Author Topic: How much do you pay a proofreader?  (Read 1529 times)  

Offline anotherpage

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How much do you pay a proofreader?
« on: April 11, 2020, 07:20:31 am »
Not to be confused with your editor.

Curious to know if your proofreaders are paid or not and if they are, how much roughly for a book?

Bearing in mind that every cent you pay for covers, editing etc comes out of your pocket before you make profit.

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    Offline Rick Gualtieri

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #1 on: April 11, 2020, 08:37:54 am »
    Bearing in mind that every cent you pay for covers, editing etc comes out of your pocket before you make profit.

    Yes. Because that's how businesses work.  If you're not willing to invest in your own business, why should you assume anyone else is? 

    Anyway, to answer your question:  yes I pay my proofreader(s).   They're professionals, putting in time and effort to make my book ready for prime time, just as I try to be.

    I know some who have either family or close friends who will do it for free and/or they barter with.  That's likewise cool.

    I am less cool with putting all of my proofing needs in the hands of unpaid beta or ARC readers.  For starters there's consistency to take into account.  I prefer the same person with the same grammatical skills to look over the entire document. Not do it piecemeal and assume it's all correct.   Secondly, to be honest, it doesn't feel right to me - basically gathering people in a group to give me free labor and then calling it a perk.   

    I know some authors who do, and I'm not saying that makes them bad people in the slightest.  It's just not for me and my business.

    And yes, I still use beta readers for story feedback and ARC readers for early reviews.  So perhaps that attitude is slightly hypocritical.  But I personally feel trading a free story for story feedback and/or a review is somewhat different than the detail work that proofing requires.

    ETA price varies:  but I find for the size stories I write (~100k) two or three hundred dollars is usually around the norm.
    « Last Edit: April 11, 2020, 08:43:00 am by Rick Gualtieri »


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    Offline Carol (was Dara)

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #2 on: April 11, 2020, 12:55:48 pm »
    Around $350 for a 40k word manuscript. But then, my proofreader's work overlaps what some people would put under editing. Repetitive word choices, awkward phrasing, etc. It's not just a typo check.

    Offline Moe D

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #3 on: April 11, 2020, 05:43:02 pm »
    I've paid between $0.003 and $0.005 per word. I recently hired someone for $0.002 an hour. They don't start until next week, so I can't say how good they are.

    Offline Paul Gre

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #4 on: April 12, 2020, 01:00:54 am »
    I wouldn't mind becoming involved in proof reading, wonder where to advertise? Fiverr, Upwork, maybe?
    One thing puzzles me.
    If you need a proof reader because your spelling and grammar etc. isn't too good, how do you know if its been correctly proof read?


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    Offline Sheri LHP

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #5 on: April 12, 2020, 08:19:20 am »
    I get paid .002 per word for proofreading. I know I'm on the low side. At least half of my authors are hiring a proofreader for the first time and probably aren't turning a profit, or, if they are, it's very little. As I used to spend that time ARC or proofreading for free, I'm willing to keep myself affordable for that client base. When I increased my rates in January, a couple of them started paying the new rate, even though I had grandfathered them in. :)  I hope this helps.
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    Offline notjohn

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #6 on: April 12, 2020, 08:52:59 am »
    I married mine.

    But I am all in favor of self-pubbers getting help. I've worked as a journalist and in print shops since I was a teenager. I married an editor at the same publications office where I was working at the time. We have both pretty much committed the Chicago Manual of Style to memory, and we both were lucky enough to have as English teachers dedicated women trained in the days when everyone believed the English language had rules. When I read online forums (this one isn't bad, but you should see the KDP Community forums!) I cannot believe that these people actually hope to sell their books to the public without considerable intervention.

    This is HARD WORK. We spend at least two weeks proofreading the "galleys" of a print edition, I reading it aloud to Susan, a chapter in the morning and another in the afternoon so we don't get stale.

    I for one would never finish a book that mistook "their" for "there", or that used "wierd" spelling. And if I had purchased it, I'd ask for a refund. I don't care if a man identifies as a woman, or if a white identifies as black, but I draw the line at an illiterate who poses as an author.
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    Offline Maura

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #7 on: April 12, 2020, 04:17:47 pm »
    If you need a proof reader because your spelling and grammar etc. isn't too good, how do you know if its been correctly proof read?

    That's a big problem for indie authors, not just with proofreading but also with editing.

    Offline Nicksm28

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #8 on: April 12, 2020, 06:14:42 pm »
    I paid a little over $1,000 for just over 50 thousand words (novella). You will miss things trying to edit/proof read on your own.

    Nicholas McAuliff

    Offline aimeeeasterling

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #9 on: April 13, 2020, 04:43:07 am »
    If you need a proof reader because your spelling and grammar etc. isn't too good, how do you know if its been correctly proof read?

    That's not why authors need proofreading. We need proofreading because, after tweaking a manuscript half a dozen times, things creep in. For me, it's often doubled "the"s which are completely invisible when I do a final sweep, a typo that I was reading too fast to notice, or transposing characters' names. In someone else's manuscript, I'd see those issues immediately. In my own manuscript, they fade into the flow.

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    Offline anotherpage

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #10 on: April 14, 2020, 01:05:32 pm »
    Yes. Because that's how businesses work.  If you're not willing to invest in your own business, why should you assume anyone else is? 

    I think you have misunderstood what I was saying. I have no qualms about investing in my business as I spend thousands every month, however, just because someone can read that doesn't make them a proofreader. There are a lot of folk advertising their services who shouldn't be proofreaders.


    I am less cool with putting all of my proofing needs in the hands of unpaid beta or ARC readers.  For starters there's consistency to take into account.  I prefer the same person with the same grammatical skills to look over the entire document. Not do it piecemeal and assume it's all correct.   Secondly, to be honest, it doesn't feel right to me - basically gathering people in a group to give me free labor and then calling it a perk.   



    Yes i agree. I won't do that either. I did it once. Four readers never found any errors. I published and two readers found three errors.

    I don't like the idea of my readers finding my errors. (If they can)
    « Last Edit: April 14, 2020, 01:22:53 pm by anotherpage »

    Offline anotherpage

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #11 on: April 14, 2020, 01:09:34 pm »
    I wouldn't mind becoming involved in proof reading, wonder where to advertise? Fiverr, Upwork, maybe?
    One thing puzzles me.
    If you need a proof reader because your spelling and grammar etc. isn't too good, how do you know if its been correctly proof read?

    That's not why authors need proofreading. We need proofreading because, after tweaking a manuscript half a dozen times, things creep in. For me, it's often doubled "the"s which are completely invisible when I do a final sweep, a typo that I was reading too fast to notice, or transposing characters' names. In someone else's manuscript, I'd see those issues immediately. In my own manuscript, they fade into the flow.

    Yes, exactly. 98% of the time my editor and I catch the errors, and then we use software after that which catches even more but it would be nice to have another set of eyes. But those eyes have to be good or its not worth the money.

    Only once did i have 4 readers read my book before it went out and let me know if there were errors. None of them found any.

    I hit publish and a couple of readers found 3. (Yes, you have to be careful who you hire as a proofreader and who confesses to be a proofreader)

    It's like the old saying. Everyone can write, few can write well.

    Same applies. Most can read, few can spot errors.
    « Last Edit: April 14, 2020, 01:24:30 pm by anotherpage »

    Offline anotherpage

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #12 on: April 14, 2020, 01:13:48 pm »
    I paid a little over $1,000 for just over 50 thousand words (novella). You will miss things trying to edit/proof read on your own.

    That's only worth it if you can make the money back. You can find good editors who will do it for around $200 to $300. They are rare but they do exist ( ex-teachers, ex-editors) Folks who have lots of time on their hands because they are retired vs a youngster who needs the money to pay their mortgage.

    Also bear in mind. Some of these folks who say they are proofreaders are just tossing your manuscript through software then charging you $X. Software might find some errors but it won't find them all, and some it finds are incorrect.
    « Last Edit: April 14, 2020, 01:26:50 pm by anotherpage »

    Offline Sheri LHP

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #13 on: April 15, 2020, 02:27:34 pm »
    If you need a proof reader because your spelling and grammar etc. isn't too good, how do you know if its been correctly proof read?

    Your reviews will let you know. :)
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    Offline Sheri LHP

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #14 on: April 15, 2020, 02:29:45 pm »
    I paid a little over $1,000 for just over 50 thousand words (novella). You will miss things trying to edit/proof read on your own.

    Message me.  :o
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    Offline mojomikey

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #15 on: April 16, 2020, 02:58:54 am »
    Yes. Because that's how businesses work.  If you're not willing to invest in your own business, why should you assume anyone else is?  T
    this times ten.

    I've always been amazed how many complain about paying for covers, proofreading, whatever. When my ex and I owned a restaurant, we would kill to have that kind of low overhead. My local writers group had a Christmas Indy Authors Sale at a local restaurant and charged $15 for lunch buffet and a table. Several authors from other groups asked if they could just have the table and forego paying for lunch.

    Sheesh - everyone paying for lunch is how we got the room for "free"








    Offline Cynthia Shepp

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #16 on: April 18, 2020, 08:41:17 pm »
    For just proofreading, I charge .0075 a word. However, I will only accept a manuscript for proofreading if it has been copy edited by a reputable editor, and I am allowed to check it over before making my final decision. Otherwise, I'd end up with manuscripts that need more than proofs, and I'm entirely too anal not to fix what needs to be. Then, I'd be wasting my time while being grossly underpaid. Proofreading is the toughest part of editing to make decisions on in my opinion. It's why I rarely do just a proofread.

    Offline nail file

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #17 on: April 21, 2020, 05:39:15 am »
    Only once did i have 4 readers read my book before it went out and let me know if there were errors. None of them found any.

    I hit publish and a couple of readers found 3. (Yes, you have to be careful who you hire as a proofreader and who confesses to be a proofreader)

    No book is going to be 100% error-free. None.

    Offline anotherpage

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #18 on: April 23, 2020, 06:48:24 am »
    this times ten.

    I've always been amazed how many complain about paying for covers, proofreading, whatever. When my ex and I owned a restaurant, we would kill to have that kind of low overhead. My local writers group had a Christmas Indy Authors Sale at a local restaurant and charged $15 for lunch buffet and a table. Several authors from other groups asked if they could just have the table and forego paying for lunch.

    Sheesh - everyone paying for lunch is how we got the room for "free"









    No one is complaining about paying.

    Go back and read this thread carefully.

    The question was about HOW much are folks paying?

    The fact is today there are some folks calling themselves proofreaders who have no business even offering that service.

    There are some folks charging $X and all they are doing is tossing it in Grammarly then handing it back.

    If you approach business just hiring anyone just because they say they can do XYZ, you are going to find yourself not making money.

    Wisdom requires sifting through the crap and believe me there is a mountain of crappy readers calling themselves proofreaders but are as blind as a bat.
    « Last Edit: April 23, 2020, 06:53:31 am by anotherpage »

    Offline thesageproofreader

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #19 on: July 30, 2020, 08:30:13 am »
     :) This is an excellent question.

    Having taken a proofreading course, passed the exam, and become certified, I can tell you that accurate proofreading is difficult and time consuming, but well worth what you will pay for it. I have proofread fiction, blogs, website content and newspaper articles and found errors that would embarrass the writer at the least and at the most, affect their credibility and the desire for readers to want more--not to mention the damage caused by reviews that point out preventable mistakes.

    Industry standard is around $.01 per word for proofreading and more for copy editing. (See https://blog.reedsy.com/freelancer/proofreading-rates)
    That is about $25/hour if your proofreader is reading at the average rate of 2500 words per hour. This does not include the time it takes to hammer out the specifics of a job with phone calls, texts, emails, etc. If you are paying a proofreader $.002 per word, that is $5/hr...Food for thought.

    Offline Jotheboat

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #20 on: July 30, 2020, 09:25:58 am »
    I recently hired someone for $0.002 an hour. They don't start until next week, so I can't say how good they are.

    Did you proofread that? Hour / word??
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    Offline edipet

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #21 on: July 30, 2020, 09:29:05 am »
    That's only worth it if you can make the money back. You can find good editors who will do it for around $200 to $300. They are rare but they do exist ( ex-teachers, ex-editors) Folks who have lots of time on their hands because they are retired vs a youngster who needs the money to pay their mortgage.

    Also bear in mind. Some of these folks who say they are proofreaders are just tossing your manuscript through software then charging you $X. Software might find some errors but it won't find them all, and some it finds are incorrect.

    I have two editors. One on the West Coast (North America), one in South Africa. I seldom have more than $200-$250 to spend on editing any of my books. I tell them this upfront. I ask first - tell them the word-count, and my budget. By now, they know it's never higher than $250. In return, they're honest with me as well. They'll  say when they're free to do my job - and if they can schedule me in. Reciprocal respect and honesty work well for me.

    I would never pay a proofreader more than $100 per m-script. No matter what length. Proofreader is one thing, editor entirely another. When asked about this distinction and which the newbie writer should choose - I say this: If you've been writing for years, publishing just as long, it stands to reason you've developed your style and your voice. You need a proofreader.

    If it's your first or even fifth book, you need an editor. That's the way things line up on my side.


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    Offline 30yearoldboomer

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #22 on: July 30, 2020, 10:32:30 am »
    What I've learned is most proofers are not worth their salt. This will probably trigger a lot of proofers and copy-editors reading this, but most will leave dozens of mistakes behind. And I know they leave that many behind because that's what my beta readers found after getting back a supposedly clean manuscript.

    So, I cut out the copy-editing altogether, and until something changes, I'm not going back.

    I now use a team of ten sharp-eyed betas. Collectively, they will find far more errors than even the best proofer can. I instruct them to just read the book normally and get back to me within a week. Works like a charm. From time to time after publication, a reader will find an error, but it's no different from before when I used proofers. If anything, quality has gone up.

    This is the main problem with most proofers and copy-editors: you will never know if yours is good enough until you've reached a point where thousands of eyes have run across your books. And to be frank, it takes a long time to get to that point, so most writers never learn how bad the proofing in their book is until months, or even years, later. That's enough time for a lot of proofers to get repeat business from the same authors, who eventually drop them a year or two down the road after realizing they aren't getting what they paid for.

    The source of the problem is that when you get your edits back, it'll really look like the proofer caught a lot of stuff. As many as 100-200 errors sometimes. But you never see the things they didn't catch. And before you say you should hire at least two proofers, yep, that's what I did. Didn't make much of a difference.

    I haven't used a proofer or copy-editor since 2017. Selecting for sharp-eyed betas and having them work in tandem is far more effective and cheaper, and betas are happy to get a first look and save a few bucks on a book. Everyone is happy.

    I've found recently that having my book dictated to me through word catches most of the things a decent proofer would catch. My betas hunt up the rest. After using dictations, my betas are actually finding less mistakes than when I used proofers without dictation.

    To wind up a long rant, I got tired of spending money on people who leave mistakes behind constantly. I know it's not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination. And maybe my writing is just not clean in itself. As harsh as it sounds, a copy-editor and proofer should be judged by what they leave behind, not what they find. Anything more than 10 errors in an 80,000 word book is simply unacceptable to me and most readers too. At that point, most readers are guaranteed to run across 1-2 errors in their reading, and the grammar fiends even more.

    Feel free to disagree with me, but this is simply my experience. An author would do better to acquire a decent beta reading team - easily accomplished by having a page of back matter asking them to report errors to your email. After you get the email, fix the errors and invite them to join your beta reading team.
    « Last Edit: July 30, 2020, 10:36:33 am by 30yearoldboomer »

    Online alhawke

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #23 on: July 31, 2020, 09:16:51 am »
    I married mine.

    Lucky! That would have saved me $400 per book.

    I have an extraordinary proofreader who I've also used in the past for full copy/developmental edits. She doesn't just do grammar checks, she makes suggestions to the manuscript. It's expensive but absolutely invaluable. She's also probably more expensive for others as she charges depending on the quality of the manuscript she receives. Mine are higher quality because I already run my books through a professional copy edit before she receives my books (not because I'm an extraordinary writer. No conceit intended here).

    Editors are so varied in quality. Make sure they're members of the EFA and review their work in a sample before hiring them. The best ones do more than they're asked to. If they're hired for a copy edit, they add a dash of developmental editing. If they're hired for a proof read, they add a pinch of copy editing.


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    Online Decon

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    Re: How much do you pay a proofreader?
    « Reply #24 on: July 31, 2020, 10:13:52 am »
    Off topic regards OPs question.

    Many can't afford to invest in everything it takes to self-publish. It is snobbish to think that every one can.

    I think if it gets to the point where you can't fford a proofreader or an editor, or a cover designer, unless you can design your own to a high standard, then you are better off switching on every grammar attribute and spelling check within Word if you use it, and accept what you agree with, then do word searches for such as their and there, been being, of, off, etc, then submit to literary agents.

    Then if you can save up while waiting for rejections, I'd expect to pay 2 to 300.for proofreading. 120 to 240 for covers and say 500+ for an editor, but then I'm tight.
    « Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 10:22:04 am by Decon »


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