Book Doctor on Editing & Self-publishing Fees

Q: Someone at my office inquired about the going rate for editors. His daughter was offered a chance to edit proposals seven to fifteen pages long. I did not know what to tell them to charge. Do you have any idea?

A: “The going rate” for editors won’t be the same rate as a person just starting into the business, and if editors do not know what to charge, they are definitely newcomers.

It’s unfair to start out charging an hourly rate, because inexperienced but conscientious editors spend more hours completing a job than experienced editors would spend. Under an hourly arrangement, clients would pay more money for a novice than a professional.

When it comes to setting rates, only the editors themselves can decide what they are willing to accept while they get their on-the-job training, but read on for some ideas.

For a project as short as seven to fifteen pages, I suggest beginning editors should charge a minimum of $25 for fifteen or fewer pages. If that price seems low, remember that editing is not a “get rich” plan, it’s simply another job, and if you don’t love it and enjoy delving into all the details and continuing to learn during your entire career, it’s best to find something else that you do love.

Once you land your first project, though, time yourself to see how long it takes to finish the project, to get an average of how long it takes you per page. From that starting point—also with the knowledge that you will get faster as your skills improve—you can decide what your time is worth. You can raise your rates gradually as you gain more experience”

Editing is a critical step in the self-publishing process to achieve credibility and success in the marketplace. Does your self-publishing option offer editing. What do they charge?

Bobbie Christmas, book doctor, author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), and owner of Zebra Communications, will answer your questions, too. Send them to Read more “Ask the Book Doctor” questions and answers at

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One thought on “Book Doctor on Editing & Self-publishing Fees

  1. Copy editing is a crucial stage for publishing. It can make or break your book. As for newbie writers, i think it’s best to trust your work to copy editing professionals who have years in experience. More than correcting the work, writers can learn new insights from professionals who have been doing editing as their career.

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