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anotherpage said:
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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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.
 

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notjohn said:
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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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.
 

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My rate is $0.008/word for proofreading, but it definitely varies.

For those concerned about the quality they're getting, I would say that most who charge in the realm of $0.002-0.005/word are probably not putting in the time and effort necessary to do a good job (that, or they're willing to accept a very low hourly wage). I and many other copyeditors/proofreaders offer sample editing of the first few pages of your manuscript, which is a good way to tell how thorough an editor is being. That said, by the time your manuscript is ready to be proofread, most significant errors should already have been fixed in the copyediting process. Proofreading is to catch any lingering typos, missed or repeated words, formatting errors, etc.
 

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I won't give exact numbers I pay providers, because many of them are on here and different people pay different prices. That said, before a book is released, I will have spent over $6,000, which includes editing, proofing, formatting, cover design, and audio narration.

You get what you pay for. I pay for top quality work by some of the industries leading professionals. And that's what I get. My current work-in-progress has over 3700 preorders. It won't be released until the end of August, but has already earned back the expense to the tune of about 400%.
 

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InfinitiveEditing said:
My rate is $0.008/word for proofreading, but it definitely varies.

For those concerned about the quality they're getting, I would say that most who charge in the realm of $0.002-0.005/word are probably not putting in the time and effort necessary to do a good job (that, or they're willing to accept a very low hourly wage).
I disagree. Some of you are posting your proofreading rates and your prices are almost as high as your own rates for copyediting. Most people with a 100k+ word novel who just paid a thousand dollars for a decent copyedit and have a clean book aren't going to want to pay another thousand for a proofreader who will probably only find a handful of typos and homonyms.

In my experience most editors with really high proofreading rates only charge that much because either they hate proofreading, so charge a lot to make it worth their time, or they don't want proofread only clients so they charge a lot so that they can sell more "discount" bundles for copyedit/proofread packages.

You can find LOTS of great proofreaders for those lower rates you mentioned.
 

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I recently paid less than $200 for proofreading (nonfiction title, about 40,000 words). I found a freelancer on Upwork who did a very thorough job: used standard proofreaders' marks, finished on time.

Mind you, this was strictly proofreading and nothing substantive, but still. There seem to be plenty of competent people looking for beer money.
 
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