Barrett Manor

Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Dear Author Looking For Editing Services...

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

The Editorial Freelancers Association recently released their guide to common editorial rates. This is what you should be paying an editor to review and correct your work.

Want basic copyediting for your 100,000 word tome? A fast copyeditor using the lowest rate should charge you $1200, if I've got the math right. (That would be about 400 pages at 10 pages an hour, at $30 an hour) I've had people tell me $300 is too much for basic copyediting for manuscript of that length. That's minimum wage at best, and you'll get what you pay for.*

The last author to offer me that sort of rate had a manuscript overrun with typos (that guarantees I'll be working slower than 10 pages an hour right there) and apparently thought providing a style sheet was too much work. So what if you were Frank Herbert, turned in the manuscript to Dune,  and the copy editor decided you meant Maud Dib? THIS is why you turn in a style sheet. The copyeditor doesn't know whether you're making a mistake on every instance of that word with a hyphen, apostrophe, or (seemingly random) capital letter, or if you meant it - particularly if you're not consistent with how you spell the word. That editor can unintentionally ruin your book, and send you a bill for it. And yes, you'd better pay it, because it's YOUR responsibility to hand over a style sheet.

You're not a writer? Well, go read that list of rates. A 100,000 word manuscript will run about 400 pages using their formula. THIS is one reason why professionally edited books don't sell for $.99 every day. Any publisher worth their salt will do a developmental edit, a line edit, AND a copyedit on a work. Add layout expenses to that. Yes, ebooks need to have that done as well. It may not take as long to produce an ebook, but how many cheap (and not-so-cheap) ebooks (and conversions) have you seen that had formatting problems? A publisher (even a self-publisher) needs to make a profit on that book and should price their book accordingly. 

The next time you complain about the cost of books or the cost of editing services, remember, you get what you pay for. And don't give one-star reviews because the author or publisher spent the money on a good copyedit, layout, and cover. Hey, that's what attracted you to the book in the first place!

*I have a friend who edits for a penny a word, which is pretty close to the rate I quoted above. She's darned good, yet people balk at those rates. It's a pity. They're missing out on a hell of a deal.

Tags: Writing  Publishing

Filed under: Writing   Publishing         
11/7/2013 8:32:47 PM
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