A freelance editor's rates are dependent on two things--his expertise, and the job he's asked to do. Expertise, of course, translates in two ways--in terms of the quality of the work being done, and in terms of the time it takes to do it. An experienced--and superb--editor can work more quickly than an inexperienced and mediocre one; the job will be superior and accomplished in less time.
I've been editing and writing for many years and am extremely good at it. I've included a healthy assortment of endorsements from some well-known (and lesser known) writers, editors, and others in the business of using words to show that I know what I'm doing. If you'd like a greater sense of how much work I have done with not-yet-established writers, please click here.
Psychiatrists and doctors make $150-400/hour. Please remember that a good editor is both of these, and more. And considerably cheaper. In fact, a real bargain.
The jobs that I
do regularly include:
Writing coach: I have worked with writers at every stage of the process in this regard, from people who send me the very first pages they write, and then continue sending me work on a regular basis, to those who simply need an outside view of what they're doing from time to time. Having a coach keeps you writing, gives you deadlines, and, most importantly, provides you with a ready audience, and one that will respond knowledgeably and insightfully. You choose how often you want this response.
Developmental editing and manuscript evaluation: This is what I excel at; it involves working with you--after reading what you have written from start to finish--via email, hard copy, and/or phone. Through a series of questions based on what you've done, I will give you a truer and better sense not only of what it is that you want to write, but on how you can get there. I try to see through the text you've written to the "ideal" text that lies behind it, and give you concrete suggestions on how you can achieve that ideal text.
Line editing: This process involves a certain amount of re-writing, if you will. A line-edited manuscript has been worked over, line by line, to make sure that the writing is clear, lucid, correct, and easy to read and understand. Sometimes entire sentences or paragraphs are deleted; sometimes blocks of text are rearranged. In this process, as in all I engage in, you--as the author--have the final say. Depending on the original, this can take very little work, or quite a lot. You should understand that such editing takes several passes through the prose to make sure that a series of subsequent revisions works together.
Proofreading and copy editing: This involves reading your writing (your "copy") carefully and with a trained eye. I will catch errors in punctuation, grammar, syntax, and style, and correct them, using industry-accepted symbols that look like this. Copy editing can take either a long time or a short time depending on the number of errors I find. Proofreading is the final step in the editing process and takes place when your "copy" has been perfected and has now been set in type and become "proof." (Of course, this needs to be done well before anyone who will publish your work has seen it.)
Writing: It's what I do. I can write whatever you want written (within reason, of course: ask me to write about a subject I know nothing about and--good luck.)
After I understand what you want, (see "How We'd Begin") I can estimate the amount of time it will take me to complete the work you want me to do.
If you have a completed draft of a story or novel, I usually recommend that we begin with a developmental edit. This involves a careful reading of the entire manuscript and then a detailed and exacting report (usually 10-15 single-spaced pages) on the manuscript's successes and problems, with substantial suggestions as to how you might proceed with your work.
I generally charge $75/hour for my services. If you'd prefer that I quote you a price for the job you have in mind, I'll be happy to do so.
For any work that will cost $500 or more, I reserve the right to require 50% in advance, before I begin.
For telephone consultations, after the original consultations, I charge $18.75 for each 15 minute increment.
If you'd like to check with a former or current client about me, I'll be happy to provide you with names and email addresses.
You can get a very basic idea of standard industry costs from the table of rates published on the site of the Editorial Freelancer's Association.