This post first published 9/6/08 and not much has changed, including debate over fair and affordable editing costs.
It's all well and good to tell a writer they need a professional editor to peruse their manuscript before submitting to an agent or publisher. But, how much does that cost?
An informal industry perusal yields quite a range of costs. Let's take a look at some prices as well as methods of pricing. It depends in part on what you're buying. A line editor might charge $25 per hour and edit on average 10 pages an hour. Some editors simply charge $2.50 per page, which makes the math rather easy. A 300-page novel would cost you $750 for editing services.
But, what does that get you? Just a cleaning up of grammar, spelling, and typos as a rule. Some good editors will take a little longer and make deeper suggestions to improve the writing. But don't expect too much more than the basics for that price. It's still money well-spent, and it can mean the difference between being accepted or the story languishing in a drawer.
Can you get editing for cheaper? Sure. I've heard as low as $300 per manuscript. That's a steal, and the immediate reaction - you get what you pay for - isn't necessarily true. The editor might be great, but just starting out. Or the editor might be really fast and good, so can be highly competitive. Determine the price you can pay, and then look for referrals to get the job done. No matter how good your writing, it can always be better, and a keen eye can be just the tool to polish your manuscript to a gleaming shine.
Have you had your manuscript professionally edited? What did you pay? If you're an editor, what do you charge for what level of service? Interested writers want to know.
Dani Greer is a professional artist, writer, editor, and special projects coordinator for Little Pickle Press. You can read more at her blog, check out her guide, or follow her on Twitter. Oh, and make friends on Facebook.