I offer several different editing options. In general, rates range from $0.006–$0.03 per word for novel-length fiction (about $450–$2250 for a 75K manuscript) depending on the services required. While I do edit academic writing and other non-fiction genres, the services and rates described on this page apply to fiction manuscripts only.
I’ve provided general rate ranges below as a guide, but each client receives a firm quote based on a representative sample of work, on which I normally perform a free sample edit. (The exception is proofreading, which is charged at a flat rate of $0.006 per word.)
Proofreading is a final check for errors that were not caught during prior rounds of editing (or that were introduced during editing). It is not a replacement for copyediting or “big picture” editing.
The reason proofreading needs to be performed on an already-edited manuscript rather than one that hasn’t yet been edited is that proofing isn’t the time to make decisions about how to do things—it’s the time to ensure that the decisions already made have been uniformly enforced. Making these decisions while proofreading will distract your editor from spotting errors like typos or missing quotation marks—this is why your editor missed them in the first place—so it’s essential that the proofing pass consist only of proofreading if maximum accuracy is to be achieved.
Thus, my test for deciding what to fix during proofreading is, “Could the author possibly have intended to do this in this way? If so, leave it as is.” Split infinitives, failure to use certain commas, like those between two independent clauses, and overuse of exclamation points or ellipses are examples of decisions or practices I might personally avoid, but which someone else might not. On the other hand, in my judgment, everyone wants to eliminate typos and hyphenate compounds correctly, and no one wants to confuse homonyms like grizzly and grisly, have multiple chapters called Chapter 21, or leave off punctuation at the end of a sentence, so these issues fall within the purview of proofreading.
- Spelling errors
- Inconsistencies in spelling and capitalization
- Homonym errors (e.g., reign/rein, palette/pallet/palate)
- Incorrect hyphenation (that is, whether a compound should be open, closed, or hyphenated)
- Missing or duplicate words
- Formatting issues (e.g., ensuring that quotation marks face the correct direction, dashes are not rendered as double hyphens, extra spaces are deleted)
- Conspicuous punctuation errors
- Chapter numbering
It does not deal with the finer points of grammar, mechanics, and usage, nor with content, plot, style, etc.
When an author who has previously hired me to copyedit a manuscript (or perform any service that includes copyediting) later hires me to perform a subsequent proofread of the same manuscript, proofreading also consists of an additional step: Before starting the proofreading pass, I use Word’s “Compare” function to compare the edited manuscript I returned to the author with the version the author sends back to me for proofreading, ensuring that the author hasn’t accidentally missed or rejected any of the fixes applied during the initial editing. Since it’s usually the case that the author has missed some of these corrections, sometimes a lot of them, I recommend that editing clients contract me for a separate proofreading pass whenever time and budget allow.
Proofreading is appropriate for highly polished manuscripts that have already been professionally copyedited and contain a limited number of superficial errors. Proofreading includes at least one pass through your manuscript.
I provide proofreading services at a general rate of $0.006 per word ($450 for a 75K manuscript).
I also offer two-pass proofreading, in which both I and another editor proofread your project and I combine the results into one document (this way, you get the benefit of two proofreaders without the hassle of having to merge the changes or schedule with two vendors). Two-pass proofreading is available for $0.009 per word ($675 for 75K).
Copyediting, incorrectly referred to by some as proofreading, is about understanding and implementing all the picky little rules and conventions that readers expect authors to follow.
I offer two levels of copyediting, depending on whether an author simply wants to have objective issues like spelling and usage errors addressed or also wants help with more subjective issues of style.
Basic copyediting includes:
- Identifying and correcting errors in spelling, grammar, mechanics, punctuation, tense, etc. For example:
- Subject/verb agreement
- Parallel constructions
- Past tense versus past perfect tense
- Collocations (that is, which words go with which other words)
- Dialogue tags and punctuating dialogue
- Italics versus quotation marks
- Misplaced modifiers
- Fixing inconsistencies (e.g., two acceptable variants of a word are both used, like gray/grey, or a character’s name is spelled in multiple ways)
- Checking and fixing the formatting and internal consistency of your manuscript
- Querying and, where feasible, fixing issues such as awkward, wordy or unclear language
- Correction of commonly known facts (e.g., Paris is not the capital of Spain)
- Examination of small amounts of text in a foreign language, if it happens to be a language I can help you with. (Consider this a free bonus, as I’m not native-level proficient at any of these languages and may miss things—but I’ve helped many authors who relied on Google Translate more than perhaps they should have.) This includes: French, Spanish, Latin, and a little bit of German.
- Americanization, if applicable
Copyediting involves at least two complete passes through the manuscript (both performed during the initial round of edits; if you want me to verify your corrections after you’ve gone through the edited manuscript, please ask about proofreading) and a reasonable amount of follow-up e-mail support so you can ask for clarification or additional information about my comments, edits and evaluation.
Copyediting covers all that proofreading covers and more, but it does not include a separate proofreading pass, nor does it include content editing. A style sheet to help you (and any future editors) keep track of authorial and editorial decisions is available on request.
My copyediting rates range from $0.008 per word ($600 for 75K) for works that are in very good shape to about $0.015 ($1125 for 75K) or occasionally higher for works that need a great deal of attention.
Deluxe copyediting is my name for the service often known as line editing. This service includes everything covered by basic copyediting, plus additional attention to more subjective issues.
Deluxe copyediting addresses:
- Everything covered by basic copyediting
- “Hooks” (opening and closing chapters effectively)
- Chapter and scene divisions
- Wordiness and purple prose
- Awkward, confusing, or redundant language
- Overuse of favorite words, phrases, and grammatical constructions
- Problems with flow and transitions
- “Local” content issues (non sequiturs, a character’s illogical reaction to an event that has just occurred)
- Repeated information
- Showing versus telling
- A limited amount of research to check facts or plausibility (for instance, if you have someone sitting in a rocking chair in the year 1642 and that sounds wrong to me, I’ll check to find out if this is an anachronism and let you know if so)
- And much more
Essentially, this service consists of basic copyediting plus intensive editing for style, including in-line edits and marginal comments. Content editing and (separate) proofreading are not included in deluxe copyediting. Deluxe copyediting involves at least two complete passes through the manuscript (both performed during the initial round of edits; if you want me to verify your corrections after you’ve gone through the edited manuscript, please ask about proofreading) and a reasonable amount of follow-up e-mail support so you can ask for clarification or additional information about my comments, edits and evaluation.
Rates start at $0.01 per word ($750 for 75K) for work that only needs lighter editing and can reach as high as $0.018 for heavier editing.
Content editing, also called developmental or substantive editing, is big-picture editing.
It includes attention to issues such as:
- Plotting and story structure
- Point of view
- Showing versus telling
- Clichéd story elements
Content editing does not include copyediting or line editing—if you want editing for both language and content, check out comprehensive editing and line editing below.
My content editing services include a detailed narrative evaluation of your manuscript from a content editor’s perspective. Depending on the project, I may also mark up your manuscript with marginal comments as needed. Content editing involves at least two complete passes through the manuscript and a reasonable amount of follow-up e-mail support so you can ask for clarification or additional information about my comments and evaluation.
Rates start at $0.008 per word ($600 for 75K) for content editing alone.
Comprehensive editing combines content editing with deluxe copyediting. In this package, you get everything described above (other than a separate proofreading pass). Comprehensive editing includes editing for “big picture” issues, including plot, continuity, and structure, as well as for grammatical and mechanical correctness, style and flow, etc.
With comprehensive editing, you receive a heavily marked-up manuscript, along with detailed feedback on content, style, and copyediting issues, a style sheet (on request), and a reasonable amount of follow-up e-mail support.
Comprehensive editing is performed as one “round” of editing (I make multiple passes, but there is no authorial intervention or “back and forth” between editor and author in the middle). Thus, this service is best for authors who don’t anticipate having to rewrite a large percentage of their book because of content issues. (The follow-up support can be used to have me edit smaller portions of new or revised text, equal to about 10% of the original word count.)
Comprehensive editing is a great value, and I particularly recommend this for newer authors or any authors who want to be sure they’ve covered all the bases.
Rates begin at $0.015 for comprehensive editing (about $1125 for 75K).
As of 2014, I am pleased to offer a new service. Line editing is essentially the deluxe self-publishing package.
Like my comprehensive editing, it includes substantive editing, editing for style, and copyediting, but line editing also involves an authorial revision stage in the middle of two full editorial rounds, plus a separate proofreader at the end.
Here’s how it works:
After we work out the rates and timeline, you send me your MS, and I perform all levels of editing on it and return it to you. You make your revisions and, when the MS is as perfect as you can make it, you send it back to me for another round of comprehensive editing. When I’ve finished, I send it along to a trusted proofreader. I review the proofreader’s work, accept and reject changes as necessary, and then return the manuscript to you, ready for publication!
Line editing rates typically range from $0.02 to $0.05 per word, depending on the quality of the manuscript. As with all my services, a firm quote will be provided based on the sample edit.
Remember, every manuscript is different—if you don’t see exactly the services you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to contact me for a custom editing solution!