I'll take a look at the first three chapters of your manuscript to get a feel for it and will edit the first ten pages (about 2500 words), free of charge, so you can see the type of work I do. If you don't think my style is compatible with your writing, you have no obligation to hire me.
However, if you like what I've done to edit and polish your work, then you can specify what, exactly, you'd like to have done. Pricing will be in accordance with the amount of labor involved, based on a 250-word-per-page industry standard, and will involve an initial edit and a final edit.
If your book is in decent shape and needs light to medium/standard editing, the cost will be 1/2 cent per word. Light copy editing is similar to proofreading (typos, misspellings) but does a more thorough check of grammar rules. Medium copy editing also checks for style consistency, organizational problems, table-of-contents entries, text/graphics relationships. If your work is exceptional, there is potential for a discount, based on the percentage calculated with the number of revisions per original word count.
*Example: Your book is 50,000 words. The industry standard dictates this to be 200 industry pages. Light to medium editing would be $250 based on number of words.
If your book is in need of heavy editing, the cost will be 1 cent per word. Heavy editing, according to the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors, is differentiated by "the level of judgement and rewriting involved. In a heavy copy edit, editors try to improve the flow of text by rewriting portions to enforce a uniform level, tone, and focus. They change passive voice to active voice and add missing articles (a, an, the). They also rearrange sentences to improve readability."
*Example: Your book is 50,000 words. The industry standard still dictates this to be 200 industry pages. Heavy editing would be $500 based on number of words.
FINAL COPY/FINAL EDIT:
The final edit happens after you have approved all remaining changes and notes. A final edit/final read-through is a necessary step to ensure nothing was missed the first time around, and to re-check any portions that were added after the initial edit. Cost for the final edit is 1/4 cent per word, since at this point, your manuscript should only need the lightest of touches.
*Example: Your book is 50,000 words. The industry standard = 200 industry pages. Your cost would be $125.
In summary, your total cost will be the initial edit + the final edit.
If your book has been edited & formatted and is only in need of proofreading, the cost will be a flat rate of $10 per hour spent, or 1/4 cent per word, whichever is less. This involves looking only for typos, misspellings, odd margin errors, word usage such as too/two/to, subject-verb agreement. This is only for books that have already been edited. Anything beyond the proofreading description will be considered an edit, but I'll be able to let you know immediately if that's the case. (As far as I can tell, I read about 5,000-7,000 words per hour when editing, if that helps to give you an idea of how long your own book will take.)
I'll be able to give you an estimate based on what I've seen in your first three chapters, and we can then work together to come up with a price we can both live with. I've seen freelance editors who base their fees on the number of words in the manuscript, without knowing how involved the editing will be. I compare that to making an appointment for a car repair and getting an estimate from the mechanic without him ever actually seeing the vehicle or knowing what's wrong with it. It just can't be done, and if anyone tells you otherwise, they're either going to do a sloppy job for you or they're going to take a loss on their own time.
What I can promise you is this: I won't rip you off, and I won't overcharge if there's any way to lower your costs.
If I've edited your book, I expect to be listed as such. If I've proofread your book after someone else has edited it, I expect to be listed as the proofreader. When in doubt, you may write a long list of things you love about me in your acknowledgements, and I won't stop you.
If you simply want someone to read the beginning of your manuscript for evaluation, I provide that service.
Up to 10k words: $25
10k - 20k words: $45
I'll give you an informed report of the following, as well as any specific questions you may have:
- Do I want to keep reading past the first chapters?
- Are the characters engaging/do I care about them?
- Does the plot "grab" me, and does it make sense? Are there any holes?
- Do I have a fair idea of who's who and how they fit in the big picture?
- If there's any chronology involved, does it make sense?
- Are there too many characters?
- Is the dialogue believable? Is it appropriate to the region?
- Are there too many clichés? Overused adverbs?
- Do the sentences flow well?
- Does the conflict feel contrived? (a.k.a. Yes, this is fiction, but I have to want to believe it!)