How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Editor?

by CJ McDaniel // August 18  

You’ve completed writing your book, plugging away for months, and now you want to know what to do next. Regardless of whether you choose to traditionally or independently publish, you should find an editor.

It shouldn’t be an offense to you to say hiring a great editor is key. Even the greatest authors out there have others professionally pouring through their work, scouring each letter. Yes, you can have your friends and family read it, but it’s still not the same.

I’m sure most wannabe authors would jump at the chance of getting their work edited. To polish it up and make it perfect for their audience is crucial to success. But there’s a major obstacle: how much does it cost?

You might think the cost is astronomical, but it varies per project. It’s going to be tough to find a single set price, as there are different variables that can affect the price. Let’s look at four of those factors.

1) How Long Is Your Book?

It’s easy to understand that some books are longer than others. Considering the length of a lot of Stephen King’s books (like “The Stand), that editor probably makes a pretty penny. Length isn’t the only consideration, either.

If you’re more of a storyteller, but your writing is sort of bad, an editor is definitely necessary. It will also take them more time and editors will most likely charge by the hour. If you want to save money, you can edit it yourself first, but it should be seen by a professional before you try to sell it on Amazon or through a publisher.

2) How Much Work Do You Want Done?

When it comes to editing, there are different levels. The more complex of a job you want, the more expensive it will be. If you’re just looking for a little proofreading, for example, that will be cheaper than having entire sentences repaired due to structural problems and grammar mistakes.

In a lot of cases, editors rewrite a lot of the book to help it flow better. So, being honest about your own skill level and understanding the type of work you need will help determine the price.

3) Will You Set a Deadline?

Most people would be eager for the editing process to be quick so you can get your book out there ASAP. The only problem is, the shorter the turn-around time, the more expensive the project will be.

4) How Skilled Is the Editor?

This is another big one. As with any industry and profession, some are more skilled than others at doing their job. If you want the best of the best, you’re going to have to shell out more money. They have a unique, and often complex, set of skills you’ll have to be ready for. And the less experienced, the cheaper the job.

With these four considerations in mind, there’s typically a simple calculation most editors use. They’ll have a set price and the number of pages per hour they will work. It looks like this: Pages X hourly cost = total.

You might be looking at something like $40 per hour. Judging by how many pages they can get through in an hour based on how well the book is written, length, et cetera, the criteria will change.

Some editors may charge $10 per house (on the very lowest end) and the more experienced can charge hundreds. Despite the cost, getting your work in the hands of a professional editor can be make or break for your future writing career.

About the Author

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!