How Much Does an Editor Cost?

From time to time I’m asked how much I’d charge to edit someone’s book.

At present, I am not editing for individuals. As a freelancer for a national nonprofit organization, I stay as busy as I want to be just editing the assignments they send me.

Perhaps it will help some writers, however, if I quote the rate chart of the Editorial Freelancers Association:

Editorial Rates

Updated: June 2012

Common editorial rates —regardless of whether a project is flat rate or hourly— tend to fall within the ranges indicated below. These should be used only as a rough guideline; rates vary considerably depending on the nature of the work, the time frame of the assignment, the degree of special expertise required, and other factors. The industry standard for a manuscript page, however, is a firm 250 words.

Type of Work Estimated Pace Range of Fees
EDITING    
Editing, basic copyediting 5-10 ms pgs/hr $30-40/hr
Editing, heavy copyediting 2–5 ms pgs/hr $40–50/hr
Editing, website copyediting   $40-50/hr
Editing, developmental 1–5 pgs/hr $45–55/hr
Editing, substantive or line 1–6 ms pgs/hr $40–60/hr
FACT CHECKING   $30-40/hr
INDEXING 8-20 pr pg/hr $35-65/hr
$5.50-12/pr ind pg
LAYOUT    
Layout, books 6-10 pgs/hr $45-85/hr
Layout, newsletters 1-4 pgs/hr $40-100/hr
Layout, websites   $16-20/pg
MANUSCRIPT EVALUATION   $45-55/hr
PERMISSIONS   $40-50/hr
PROJECT MANAGEMENT   $9-30/pr pg
$40-90/hr
PROOFREADING 9-13 ms pgs/hr $30-35/hr
RESEARCHING   $40-75/hr
TRANSCRIBING variable $3-5/pg
TRANSLATING 300-500 wds/hr $40-50/hr
WEB DESIGN   $50-75/hr
WRITING 1-3 ms pgs/hr  
Writing, fiction   $40-50/hr
20¢-25¢/wd
Writing, ghostwriting   $50-60/hr
26¢-50¢/wd
Writing, grants/proposals/sales/PR   $50-60/hr
30¢-95¢/wd
Writing, journalism   $40-50/hr
26¢-50¢/wd
Writing, medical   $60-70/hr
80¢-95¢/wd
Writing, nonspecified   $40-100/hr
20¢-$2/wd
Writing, technical/trade   $50-60/hr
45¢-55¢/wd
NOTE   ind = indexable page, ms = manuscript, pr = printed, pg = page, hr = hour, wd = word

© 2014 Editorial Freelancers Association | All rights reserved |

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