Editing comes in a lot of different forms. Just as with buying a new car, the cost depends on the model and options you choose.
Here are the basic categories I use and a rough idea of rates. I’ll be glad to edit a few pages of your project for free in order to see what kind of help you need, and show you what I can do for you. Once we both agree on the scope of work, we may be able to set a fixed price so that neither of us gets a surprise when it’s time to tally the bill.
The industry standard for a “page” is a firm 250 words. The type of work and its complexity will dictate how many pages I can edit in an hour.
When you are just getting started, this is the kind of editing you need. I’ll help you plan out your project and get it organized. We’ll discuss the audience you are trying to reach, what their needs are and how you can satisfy them. Even if you already have something put together, this still is a good conversation to have.
$70 per hour
This is a high-level evaluation of an existing project. Sometimes it’s called “structural” editing. I’ll see how the whole package holds together. I’ll point out any holes that need to be filled and redundancies. I’ll tell you how well the style works. I’ll suggest expanding, shrinking or moving any sections that might improve the overall flow.
$65 per hour
Now we get down to the nuts and bolts of individual sentences and paragraphs. Sure, I’ll check your spelling, grammar and punctuation, but there’s more to good writing than following the rules. In fact, a smart editor recognizes when a rule stands in the way of clarity. At this stage we’ll get rid of clichés and jargon, smooth out the clunky passages. Another aspect of copyediting is making sure your writing follows a consistent style throughout. If you are using any captions or graphics, this is when we make sure they match the body of the text.
Sometimes people call this kind of work “proofreading.” It isn’t. That’s one step down.
$60 per hour
In the publishing world, a “proof” is a sample of a page after the designer and typesetter have done their jobs. It’s the way the reader will see the finished product, complete with page numbers, headings and other elements. These days it usually takes the form of a PDF rather than a piece of paper. On the web, it’s the way a page renders in various browsers. Proofreading involves checking all the elements on the page and fixing any glitches. That might include odd spacing, wrong page numbers, and words or sentences that break awkwardly across lines or pages. It’s also the last chance to catch any mistakes that have snuck past everyone previously. Think of this stage as your final glance in the mirror before you head out the door to meet the world.
$55 per hour
If you are struggling to get anything written, or if we find that most of your existing sentences need to be rewritten in order to work, it might be best to turn all of the writing over to me. This might even be a combination of rewriting material you’ve already competed and interviewing you in order to write fresh material. I’ll do the heavy lifting. You still have the final say on content.
$80 per hour
(Give me an author credit — “YOUR NAME with Robert Celaschi” or “YOUR NAME and Robert Celaschi” —and I’ll charge less.)
If we haven’t covered everything you want to know, you might want to read the FAQ page.