For a new author it is probably safe to assume that most aren’t going to know that there are different editing levels and that there are a lot of terms that go to the same editing level. With each heading I included the synonyms of the same edit to solve the mystery of what someone might be talking about when they mention [insert name here] edit. Last week I talked about why new indie authors need editing. Now I can help you understand the kinds of editing you may need or be recommended by an editor or publisher. Also included are basic per word figures in what is acceptable among editors and self publishing so that you will determine if you are getting a fair price and not being overcharged for your edits. Some self publishers (non-reputable) will overcharge for editing and some individuals will too.
This is the simplest form of editing that goes over the basic things of a manuscript: spelling, punctuation, basic syntax, and basic facts. Most of the time this is the final touch to a manuscript after more heavy edits. Some editors and self publishing companies will include this edit with a higher editing level. Sometimes it must be purchased separately. Always check out the editor’s/publisher’s website for details or ask. If your manuscript needs a stronger edit than this and if it is included when the other edit is done, then you will come out with a better deal on your editing services. You will also save some time. Always, I repeat, always do your own readthroughs to triple check to make sure that a glaring mistake doesn’t sneak through that the editor missed (i.e. a missing period). Remember that the ideal is to be error free. It only takes a second to add a period and that is one less mistake that gets through the gauntlet. Editors are human to and they can also make small mistakes, especially if they are doing your content edits and a few of the little things might slip through on the copyedit. It’s your job to catch them! Do everything you can to make it close to error free as possible. However, if you are doing your readthroughs and you are UNSURE if a comma goes there, leave it alone. Everyone knows about the itchy comma finger. Of course, if it is an obvious place for a comma and there isn’t one, do add it.
Fair Price Range: .004 to .015 per word
This is the most commonly used type of editing to help with story and sentence flow, plot holes, and more content related issues, and more involved facts. Since this is a heavier edit it does cost a little bit more than your regular, everyday copyedit.
Fair price range: .015-.035 per word (sometimes a copyedit is also included)
***In some cases the range can go all the way up to .25 per word. There is no need to pay that much for good editing if you plan on self publishing! If you plan to publish traditionally, you can find freelance literary editors for a fraction of the price. These editors should have some experience working at a publishing house or for a literary agency. That is something to consider while shopping around.
It never hurts to hire a freelance literary editor while you self publish! We are just as concerned (or even more so!) about quality to compete with traditionally published works. The more of an edge you have, the better are your chances are of success (not a guarantee). Forking out a wad for the same edit doesn’t make it a better edit. For example, Some Author Solutions companies charge double the fair price range and do lousy editing compared to a freelance editor who does exceptional work for .015 per word for the same edit. The determining factor here is the editor’s skills and credibility!
This is the heaviest (and most costly) form of editing. It is basically your line/content edit on steroids. The editor will do content and copyedits (sometimes) and actually move, delete, add, or rewrite entire paragraphs, chapters, and sections of the manuscript. It is almost a hybrid of ghostwriting (where someone else write your manuscript for you) and editing. The range for this type of editing is very broad. It can overlap a little with the line edit area to the very expensive. All of this depends on the editor’s price range. But whatever the case is, it is the most expensive choice of the editor’s services. Knowing the figures will help you shop around for a good editor for a good deal if you need this level.
Range: .02 up to .075
***This can go as high as .75 per word. Again, paying this much money is unnecessary. Reminder: The higher the price tag is not equal to a much better edit. The editor’s skill and credibility is more important than the price tag.
I hope this helps someone muddle through the “learning about editing” stage!
Bill DuPriest says
What about mss evaluation for a mss already copy edited?
Amanda Taylor says
This is an editing option, yes. It could be less for a manuscript already edited, but it would vary between editor to editor. You would have to ask them and get a quote in that case.
Hello ma’am. Is content editing the same with substantive editing because in other sources the other term for content editing is substantive
I’m really confused ma’am. I’m sorry
Amanda Taylor says
Substantive editing is actually a step above a content edit. It is usually more expensive and more involved and more in depth. I hope that helps some!