The price of editing: Why we charge what we charge

Price of editing

The price of editing: Why we charge what we charge

Congratulations on finishing your book! Now you need an editor. You find one and get a quote, but the price for editing is not what you expected, it might be a quite bit more than expected. You can’t help but ask yourself: do I really have to pay this for editing? Before we can answer that question, we need to consider what exactly it is that an editor does.

Price of editing

What it is we editors do exactly  

An editor will take your manuscript and polish it to near perfection. The editor will not merely read your manuscript. They will look at each page, each paragraph, each sentence and each word individually and as a whole. Editing takes skill, concentration and time to do properly if you want your book to reach its full potential. An editor is a trained professional with a complex understanding of language. They will use these skills not only to fix punctuation mistakes, but to refine the flow and the structure of your manuscript. The editor will also be able to structure your book according to the type of document, the genre of the book and your target audience.

Most authors don’t like editors because they are afraid that the editor will change the entire manuscript. Let me reassure you, editors want to work closely with you in order to fine-tune your book. Almost every manuscript or document needs an edit. But, it is still important for an author to self-edit their book before sending it off to a professional editor. Nuance has put together a checklist for our authors to use when they self-edit their books. Some authors still prefer to self-edit their entire book without the help of a professional editor. If you are thinking about editing your own manuscript, look at our self-editing article before you make up your mind.

So, where do we get our prices?

Regulating bodies

Contrary to belief, the prices aren’t made up by each individual editor. In South Africa we have a number of regulatory bodies who offer support and guidance to the freelancing and media industries. These include the Writers’ Guild of SA (WGSA), the Southern African Freelancers’ Association (SAFREA), Professional Editors Group (PEG) and the Alliance of Language and Media Practitioners (LAMP). Nuance is a proud member of the Professional Editors Group.

Nuance uses the SAFREA rates as a guide for our own prices. SAFREA is an association for freelancers in the media and communications industry. Their members consist of writers, editors, photographers, graphic designers, illustrators and social media managers. SAFREA supplies these freelancers with resources, training materials and media rates and trends. You can visit the SAFREA website for more information about them.

Other resourcesPrice of editing and the governing bodies

There are a number of blogs and websites that use the guidelines from the regulatory bodies to create an overall view of rates and trends. One such resource is Media Update. Media Update is an online publication. They provide the media, marketing, public relations and social media industries with the latest news and information in the field. In a regularly updated blog post, Media Update provides all its readers with the latest news on what to charge. They also use the SAFREA rates to compile their blog post. 

So, why do some editors charge more than others?

You have requested quotes from different editors and the prices for editing are not the same. There could be a number of reasons for this. A quote from a business may also be higher than a quote from a freelancer. This may be because a business will have a team of people who work on a document, whereas a freelancer is on their own. Don’t just jump in and go for the cheapest quote. Consider the following factors:

  • The editor’s experience

The right editor for your book will need the right knowledge and experience for your document.

  • The turnaround time

The amount of time that you give the editor will influence the price. If you need a 50-page document edited within 48 hours, the editor will charge a higher price. This most probably is because he/she will need to move other projects aside to get the job done on time.

  • The type of document

Think about the type of document that you want edited. A novel of 500 pages will have a higher price than a children’s book of 20 pages.

  • Level of editing required

The editor will recommend the type of editing that your document requires. If your book needs a developmental edit, it will cost more than a light edit.

Each of these factors will influence the price of the editing. All of the editors may be using the same rates report but some or all of the factors above may play a role in the price.

For example, you have a corporate document that will be seen by the public and you need it within 24 hours. You will need an experienced corporate editor who will have to set aside 8 – 14 hours to do the work. The editor will need to make sure that the language is in accordance with your company’s style guide. They will have to eradicate all errors and they will have to make sure that there is no change in meaning after editing. You will have to pay a higher price for editing of this sort.

In the endPrice of editing

In the end, you as the author will have to decide what you want and what you are willing to pay for. The purpose of your manuscript will often dictate to you what type of editor you will need and what the price of the editing will be. But, keep in mind that quality comes at a price.

At Nuance we give you a team of people at a freelancer’s rate. So, you can be assured that your document will be perfectly edited when we are done with it. To see our prices, you can download our rates and services document: Nuance_Rates_and_services.

Written by Nadja

I am a writer and editor with a passion for education and children's literature.

Oct 23, 2020

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