talking about a couple month's worth of full-time work by a qualified professional. It's about what I charge to develop an anthology, which takes a similar commitment of time/resources.