The cost of editing a book largely depends on the services you request.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to name a single figure and say, “That’s how much it costs to edit a book.”
That’s because the services offered vary from editor to editor, types of editing are sometimes given different names, services can be combined in different ways, and rates may be quoted by the word, page, or hour.
To help you sort through the various editors, I Googled “what does it cost to edit a book?” Then I randomly selected ten sites that offered editorial services and fees, skipping those that required me to enter my information and wait to be contacted by them.
The sites I used included individual editors, self-publishing firms, a trade group, and a service platform.
Here’s what I found, with descriptions and prices taken right from the websites in 2019.
The prices are quoted in terms of copyediting, proofreading, developmental editing, and so on. If you’re not sure what these services are, please see “Copyeditor or Proofreader? Which to Use and When.”
Please note that I’m not recommending any of these individuals or services, simply providing information about editing costs.
A sampling of the sites
Affordable Christian Editing: A group of six editors who “believe that there is not enough Christian or just clean, decent literature available out there.”
- Copyediting: $0.015 per word
- Content Editing: $0.25 per word
- Proofreading: $0.01 per word
The Book Butchers: This is a group of “insanely talented book editors with decades of experience trimming meat from fat, separating skin from flesh, exact anatomical knowledge of fiction and non-fiction writing, and the right tools and techniques for each precision cut.”
- Quick Kill Edit: $0.02 per word – includes proofreading and line editing
- Extra Bloody Edit: $0.04 per word – all of the above plus aid with organization, content, plot, and pacing
- Perfect Murder Edit: $0.06 per word – all of the above, plus formatting of the physical and e-book, and a final proofread before publication
Book Editing Associates: This service notes that “We screen, test, and monitor editors, proofreaders, and publishing consultants.”
- Developmental Editing: Starts at $0.03 per word
- Copyediting: Starts at $0.02 per word
- Line Editing: Starts at $0.03 per word
- Proofreading: Starts at $0.01 per word
Editorial Freelancers Association: A trade group consisting of “editors, writers, indexers, proofreaders, researchers, desktop publishers, translators, and others who offer a broad range of skills and specialties.”
- Developmental Editing: 1 to 5 manuscript pages per hour – $45 to $55 per hour
- Basic Copyediting: 5 to 10 manuscript pages per hour – $30 to $40 per hour
- Heavy Copyediting: 2 to 5 manuscript pages per hour – $40 to $50 per hour
- Substantive or Line Editing: 1 to 6 manuscript pages per hour – $40 to $60 per hour
- Proofreading: 9 to 13 manuscript pages per hour – $30 to $35 per hour
EliteAuthors: A firm that offers editing, ghostwriting, cover design, and other services related to book publishing.
- Developmental Editing: $0.04 per word
- Copyediting: $0.016 per word
- Line Editing: $0.021 per word
- Proofreading: $0.012 per word
Kirkus Editorial: They offer to “have your book edited by experts from the nation’s top publishing houses.” According to their website, “Kirkus only selects editors who have worked on books published by the top publishers in the United States.”
- Basic Copyediting: $0.02 per word
- Collaborative Editing: $0.03 per word, plus $99 for the phone call – After you’ve reviewed the edits to your manuscript, “you’ll have a one-hour follow-up phone call during which you can ask for clarification or further advice on next steps.”
- Professional Editing Package: $0.065 per word – Three rounds of editing: 1) the collaborative editing service and phone call mentioned above, 2) copyediting, and 3) a final proofread
Reedsy: A site that “allows authors to find and work with the best publishing professionals: from developmental editors to book cover designers, publicists and translators.”
Reedsy examined the fees charged by the editors on its site. They determined that “the average rates charged by editors on an 80,000-word manuscript” are:
- Developmental Editing: $1,920
- Copyediting: $1,360
- Proofreading: $800
The Write Proofreader: A team of editors headed by Kelly Bixler, whose mission is “ridding the world of bad grammar one dangling participle at a time.”
- “Most projects are $0.014 per word (which is $3.50 per page – based on a standard, double-spaced page of 250 words).”
Xulon Press: This Christian self-publishing firm offers the following editing services:
- Basic Copyediting: $0.025 per word
- Line Editing: $0.05 per word
So how much does it cost to edit a book?
Assuming the above prices are representative, the cost to edit a book begins at about $0.015 per word, and moves up to about $0.06 per word. Editors with excellent resumes and credentials may charge even more.
Please remember that if you use a ghostwriter to write your book, you should use someone else to edit the manuscript.
IF YOU’D LIKE HELP WRITING YOUR BOOK …
We’re Barry Fox and Nadine Taylor.
We’re professional ghostwriters and authors with a long list of satisfied clients and editors at major publishing houses.
Although based in Los Angeles, California, we often travel to work with our clients.