Of course, this is the all important question, isn’t it? It depends on what we decide you need from me. At this time, my fee ranges from $6 to $8 per 1000 words, with the low end being for line editing and the high end being for developmental/copy editing.
So, what do I mean by that? Isn’t editing just editing? Not so much, no.
Here’s my breakdown – other editors may have their own way of looking at their fees and services, and your mileage may truly vary.
First – to see whether or not we are compatible and will work together well, I will edit 5-10 pages from the middle of your story, at no charge. You should be able to get a feel for my style of editing and I should be able to get a feel for your style of writing, and then we can decide if we want to move forward or not. We’ll be very adult about it – not everyone is a good fit, and that’s okay.
We’ll discuss deadlines and turn-around times, and how many edits you want or need, much of which depends on how far along you are on your book, and how much self-editing you’ve already done.
Once we’ve agreed on what type of editing you require, and how soon you need to have it back, we can finalize the price. I would prefer to be paid 1/2 up front and the remainder on delivery of the final draft.
So – what are the levels of editing and what can you expect from me, editing-wise, for each one?
- Line Edit – $6 per 1000 words. If your book has been ruthlessly self-edited and you just need a few polishing touches, this is the edit for you. When line editing, I will be working on grammar, subject/verb agreement, tenses (oh, those pesky shifts in tenses!), punctuation, misspellings, story continuity/inconsistencies, basic fact checking, dialogue tags, and points of view. Includes a final proofread on edited areas. I will comment with suggestions if I notice something else that may have escaped your diligent self-edit, but for more in-depth editing, please see the next category – copy editing.
- Copy Edit – $7 per 1000 words. When copy editing, I will be working on a whole slew of other things – this is where I’ll have your back, writer! I’ll check sentence structure, scene transitions, paragraph transitions, clarity – is what you want to get across coming through loud and clear, or are the waters muddy? How authentic does the dialogue sound? How can we get rid of the dreaded info dump? Are you using a particular word or phrase so much that it’s noticeable? Is there a better word choice? Does the story flow well? How’s the pacing? Does the reader want to turn the page or skip over whole sections? Are the characters consistent and distinguishable from each other? If your character comes into the room barefoot, does she later (in the same scene) tap across the floor in her high heels? During this edit, I will read the story out loud, and I urge you to do the same, if you haven’t already. This is the editing process that catches all the little things that make a story more appealing to the reader. This edit will be full of comments/suggestions and we may argue back and forth a little – that, too, is okay. In the end, it’s your story, and you have the final say so as to what stays in and what comes out and what edits you’re willing to make.
- Developmental Edit – $8 per 1000 words. On the higher end, fee-wise, because this editing process is where we get down to the nitty gritty elements of your story. Such as – what is the plot? What is the conflict? Is it resolvable? How? Where is the tipping point? Is the first part compelling enough to draw the reader into the rest of the story? Do the scenes flow smoothly into each other? Did you start at the right place? Did you provide enough closure? Tie up all the loose ends? Are there superfluous scenes/characters? Do you need additional secondary characters? Is the story believable? Is it consistent? Is there a theme you want to get across? What is it? Does the story deliver? How are the tension levels? Is it a page turner? How much world-building do you need to do? Have you thought of everything? Is there a giant plot hole you haven’t noticed? Will the reader believe the story? Will it grab them emotionally or leave them cold? Do parts of the story need more development? Less development? Just because you’ve come up with the characters’ entire life histories down to their 2nd grade teacher’s name, is that necessary for the story? If not, out it goes. Are the characters fleshed out? Do we feel like we know them? Do we feel like we want to know them? Do we love them or hate them – if we don’t care at all, why are they there? Do the main characters develop as the story goes on? Do one or both have a hero’s journey? Whose story is it? Did you give that character enough of a voice? Is there an unreliable narrator? How deep is the point of view? That, and so much more, are hashed out in the developmental editing process. It can be painful. It can be sublime. Either way, the story is the winner, in the end.
- Proofreading – 0.002 cents per word. Minimum to no editing, just looking for spelling and grammar errors, punctuation errors. Final edit before publishing.
- Editorial Review – $25/25,000 words. Much like an acquisition review at a publishing house, I’ll read what you have written and give you an overall assessment of it. If you’ve completed the self-editing process and are ready to publish but can’t afford the above levels of editing, yet you still want/need feedback on your book before you take that final plunge, this is the edit for you. I’ll look at plot, character development, pacing, point of view, consistency, and overall grammar and will point out areas where the story needs some help and further revising before it’s ready for line editing and/or publishing. I will also recommend what level of editing, if any, I think your story needs. Where you take it from there is totally up to you.