Author Topic: How much you should be paying your editor/designer (Infographic)  (Read 3774 times)  

Offline RicardoFayet

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As some of you know, we've been running Reedsy for 15 months now. This has given us a good insight into the average market price for services like editing, proofreading, cover and interior design. So we thought we'd make that data public, and put it into a nice infographic.
You can take a look at it here.

Is that in line with what you've seen out there?
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 12:13:52 PM by RicardoFayet »

Offline Gator

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2016, 06:00:15 AM »
So we thought we'd make that data public, and put it into a nice infographic.
You can take a look at it here.

Thanks.  So average cost for content/developmental editing, copyediting/proofreading, cover design, and book interior design for an 80K book is $4,550.  Good to know.

Quote
Is that in line with what you've seen out there?

No.

Offline KeraEmory

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2016, 06:03:32 AM »
*checks KDP dashboard*

*giggles*

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2016, 06:10:27 AM »
Interesting.  My editor is way cheaper than those rates, but many here felt she was actually expensive compared to others.  When I was initially looking at editors, I did run into one or two with prices that high, and quickly eliminated them as overpriced.  I've seen lots of high quality editors with significantly lower prices than those indicated.

Ditto cover design and, while I don't use them myself, the quotes I've seen for interior book design are much lower (and with much nicer results than the ones in the example).

So is it in line with what I've seen out there?  Nope, not at all. 

Also, I admit, the note that emphasized prices were for "professional services" felt like a serious insult to to the plentiful professionals available outside of Reedsy who actually price in such a way that indies can afford them, not just Big Five publishers...

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2016, 06:14:02 AM »
So is it in line with what I've seen out there?  Nope, not at all. 

Also, I admit, the note that emphasized prices were for "professional services" felt like a serious insult to to the plentiful professionals available outside of Reedsy who actually price in such a way that indies can afford them, not just Big Five publishers...

Pretty much my takeaway as well. 


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Offline C. Rysalis

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2016, 06:28:46 AM »
Both of the editors I work with charge a teensy bit more (because I'm an ESL writer), but it's not a huge difference.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 06:36:15 AM by C. Rysalis »

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Offline sugarhit

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2016, 06:33:21 AM »
Is that in line with what you've seen out there?

Not at all. Those 'quotes' are extraordinarily high

Offline C. Rysalis

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2016, 06:38:01 AM »
Not at all. Those 'quotes' are extraordinarily high

For seasoned editors with decades of experience (sometimes trad pub experience), I don't think it's too high. Of course there are freelancers who charge less, but do they deliver the same quality?

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Offline sugarhit

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2016, 06:44:33 AM »
For seasoned editors with decades of experience (sometimes trad pub experience), I don't think it's too high. Of course there are freelancers who charge less, but do they deliver the same quality?

I'm sure that many of them do and that's debatable. I'm just answering the question OP posed.

Offline Hans Cummings

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2016, 07:44:56 AM »
The costs in that infographic are about 2-3X higher than I've paid. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say those are based on prices from "corporate" services, rather than "professionals?" The artists I hire for my covers are professionals; i.e. they create art as their primary means of income. I do interior layout myself because I do that as my day job as well (though not for fiction), and I hardly consider myself an amateur. As far as  I know, the editors/proofreaders I hire also do that as their primary means of income and the most I've paid is around $600 for 110,000+ words of copy editing.

Offline brkingsolver

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2016, 08:12:58 AM »
If I had to pay those prices, I would still be saving my pennies to publish my first book.

I have edited a couple of books for authors who weren't happy with what they received for a high-priced "professional" package , so I have a rather jaundiced opinion. YMMV.

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Offline Matthew Stott

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2016, 08:27:40 AM »
People spend up to $1000 on 'interior design'?! Cushy gig.

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Offline cathywalker

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2016, 08:30:26 AM »
Those prices seem very high. It's a good thing it didn't cost me that much to publish my books, or I'd still be sitting here unpublished and worrying about being in my grave before I could afford to publish even one of them.

Offline Ms Earl Grey

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2016, 09:09:56 AM »
I don't think those rates are unrealistic.

I'm an editor as my day job. I have more than ten years of experience in editing, I am a member of various professional organisations, I have bags of continuing professional development under my belt (courses from industry-standard providers, mentoring other editors, etc.), I pay for subscriptions to style guides and loads of other resources (my bookshelf is in danger of collapsing!), I pay to attend editing conferences, etc... Copy-editing a 110,00-word novel might take around 55 hours. At $600, that's $11 per hour. And then I have to pay my own taxes, all my bills and all the stuff I spoke about that I do up there. So that $11 per hour suddenly doesn't seem to stretch very far. I'm sure there are some editors happy to work for $11 per hour. But I haven't spent years training, learning and developing my skills to work for close to minimum wage.

I don't have a problem attracting clients willing to pay my fees (and some of my editing peers charge even higher fees and are booked out for a year in advance) so there is a market there. Cheap rates are fine and if an editor charges cheap rates and you're happy with their work then great, but please do make sure the editor in question (whether they charge $4 per 1,000 words or $40 per 1,000 words) is doing all they should: developing themselves professionally, keeping up to date with courses and education, ensuring they have access to vital resources like style guides, dictionaries and other resource materials and up to date software... Editing isn't just catching typos. Anyone can do that!


Offline new_writer

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2016, 09:34:19 AM »
The lesson here? There's a sucker born every day.

By the way, if you're paying someone upwards of $1000 to format your books, you deserve to get fleeced.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 09:37:25 AM by new_writer »

Offline RicardoFayet

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2016, 09:42:53 AM »
The lesson here? There's a sucker born every day.

By the way, if you're paying someone upwards of $1000 to format your books, you deserve to get fleeced.

There's a big difference between "formatting" and "book interior design". Formatting is often free (if you go through D2D, or if you use the Reedsy Book Editor) or, via a freelancer, should cost less than $100.
Now, if you want to self-publish a cookbook or a coffee table book, you don't need just "formatting", you need interior design and typesetting. And yeah, that's expensive because it requires every single page to be typeset, plus a good knowledge of the genre you're writing in.

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2016, 09:45:17 AM »
There's a big difference between "formatting" and "book interior design". Formatting is often free (if you go through D2D, or if you use the Reedsy Book Editor) or, via a freelancer, should cost less than $100.
Now, if you want to self-publish a cookbook or a coffee table book, you don't need just "formatting", you need interior design and typesetting. And yeah, that's expensive because it requires every single page to be typeset, plus a good knowledge of the genre you're writing in.

Also, depending on genre, someone might want to go all out with custom fonts for drop caps, images, maps, etc.  All of that can easily add up.


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Offline BWFoster78

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2016, 09:47:02 AM »
Not at all. Those 'quotes' are extraordinarily high

Yeah, I have to second this. Not even close.

If I'm ever a huge success, I'd love to try one of these higher priced editors just to see if the service is worth the cost. For the time being, I'm quite happy with freelancers.  I pay:

$.001/word for beta reading (At the moment, I'm using 3 paid beta readers in lieu of a developmental editor)
$.001 - $.003/word for copy editing

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2016, 09:48:28 AM »
I've never seen a developmental editor who charged more than .01/word and even that is quite high. I'm paying about half that.

These rates are 2-4x what I see. I expect to pay .002-.004/word for a proofread with very light copyedit.

Offline RicardoFayet

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2016, 09:57:52 AM »
Regarding editing, I think all the comments are fair. The idea behind Reedsy is that we curate our marketplace, so all our editors are of a certain level of experience. All of them have worded, or still work for traditional publishers as well. So these prices are not "crazy", they're the standard for a certain level of freelancers.

Now, it is true you can find someone with less experience who'll be just as good and will charge you 2x less that's usually because they're starting out or are not educated about what their peers charge. You should hold on to them (and not show them this infographic!).
It is also true that you can find cheaper people who'll do lees good of a job, especially in developmental editing. You don't know how valuable a highly skilled dev editor can be unless you've worked with one. Now, whether that's "worth it" in terms of ROI in the long term is a question that's pretty much impossible to answer. But what I can tell you is that all the really successful selfpub authors I know out there use editors/designers of that level. That's also because they can afford it, of course.

Anyhow, this is not to say I recommend all authors to spend that much on editing/design. It's just open-sourcing our data so people know what professional editors with years of experience charge. After that it's a choice you need to make  :)

Offline Ms Earl Grey

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2016, 09:59:01 AM »
I've never seen a developmental editor who charged more than .01/word and even that is quite high. I'm paying about half that.

These rates are 2-4x what I see. I expect to pay .002-.004/word for a proofread with very light copyedit.

That's in the region of $8 per hour at that lower range even at fairly generous proofreading-only speeds (and at fast copy-edit speeds it's even worse!). With tax, that's below minimum wage (and in the UK, it's about half the minimum wage. Going on welfare would earn more!). I don't think suggesting rates like this are 'usual' do any favours to the huge number of editors who have to work to earn a living. It's not really reasonable to expect people to work for $8 an hour for anything, is it? Would you go to work every day after ten years' experience and training for $8 an hour? 

People can only pay what they can afford, but I really dislike this suggestion that rates where editors can actually earn a living are too high! I'm pretty sure most people on here who have day jobs don't go there and work for under minimum wage day in and day out, so why should an editor or a proofreader?


« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 10:24:58 AM by Ms Earl Grey »

Offline C. Rysalis

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2016, 10:06:43 AM »
I suspect editors who charge very, very low rates are either building their portfolio or investing less hours. When I look at my manuscripts, I feel my 2.4 cents per word probably aren't enough. Because there's SO MANY changes, with sometimes very extensive comments linking back to source material or making suggestions / explaining why the change was necessary. Also, multiple passes. I don't just receive my MS back and that's it.

I realize that authors who write very well by default don't need as many editor-inspired changes as I do, though.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 10:11:37 AM by C. Rysalis »

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Offline ShayneRutherford

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2016, 10:20:03 AM »
That's in the region of $8 per hour at that lower range even at fairly generous proofreading-only speeds (and at fast copy-edit speeds it's even worse!). With tax, that's below minimum wage (and in the UK, it's about half the minimum wage. Going on welfare would earn more!). I don't think suggesting rates like this are 'usual' do any favours to the huge number of editors who have to work to earn a living. It's not really reasonable to expect people to work for $8 an hour for anything, is it? Would you go to work every day after ten years' experience and training for $8 an hour? 

People can only pay what they afford, but I really dislike this suggestion that rates where editors can actually earn a living are too high! I'm pretty sure most people on here who have day jobs don't go there and work for under minimum wage day in and day out, so why should an editor or a proofreader?

This is sooo true. People want to pay their editor very little, but then they end up surprised and upset when mistakes get missed.

I wonder if people would be willing to pay more, if they realized how long it takes an editor to do a good job on their manuscript.
     

Offline sugarhit

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2016, 10:42:32 AM »
Regarding editing, I think all the comments are fair. The idea behind Reedsy is that we curate our marketplace, so all our editors are of a certain level of experience. All of them have worded, or still work for traditional publishers as well. So these prices are not "crazy", they're the standard for a certain level of freelancers.

Now, it is true you can find someone with less experience who'll be just as good and will charge you 2x less that's usually because they're starting out or are not educated about what their peers charge. You should hold on to them (and not show them this infographic!).
It is also true that you can find cheaper people who'll do lees good of a job, especially in developmental editing. You don't know how valuable a highly skilled dev editor can be unless you've worked with one.
I'm neutral on the subject but I find this a really loaded and presumptuous statement. There are many freelance editors who lower their prices for self-published authors who are of the same pedigree.

Offline BWFoster78

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Re: How much you should be paying your editor/design (Infographic)
« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2016, 10:47:13 AM »
This is sooo true. People want to pay their editor very little, but then they end up surprised and upset when mistakes get missed.

I wonder if people would be willing to pay more, if they realized how long it takes an editor to do a good job on their manuscript.

I think that I'm quite reasonable in my expectations. I understand that I am not paying top of the line prices, so I don't really expect top of the line results.

I switched to paid beta reading over developmental editing because, in my price range, a single editor just wasn't delivering what I needed. Instead, I have three people who offer me opinions from different perspectives, and hopefully between all of them, they help fix my biggest issues. And I learn a lot from reading the different viewpoints.

For copy editing, I spend a lot of time on my final draft line editing. When I send it to a copy editor, that manuscript is as good as I could get it on my own. What I'm finding thus far, is that the copy editor basically spots minor grammar/punctuation stuff and occasionally suggests re-wording a sentence or paragraph. It's hard to justify paying more for what I'm getting.

My guess is that, if I were able to afford a lot higher priced services, I'd really appreciate that level of expertise. Right now, though, it's just not realistic to pay that much, and I really don't think paying a little bit more would benefit me that much.

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