In an ideal universe the money side would be irrelevant to choosing the best editor for your novel and your development as a writer. In the actual world cost is often a barrier, and thus a necessary consideration at the earliest stage.
This is why I have a clear pricing formula that lets authors know upfront how much I will charge for their edit. It’s not a final quote, nor a guarantee that I’ll be able to accept your edit, but it does allow you to compare me with other editors and decide if my services represent good value for you and fall within budget.
For my usual editing services prices for 2023 are below. I price in euros because I live and am registered self-employed in Spain, but if you prefer a price in pounds or dollars please just ask.
Development edit: flat fee of 100€ + 0.70c per word
Copy/line edit: flat fee of 100€ + 0.95c per word
Some FAQs are answered below:
What are example prices for a 75,000 words novel:
Based on the above, if you were to use me for the two standard editing stages on a (typical) 75,000 words manuscript it would cost 625€ (dev edit) + 812€ (copy edit) = 1437€
Why the flat fee component to the price?
To even out the fact that shorter novels take me proportionally (to word count) more time. Arranging the edit, invoicing, and follow-up communication are all similar whether the manuscript is 50,000 words or 150,000 so I price this way, with the flat fee component, to adjust for that.
Are there any taxes such as VAT in addition to the prices above?
No. In Spain editing novels is a service which does not require IVA (Spanish sales tax) to be levied. Additionally, as my editing work is invariably for clients outside the EU it constitutes services for export and so is exempt from sales tax.
The figures above therefore give final prices.
Does editing have to be so expensive?
Detailed, thorough editing is time-consuming, skilled work and that inevitably has its cost. There are “editing-lite” services out there, the most common of which is some form of manuscript appraisal/report. I’m personally unconvinced by the value of these for most authors, which is why I don’t usually offer them. Literature is extraordinarily competitive and I believe that for a novel to have any chance of success it is vital that everyone involved does the very best job they can, not some halfway house. This guides my editing and therefore sets its price.
I welcome authors who look around and compare my services and prices with other editors. You can find the recommended minimum rates for editing from the UK Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (which I’m not a member of) here:
I charge less than half of these rates (I target 20€ gross per billable hour), which I’m able to do because I live in the north of Spain where the cost of living is far lower than English-speaking countries.
So are your prices in fact too cheap? Are you, not wishing to be rude, a good editor?
I believe it is essential for an author to have full confidence in their editor, so I’m keen to answer this and any other questions before you make a commitment.
One thing which can help build confidence in my editing ability is author testimonials, which you can see on my testimonials page.
Another is to try me out with a sample edit.
Certainly my feedback from clients to date has been overwhelming positive, but good editor and the right editor for a specific author/novel are two different things and I encourage authors to research carefully.
It’s been pointed out to me by clients that I could charge more than I (currently) do. So why don’t I? I started editing in 2017, thus 2023 is my seventh year in the profession. I’ve done some work for small publishers, but it’s been mostly for authors who self-publish. At this stage in my career I have two options:
1) bump up my rates until demand drops to only just enough to fill my calendar, or
2) keep my rates low to give me more demand than I can handle, allowing me to choose manuscripts which truly enthuse me and which I believe have real potential to work on.
I regard option 2 as more satisfying and the better path towards the long-term career I want. I get less income at this point in time, but I get choice about the projects I accept and thus a greater likelihood that I’m editing quality manuscripts that go on to get publishing deals and sell successfully.
Is there flexibility about what type of edit you do, and how soon can you start?
Some (by all means get in touch to ask if I can do what you’re looking for), but broadly I’ve found from experience that the two editing stages I offer are the most effective option for the vast majority of authors. If an author wants just one stage that’s absolutely fine (but note that I typically won’t agree to copy edit a manuscript I haven’t done a development edit for).
I’m normally booked up 3-6 months in advance and also running a waiting list. If you’re considering me it’s best to get in touch as soon as possible to discuss an editing slot for your manuscript.