How much should editing cost?

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post on the cost of editing…..

I hire a very good copy editor who is worth every cent that I pay her. (Full disclosure: I can’t afford to hire her for my website so don’t blame any mistakes in here on her.)

Newbie writers sometimes express amazement that someone like me should need a copy editor. To them, I say: EVERYONE needs a copy editor. Their next question: How much does it cost?

If you have ever thought you might want to hire a copy editor, have a look at a very thorough Blake Atwood blog post, headlined: “Looking for a book editor? Here’s how much you should expect to pay.”

Blake spells it all out in picayune detail, including:

For a 70,000-word book, your editing costs could be:

  • Developmental editing: $.08 per word, or $5,600 total
  • Basic copyediting: $.018 per word, or $1,260 total
  • Proofreading: $.0113, or $791 total

(He also defines the differences between developmental editing and basic copy editing, which will be helpful to some.)

For corporate editing I’ve found that editors more typically charge by the hour. And in my city, at least, that rate tends to be approximately $50/hour.

It’s well worth it!