Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Price of Hiring and Editor

Aaron Brown
As a self-pub author keeping costs down is key. When you’re doing it all yourself, the costs of a cover artist, marketing and an editor can break the bank. But, there are ways to do these things affordably. This post is specifically about my journey finding a quality editor at a reasonable price.

I’ve stated in previous posts that having an editor is absolutely necessary to publishing a good book, and if you read my post on The Beauty of Beta Readers you’ll know how much just having another set of eyes look over your work can do for you. But, a beta is not enough. So okay, get an editor, no problem… until you start looking for one and realize what they charge. Editing services can cost you in the thousands, and for an indie author just getting started that kind of money just isn’t in the budget. For example a company called Edit 911 gave me an instant quote of $1,610 for a 70,000 word document. ( Basic copy editing through Create Space is $120… for a document of up to 10,000 words, or $0.012 per word for a larger document. So, my 70,000 word novel would cost me $840, and that’s basic copy editing. Comprehensive copy editing is $0.016 per word and comprehensive copy editing plus is $0.022. (
Prices like this I think are in part why so many indie authors have published un-edited work. It’s hard to dish out nearly a grand for a book when you don’t even know if you will make that back. But, there is a way to do it for less.
The solution: look for editors that understand how hard it is for authors just starting out. Some established editors will take into account that you are a new author and work with you on price. Or, find someone who’s just starting out editing and looking for experience. There are many good editors out there looking to get their foot in the door with their editing services just like you, as a new author, are looking to get the foot in the door with your book. These up and coming editors can be very skilled, they just don’t have a clientele yet. So, many of them offer very reasonable prices as they are still building their references. Obviously without a clientele there is more risk involved. You don’t have the same references of their work to tell you if they’re the right editor for you. However, the price, which from all the editors I enquired, ended up being less than $400 to as low as $200 (Less than half of what I’d previously been expecting to pay) is worth the extra time it takes to shop around and find an editor that’s right for you.
The process of finding an editor and finding a good one will mean sending out inquiries to more than one person. Ask around, inquire about editors in forums or ask other indie authors who they had edit their book. I made a post on Goodreads, ( in a discussion section specific to finding an editor ( asking if anyone could recommend a good editor who offered affordable rates. After a day I had about five editors to look into. I e-mailed a few of them and found that most editors will ask for a sample of your work in which they will correct and send back to you. It is only after they’ve done this that they can give you an accurate quote. From here you can see what kind of work you can expect from them and decide if they are right for you.
I feel finding the right editor will be different for every author and possibly ever novel. Some manuscripts will need more attention than others. Some editors may favor certain kinds of books over others. So, not every editor will be the best for all jobs.

If you are an editor who keeps the indie writer in mind feel free to comment on this post with a link to your site.


  1. Replies
    1. So glad you found it helpful. I'll be posting more on this subject sometime next week on if you're interested.

  2. Thanks for your ideas. I'm currently looking for someone but might wind up reaching out to a friend or relative for my first book. We'll see.

    1. Glad you found it helpful. Friends and relatives are great to help. I say use all the connections you have, especially with a debut novel. You'll learn as you go and can make adjustments for the next book.

  3. OMGoodness- this is so true! Thank you for such a helpful article! I'm on I'm going to look into it too! Thanks again.

  4. My editing business is specifically built around the needs of an indie author/self-publisher. I do line editing, copy editing, and proofreading all as one service, at an affordable price. I would love to hear from anyone looking for editing help!

    1. Thank you for sharing your info! If you're interested Phantom Owl Press is interviewing editors to help them get some exposure through their blog and website ( You can find out more here

  5. My specialty is working with new authors. I have trad publishing experience, but recently started to work with with self-published authors. My prices are much less than what you quoted. I am happy to answer any questions. If you are looking for someone who is dedicated to your success, write me at

  6. For comprehensive editing, I normally charge 3.95 per 300-word page. But for books, I ask for a page or two and give a quote based on the amount of work the manuscript calls for. If your manuscript is fairly clean, I can do it much less expensively than if it is going to need extensive work. I have worked with a fair number of first-time authors and given them very good quotes.

    One thing to bear in mind is the amount of time it takes to do a competent job of editing. I take every piece of writing I get through three edits: a screen edit, a paper edit, and a final run through. For the average job, working full time I can do about 25 pages per day--35 max for a very long day. As you can see, my hourly wage is not high, and the work I do is highly skilled. Since I am retired, I don't have to support myself with my editing, but many editors must. If they come down too low on very many jobs, they are going to have trouble paying the rent.

    Some editors can doubtless work faster than I do, and if they can do good work in less time, more power to them. But I haven't figured out how.

    If you would like to contact me with a book that needs editing, you can go to my website, or simply email me at

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