An editing job I completed recently for a satisfied client (and a layoff ☺) made me rethink my approach. Essentially, I’ve cut my rate in half with the idea that most writers can’t afford an extensive service—they simply want to catch all the typos, misused words, and inconsistencies before they submit anywhere.
I just sent this proposal to a prospective client, and I thought I’d post it here as well—in case anyone is considering my services and would like more detail.
I’m willing to undercut the industry-standard rate and edit for $2.25 a page. By page, I mean industry submission standard: double space, 12-point Times font, with approximately 1.5 inches of white space (including footers) on all sides.
An 80,000-word novel should print out somewhere around 325 pages, depending on how much back-and-forth dialogue you have. $2.25 a page at 325 pages is $731.25. Which sounds like a lot of money! If it makes you feel any better, I’m paying someone to edit my current 347-page novel right now. She’s charging me $28. per hour, with no cap and no estimate of cost.
Another option is to pay by the hour at $25 an hour. This will work out to less money if your novel is pretty clean to start with and has a lot of back-and-forth dialogue. (Expository pages are denser and slower.) Also, if you only want proofreading and syntax suggestions (no plot/structure feedback), then the per-hour rate will save you money. Even when I work per hour, I put a cap on the project. In this case (325 pages), regardless of which pricing structure you chose, the cap would be $731.25.
I’m also willing to peruse the first 20 pages and see how it goes. If it’s moving quickly, I’ll recommend a per-hour structure. The last novel I edited was 110,000 words and took about 32 hours. A 75,000-word mystery would likely take around 20 hours and cost $500 or less.
Other details: If you send me the Word document, I’ll print it here and mail the hard copy edits back to you at my expense.
I would love to edit your novel, and I hope I can work something out with you. I have references! Please contact me if you have any questions.
PS I posted a blog about commas on the Blood-Red Pencil, if you want a peek at my editing style.