Congratulations! You’re done writing your dream book and have moved past the biggest stage of preparing your book for publishing. But there’s a bit of a bummer because the process doesn’t end here. Putting down your thoughts on the pages may have felt like a dream come true, and you’re very close to putting your work in front of your readers.
Your story needs to go through rounds of editing to make it look smooth, professional, and polished to make sure your audience enjoys your work. This is where you can deviate a bit: you may decide to go through your book and edit it yourself or simply take help from a professional editing service.
Sure, you can do it yourself or even ask a friend or family member to review it. But the truth is, you can miss out on a lot of details when self-editing your book because you must have gone through your book multiple times and are likely to skip potential errors and mistakes in the text.
Moreover, having a relative or friend review your book as beta readers can help you spot errors. Still, since they’re neither professional nor experienced, there is a high chance your story turns out to be a disaster.
But worry not. We’re here to help you figure out how you can get expert editorial services and figure out what your book needs. We will guide you step by step about the types of editing, editing cost, things to consider before hiring your own editor, and what to ask an editor to receive a perfectly polished book.
How Much Does an Editor Cost?
When you decide to hire an editor for your book, you’ll come across people who work on different aspects of the story and serve different roles. There’s the person who analyses your book and gives you an in-depth insight into what your entire manuscript may be missing. They only share critiques and do not actually fix your mistakes. Then is a person who knows how to market your book and develop effective strategies to promote it. And the people who are experts at the English language and can improve your story to make it look eloquent and professional (copy editor or line editor) and those who fix typos and minor errors (proofreaders).
Now coming back to the main question, the cost of an editor depends on the type of edit you’re getting. It also depends on factors like your deadline, desired experience level, the extent of editing, and a lot more. Following are the industry rates for different types of editing:
How Much Should You Pay?
The first step is to determine the kind of editing you want. A round of developmental edits is essential when your story has been freshly written and has tons of mistakes. But it’s possible that you don’t need a developmental edit and have an editorial review instead.
Once you have decided this, be ready to be an excellent budget to an editor who has been in the industry for longer than amateurs. Some factors that determine the overall editing cost are:
Editorial Assessment or Editorial Review
If you’re looking to get your book edited, you may wonder what editorial assessment is and how much it costs. Editorial assessment, also known as manuscript critique, provides authors with an objective evaluation of their manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses and suggestions for improvement.
This can help determine whether or not it would be worth your time and money to pay an editor to make changes to your manuscript before submission. Keep reading to know more information on editorial assessment, including examples of common problems that editors look for when assessing a manuscript.
What is Editorial Assessment?
Editorial assessments area a comprehensive review of your book. It involves an in-depth report where a professional editor appraises aspects of your book, such as content, readability, design, market appeal, and audience fit.
An editorial assessment report or editorial letter will provide you with specific feedback on ways to make your book more appealing to readers looking for similar books. You will receive a clear set of recommendations about all aspects of your story from the start till the end. This analysis can be conducted by phone or email, depending on what is most convenient for you.
But since this type of editing or review may not be essential at all times, book editors for hire may decide that editorial assessment is not appropriate for your book at a particular stage. Consequently, they will give you an honest opinion and recommend other options. For example, editing or self-publishing services or a new publisher could improve your chances of success in both sales and critical acclaim. Ghostwriting Services takes pride in being able to offer unbiased advice regarding who might be best suited to publishing your work.
Editorial Assessment Cost
As per Reedsy’s analysis of self-publishing costs, the costs associated with editorial assessment for an 80-000 word manuscript can be an average of $900 USD. Now, this price may seem steep for the service you receive because you may wonder why such a high cost when you’re not even getting a thorough edit of your book?
Consider this: would you want to hire a book proofreading services to go through a manuscript that has inherent developmental errors? No, because it would be a huge waste of your money and time. Some authors can fall short here and go through some rough experiences if they choose to work with unprofessional editors for their self-published books. To self-publish a successful book, most editors who have been a part of traditional publishing houses would recommend getting an editorial review if you don’t want to work with developmental editors for now.
Though you may encounter different prices at various marketplaces, expect to pay a flat fee of at least $10-$12 USD per 1000 words for an editorial assessment. In exchange for this price, you’ll receive a lengthy and in-depth edit letter. In addition, some editors may also include a post-critique conference via Skype or phone, which can be an added benefit. This conference may include the following:
When Should You Seek Editorial Assessment?
Editorial assessments are non-mandatory, but they may be advisable if you’re seeking a traditional publishing book deal through a publishing house. If you already have an agent or publisher lined up to work with your manuscript, an assessment can help determine if your work meets the expectations of that particular house—and what your next steps might be for making sure your manuscript is as marketable as possible.
For example, an editor at one house may recommend changes in order to appeal more to young adults; at another, she may recommend changes to make it more appealing to readers over 40.
Why choose editorial assessment when you can get a full edit?
Editorial Assessment gives you an overview of your text, ensuring you have all of your ideas in place and that they flow well. When we say it gives you an overview, we mean just that—you will get feedback on whether or not your writing seems complete to us, not a line-by-line edit.
Moreover, an editorial assessment can be more affordable than a full edit, depending on the length of your manuscript. Or, if you have already edited your book but are a bit unsure about a few elements of your story, this is where you can benefit from a round of an editorial book review.
Difference between editorial assessment and developmental edit
Before we dive into what exactly an editorial assessment entails, let’s take a look at what developmental editing is. The difference between editorial assessment and developmental editing comes down to specificity. In an editorial review, your editor will give you general feedback on aspects of your manuscript that need work.
In comparison, developmental edits are more specific and holistic than editorial assessments, as they focus on fixing every flawed aspect of your story. This means that with each chapter or section of a book, you receive edits on a variety of different elements such as story flow, sentence structure, character and thematic development, dialogue, pacing, and other factors all at once rather than one by one in sequential order like in an assessment.
In indie publishing, or when traditionally publishing, authors may feel confused with all the types of editing and may fail to understand what exactly their book needs. Hiring the best editors can save you a lot of time and suggest whether your book needs an in-depth review or a complete edit. Remember, editing can influence your book sales in the future, so it’s always best to research about service providers or get a short sample edit.
Choosing an Editorial Assessment Service
When you decide that you’re ready for an editorial assessment, you’ll start to narrow down some options to choose a few great editors. After shortlisting some experienced editors, they should be able to provide you with their critique style and analysis through an edit letter. This will help you find someone whose insight will be valuable to your story and if it resonates with the theme and plot.
Most freelancers check a sample before starting working on their projects, and similarly, you should also be keen about receiving any early feedback from your editor. You can judge a professional editor’s edit letter based on the following elements:
Other than this, if you still want to have more insight into the editor’s work, you can reach out to the authors they have worked with in the past and get references. Lastly, know the importance of editing the big picture before hopping on to line by line editing.
5 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Freelance Editor
Now that we have cleared your confusion about different types of editing, it’s time to finally search for a professional editor who can help flourish your dream story in a seamless way. Before hiring an editor, you need to figure out a few things about your book and the whole editing process to expect an effectively edited story. To help you determine your goals, we have discussed some essential steps that will help you choose a great editor.
1. Decide the kind of editing you need
Being an author not only gives you a chance to polish your writing skills but also opens up unlimited revenues for your makes your publishing discovery a smooth process. If you’re someone who really wants to succeed in your self-publishing journey, you’ll be careful enough to decide the best for your book.
The first thing you’ll need to figure out before hiring a book editor is to choose the editing service your book needs, whether it’s beta reading or final proofread. For a quick review, here are all types of editing your book can benefit from:
Developmental edit: Developmental editing gets to the very heart of your book. It involves a thorough critique of your content, voice, style, plot development, characters, pacing—the works. Most editors won’t perform developmental edits on an unsolicited manuscript (if a trusted author or editor hasn’t referred you) because developmental editing requires a deeper understanding of both publishing industry standards and your book’s genre. In the end, a developmental editor.
Copy editing or line editing: Copyeditors work with a fine-tooth comb to find small mistakes in spelling and grammar, as well as more significant issues such as factual errors or incomplete thoughts. Your goal is to get people’s attention by what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. In the event that copyeditors find something amiss in your project, they will point it out and suggest a change before moving forward.
By working with a copyeditor, you can ensure that your sentences are clear, easily understood and that your document is more structured. If you’re good at spelling and grammar, but you still can’t write well, a copyeditor could be of great assistance. Consider having a second pair of eyes look over your work. A copy editor would go over your text, catching grammar and spelling errors, correcting common mistakes and oversights, and suggesting alternative expressions that might elevate your writing to a new level.
Proofreading: When your book has gone through developmental and copy editing, it needs a final round of proofreading to make sure it looks polished and smooth to read. Many authors may fail to realize how important this step is and skip it after the book has been copy-edited only.
But the truth is, nobody would want to read a book whose format looks odd, titles and paragraphs aren’t arranged neatly, or if the book doesn’t have a proper page layout. Hence, as soon as your book has been line edited. You’ll send a proofread book to your publishers for review and would want to receive valuable insight and increase the chances of your book getting noticed.
Editorial assessment: Editorial assessment or editorial review is an in-depth critical review of each element of your book. It acts as an essential step when your book has already been edited but you’re still unsure about it. Editorial assessment acts as an important step where
Developmental Editing vs. Copy Editing vs. Editorial Assessment
To come to a decision about exactly what your book needs at the moment, we put forward all types of editing above to help you understand how they’re different. When it comes to choosing what you want, it’s important to understand the differences or simply ask your editor some questions during the interview or consultation to clarify your confusion about the whole process.
That said, suppose your book has been newly written and needs a massive edit, where an editor will work on more than one element of your story. It is quite obvious that developmental editing requires the most work and deals with the major loopholes and errors in your book. Moreover, it will also work on your story progression, character and thematic development, theme and plot, and any other weak spots found throughout.
But let’s say you have moved past the stage of having some major parts of your book edited. Your book is now officially away from weak story elements and contains a strong plot. Now is when you’ll need an editor to focus on micro errors and scan each page of your book line by line to fixate their gaze on errors like sentence clarity, inconsistencies, language errors, word choice, and syntax. All these elements don’t catch the eye apparently but they definitely become evident when read carefully and this is what publishers and readers do. So to ensure a smooth reading journey, copyediting will come as your book’s best friend.
Lastly, editorial assessment is required when an author likes to receive some valuable insight about their story or when they need help from an industry professional in the form of an in-depth critique of their story, before or after editing. If approached before editing, you’ll be able to communicate your concerns to your main editor quite clearly and receive a fantastic end product. But if you choose to go through an editorial review after your book has been edited, it’s possible that you feel like your book needs to go through another round of critique. You may also need an edit letter to need another version of how your book should be improved.
2. How complex is your book?
The next step to consider before teaming up with an editor is to check how complex your book is. This can include anything from the complexities of your stories, the number of edits required, the word and page count, your book genre, and how much work needs to be done to your book.
For instance, as soon you are done writing your book, there will be a lot of work required and your book will need 3-4 rounds of editing before it can be distributed. At this particular stage, there will definitely be a lot of complexities in your story. Moreover, if your book belongs to a genre like fantasy or nonfiction, it’s likely that it is longer and takes more time to be edited. Make sure you keep everything prepared for your editor to collaborate seamlessly with them.
3. Hire a book editor based on your writing experience
We know what you may be thinking, this title needs to be rephrased to something like: hire an editor based on ‘their’ writing experience instead of yours. So here’s the thing. It is important to keep your author experience in mind when sharing your story with people who have been in the industry for longer than you. Or maybe for less time as compared to your author years.
Making your experience level clear helps the editor set clear expectations about how much needs to be edited or reviewed. If you are going to publish your first ever book, you’re a beginner and may not even know how editing works. You may be unaware of the whole process and still want to have a perfectly polished story.
When you choose to hire an editor, share your experience level and any concerns you may have. Remember you’re allowed to ask any questions because it enables both parties to share ideas and collaborate well with each other. It also creates space for trust which forms the foundation for longer collaboration.
4. Stick to your deadline
It’s highly likely that many authors may not have set deadlines to publish their work. But there’s always a likelihood for time constraints when you decide to rush the process which may cause you to skip some important steps. One of those steps can be editing or marketing your book launch because when the time is short, you may panic and feel like these steps aren’t as important for your book.
When you know the importance of each step on the publishing ladder, you’ll be able to take things in a timely manner and decide everything way ahead of time. What matters more here is to be clear about your deadline with your editor so that they can offer you a quote according to the time they will invest. The deadline will also help you choose the one who is ready to work with your manuscript calmly.
5. Determine your flexibility
We talked about having a set turnaround in the above section. Your flexibility to receive your work is actually more important than that because it determines the cost of the whole process. If you expect to have a 100,000-word manuscript copy edited in less than two weeks, you may not be able to receive it unless you book a premium package with a fast turnaround.
If your desired book editor is solidly booked for 4 months, will you be able to wait until this time? Or would you choose to go for a premium package with a quick turnaround? There are other options too. Would you choose to work with a lesser-known editor at a lower price to receive your book just in time?
Ask yourself these questions and decide what best suits your deadline. Remember it’s not an editor’s fault to send you a manuscript at their own pace and time and not yours because they know the amount of work needed to edit a book.
8 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Professional Editor
Now that you’re fully prepared to hire an editor, it’s time to actually hire one. You won’t need to go through the hiring process if you have worked with someone for your previous books and still have them on board with you which is great because it would save you tons of time and distractions.
But you’re new to the whole author and publishing journey and want to start hiring someone, we have put forward some important questions to ask your editor. These questions will help you determine which editor may suit your manuscript, deadline, and priorities.
1. What's their training and experience?
There are many factors that go into hiring a great editor, but training and experience are one of your most important considerations. Many editors may be fantastic in terms of their personal writing talent, but without formal training in editing and grammar, they could miss key issues with your manuscript. Likewise, even if they have that training and experience, it doesn’t mean they’re appropriate for you—every writer is different in terms of style and tone.
When hiring a developmental editor, be open to talking about their expertise level, years of industry experience, and the ability to deal with your particular genre. All these questions will help you narrow down a professional editor who can actually work with you.
2. What genre is their specialty?
This is a fairly straightforward question. Your future editor should be able to tell you what type of books they edit. From picture books, self-help, and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy, mystery, YA (young adult), or romance. It’s also helpful if they can tell you what genres they specialize in. This will give you a sense of how much experience your potential editor has with your genre of choice.
This step is crucial for the success of your book because you wouldn’t want to hire an editor who specializes in fantasy fiction to work on your nonfiction book. It requires skill and experience in a specific genre to be able to work on it successfully.
3. How much do they charge?
Different editors charge different rates based on their experience and how much time they think a project will take. Asking how much they charge is important because it’s a good idea to know how much you’ll spend on editing before you hire someone. Most editors charge on a per word basis and a few may charge by the project. You can have an idea about the normal costs of editing by having a look at our cost section above and seeing the costs associated with each type of editing.
For example, for a typical 200-300 page book that contains 80,000 words, your developmental editor may charge $0.04 to $0.1 per word. A copyeditor may charge $0.03 to $0.08 and proofreading may cost you up to $0.06 per word.
The editing costs are also determined by the extent of changes required, the number of revisions, and your deadline. Make sure you submit your manuscript just in time to receive it before your pre-launch marketing where you’ll need to send advance reader copies to publishers and book influencers.
4. What is their editorial style?
This may be overlooked by some authors and they may fail to ask the editor about their editing style and preferred tone. If your book needs a more formal or casual tone, be sure to hire someone who has experience editing in that way. The more detailed information you can give about your book, the better idea you’ll have of what kind of editing style will work best for your project. If possible, ask for examples from previous projects as well.
The preferred style and tone may vary from author to author and you may be someone who absolutely hates having jargon in your book. Whatever language and story structure you prefer, let your editor know so you can be clear about this aspect.
5. What is their editing process?
You want your editor to walk you through their process so that you can make sure it aligns with what you want. Not every writer goes about editing a book in exactly the same way, but any good editor will be able to tell you how they approach and execute editing for each client. And there are some standard steps involved in book editing: You’ll typically talk through ideas, timelines, and expectations.
During edits, your editor will mark up text. They might offer suggestions or revisions. Editors also often look at continuity—making sure facts add up and names match from start to finish—and citations, if applicable. Hence, to make a sense of the editing process, you and your editor will be able to catch up about the changes in your book at each step via call or Skype. This will lead to a smooth collaboration and make sure your book doesn’t go wrong anywhere.
6. Do they offer revisions, or will you need to hire them again if you don't like what they've done?
An editor should be willing to revise your manuscript several times. Even if you hire them for a flat fee, most novel editors will give you between three and five free revisions, depending on the length and complexity of your manuscript. If they aren’t willing to do more than one or two revisions for free, then that is probably a good indication that they don’t take their job seriously, which might mean that they will not take your work seriously either.
Therefore, talk about free revisions when hiring a Wikipedia editor to know if they’re willing to make changes. If you really want to work with an editor who doesn’t offer revisions either due to time constraints or other reasons, then make sure you have another editor onboard who offers you revisions to perfect whatever has been edited.
7. Do they offer comprehensive editing services or packages?
Most editors offer a range of packages, but be sure you know what services will be included in each package and how much they cost so that you can make sure it’s a good fit for your budget. Most freelance editors will provide a free sample edit on an up-to-10 page section to edit your manuscript, allowing you to see exactly what their editing style is like.
If you think you want more than one type of edit for your book, let’s say a combination of developmental and copy editing services, make sure you ask your prospect if they offer certain packages that include both these editing services. However, if you just need a proofread then focus on that only. Editing packages are important only for comprehensive services at a fixed or discounted price.
8. Will they help you in marketing your book?
Most editors are not book marketing experts, and they might not be able to help you with some of your goals. Before you sign a contract with anyone, ask what they can do to help you promote your book. They should have a few strategies they can share with you. If it seems like their answer is not much, then maybe it’s time to keep looking.
A lot of your prospective editors may have strong connections in the publishing industry which can allow your book a certain exposure or simply help you in your pre-launch marketing efforts. You can ask this question during the interview or editing process.
Exploring each aspect of hiring an editor and knowing the industry trends will help you find someone who is a perfect fit for your book. Once your book is neat and clean, you’ll have more chances of marketing it successfully.