how much does book editing cost

How Much Does Book Editing Cost? A Quick Guide

It’s no secret that writing a book is hard work. But what’s often underestimated is how much work goes into editing a book. Many people believe that the editing process is simply polishing up the prose and fixing typos. Unfortunately, that’s not the case at all. Editing a book is a complex and time-consuming task that can take weeks or even months to complete correctly. So how much does book editing cost? And what should you expect from working with an editor? Read on to find out.

How much does book editing cost?

Book editing can be complex and confusing, and finding the right editor can be daunting. But how much does book editing cost? The price of book editing can vary depending on the editor, the book’s length, the level of editing required, etc. However, some general guidelines can help you budget for book editing. One way to determine how much book editing will cost is to look at the length of your book.

Most editors charge by the word or page, so a longer book will generally cost more to edit. However, some editors may offer discounts for longer books. Another factor to consider is the type of editing you need. If you only need a few minor changes, such as grammar and spelling corrections, you may get by with a less expensive editor. However, if you need more extensive changes, such as developmental or copy editing, you’ll likely need to spend more on editing services.

For a manuscript of 80,000 words, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $2,000 for a basic edit. A developmental edit for a 50,000-word novel could cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000, while a line edit for the same novel might only cost $1,500. Of course, these are just ballpark figures – ultimately, the cost of book editing will depend on your specific needs and preferences. 

Four types of book editing

No matter how well you write, your book will always benefit from professional editing. Editing can help you polish your prose, fix typos and errors, and improve the overall readability of your work. But that’s just the beginning. There are four main types of book editing, and every kind of edit serves a different purpose.

1. Line Editing

Line editing is one of the most common and popular methods of book editing. The editors focus on improving the flow and clarity of the writing, and they often suggest ways to tighten up the language. In general, line editing is a relatively gentle form of editing.

It can be beneficial in making sure that your writing is clear and concise. However, it’s important to remember that line editors do not copy editors, so they will not catch all of the grammatical errors or typos in your work. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive edit, you may also consider hiring a copy editor.

2. Copy Editing

Copy editing is perhaps the most important type of book editing, as it addresses the more minor details that can make or break a book. The editors will comb through your manuscript, looking for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. They will also check for consistency in your use of language, ensuring that words are used consistently throughout the book.

In addition, copy editors will often suggest how to improve the flow and clarity of your writing. While this may sound daunting, working with a copy editor can be a very positive experience. A good copy editor will help you to polish your manuscript and turn it into the best possible version of itself.

3. Developmental Editing

Book editing is an essential step in the publication process, but it can also be costly. Developmental editing is typically the most expensive type of book editing, as it involves a comprehensive review of the manuscript and providing feedback and suggestions for revision.

This type of editing can be beneficial for first-time authors, as it can help fine-tune the book and make it more marketable. However, it’s essential to remember that developmental editing can also be very time-consuming, so it’s essential to factor that into your budget.

4. Proofreading

Proofreading is the final step in the book editing process. At this stage, the editor looks for any remaining typos, grammatical errors, or inconsistencies. Proofreading is generally considered a reasonably straightforward task, and as a result, it is usually the most affordable type of book editing.

However, even a few errors can make a big difference in how professional your book appears, so it is always worth paying for a professional proofreader if you can afford it. In addition to catching any remaining errors, a good proofreader will also be able to suggest ways to improve your book’s overall flow and clarity.

Eight factors that can affect the book editing cost

how much does book editing cost

No matter how well you write, your book will always benefit from professional editing. However, the cost of book editing can vary depending on several factors. Here are eight factors that can affect the price of book editing:

1. The length of the manuscript

How much does book editing cost? Book editing costs can vary based on factors, including the length of the manuscript and the level of editing required. For example, a shorter book with few grammatical errors may only require light proofreading, which can be relatively inexpensive. On the other hand, a longer book with a more complex sentence structure may need a heavier edit, which can be more costly.

Generally, book editing costs will be lower if the manuscript only requires light proofreading and higher if it needs a heavy edit. However, the final price will depend on the specific editor’s rates. Therefore, it is crucial to get quotes from several different editors before making a decision. 

2. The level of editing required

The cost of book editing can vary greatly depending on the level of editing required. Simple proofreading may only cost a few hundred dollars, while a more comprehensive edit can cost several thousand. The level of editing is often determined by how well the author has written the book and how much work is needed to make it polished and ready for publication.

A developmental edit, which focuses on overall structure and theme, will typically cost more than a line edit, which focuses on grammar and style. A good rule of thumb is that the more expensive the book editor, the better quality their work will be. However, finding an editor who you feel comfortable working with and who understands your vision for the book is also essential. 

3. The type of editor hired

How much does book editing cost? The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the type of editor hired and the project’s scope. For example, a developmental editor who provides comprehensive support during the writing process can charge anywhere from $0.01 to $0.03 per word. A copy editor who polishes the manuscript and corrects errors can charge $0.005 to $0.01 per word. And a proofreader who reviews the galley proofs or e-book can charge $0.002 to $0.008 per word.

Rates vary depending on the editor’s experience, the length of the manuscript, and the level of editing required. As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how much book editing costs. But by understanding the different types of editors and their services, you can get a better sense of what you should expect to pay for your next book editing project.

4. The geographical location of the editor

One crucial factor is geographical location, among the many factors that can affect how much an editor charges for their services. For example, an editor based in New York City is likely to charge more than an editor based in a small town in the Midwest. This is because the cost of living is higher in NYC, and editors need to make a living wage just like anyone else.

Additionally, NYC is a hub for publishing, so there are more editing opportunities available, so editors can be more selective about who they work with. Therefore, if you’re looking for a book editor, it’s essential to consider both the quality of their work and their geographical location.

5. Whether the editor is freelance or in-house

One of the factors that can affect how much book editing costs is whether the editor is freelance or in-house. Generally, in-house editors are going to be more expensive than freelance editors. This is because in-house editors are usually part of a publishing company and have overhead costs that freelance editors don’t have. For example, they may have to pay for office space, health insurance, and other benefits. However, there are some advantages to using an in-house editor.

For one thing, they’re usually more familiar with the company’s style guide, so they can help ensure that your book adheres to it. In addition, in-house editors typically have a good relationship with the company’s production department, so they can help smooth out any problems that arise during the production process. Ultimately, weighing the pros and cons of using an in-house or freelance editor is essential before deciding on how much book editing will cost.

6. The amount of revision requested

The book editing cost can be very affordable, depending on how much revision is requested by the author. If an author is happy with their first draft and only requires light copyediting, then the book editor can do the job for a reasonable fee. However, if an author wants a complete rewrite of their manuscript, the book editor’s price will be much higher.

In general, the more work required, the higher the book editing cost will be. Therefore, authors must be clear about their objectives before working with a book editor. Doing so can ensure that they get the best possible value for their money.

7. The time frame for completion

Book editing costs can vary depending on several factors, including how much work the editor needs to do and how quickly the editor can complete the project. If you need your book edited within a specific time frame, it is vital to communicate that to your editor so they can give you an accurate quote.

Generally speaking, the longer you give your editor to complete the project, the lower the cost. However, if you have a tight deadline, your editor may need to work overtime which could increase the price. Ultimately, it is essential to discuss your specific needs with your editor to estimate how many books editing will cost.

8. The publishing house

One of the most important is the publishing house. Bigger houses tend to have more money to spend on editing, so they can afford to pay higher rates. They also tend to be more selective about which books they publish, so they’re more likely to invest in making sure those books are well-edited.

Smaller houses may not have as much money to spend on editing, but they’re often more willing to take risks on new or unproven authors. As a result, the cost of book editing can vary widely from one publishing house to another.

Five tips for working with an editor

No matter how good your book is, it can constantly be improved with the help of an editor. Now that you know how much does book editing cost, it’s time to know how you should work with an editor. To get the most out of your editing experience, knowing how to work with your editor is essential. Here are five tips for making the most of your relationship with your editor.

1. Establish a good working relationship

As any author knows, editing can be essential for polishing a manuscript and making it ready for publication. But working with an editor can also be challenging, particularly if you’re not sure how much to trust their judgment or how much they’ll charge. Here are a few tips for establishing a good working relationship with an editor. First, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Just ask if you’re not sure why they’re suggesting a particular change or how much it will cost. A good editor should be able to explain their rationale and give you a precise estimate.

Second, try to be open to suggestions. Even if you don’t agree with every change they suggest, it’s important to remember that they’re trying to help improve your book. If you’re too resistant to their suggestions, it will make the editing process less effective. Finally, make sure you communicate clearly about your deadlines and expectations. A good editor will work with you to ensure your book is polished and ready for publication on your timeline. But if you’re unclear about what you need, it may take longer – and cost more – than necessary.

2. Understand your editor’s process

Working with an editor can be a great way to improve your writing. However, it’s essential to understand your editor’s process to make the most of the experience. First, you should ask your editor about their specific editing process. Some editors prefer to work on one piece at a time, while others like to work on several pieces simultaneously. You should also inquire about how much feedback your editor is looking for. Some editors only want to point out major errors, while others are happy to provide detailed comments on every aspect of your writing.

Once you sense your editor’s preferences, you can tailor your submission accordingly. Additionally, providing your editor with a brief summary of your piece is always helpful before they begin working on it. This will give them a better understanding of your vision for the piece and help them provide more targeted feedback. By taking the time to understand your editor’s process, you can ensure that the experience is productive and beneficial for you and your editor.

3. Follow the editor’s feedback

Working with an editor can be a great way to improve your writing. But it can also be challenging, especially if you’re not used to receiving feedback on your work. Remember that the editor is trying to help you improve your writing, so taking their feedback seriously is essential. If they suggest changes, don’t just ignore them or make excuses for why you can’t do what they’re asking. Instead, try to understand their reasoning and see if there’s a way to implement their suggestions.

The editor should be able to explain their feedback in detail and help you figure out how to apply it to your own writing. Be open to making changes to your work. It can be tempting to hold onto your original vision for a piece of writing, but sometimes Editor’s suggestions can lead to an even better final product. So don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works best for you and your editor.

4. Respect your editor’s time

When working with an editor, one of the most important things you can do is respect their time. Editors often juggle multiple projects at once, so it’s essential to be responsive when they reach out to you. If an editor asks for a revision, try to turn around the revised piece as quickly as possible. The sooner you can get the piece back to the editor, the sooner they can move on to the next project.

Additionally, when setting up meetings or calls with your editor, be punctual. Not only will this show that you respect their time, but it will also give you more time to discuss your project in detail. By following these simple tips, you can ensure a productive and respectful working relationship with your editor.

5. Be prepared to pay for book editing services

One of the most important things to remember when working with an editor is that their services will usually come at a cost. While some editors may be willing to work for free, most expect compensation for their time and expertise. When budgeting for an editor, you should first consider how much help you need. If you only need a few minor errors corrected, you may be able to find a cheaper option. However, if you need extensive editing, be prepared to pay more. Generally speaking, the longer your editor works on your project, the more expensive it will be.

Additionally, keep in mind that different editors charge different rates. Some may charge by the hour, while others may charge by the project. Ask about pricing before you commit to working with an editor. By understanding how much you’ll need to pay for book editing services, you can ensure you’re getting the best value for your money. Hiring a book editor is a big decision. But with some research and preparation, you can find an editor that’s right for you and your budget. So don’t be afraid to ask around, compare rates, and get quotes from different editors.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some of your frequently asked questions about how much does book editing cost?

How long does it take to edit a book?

Book editing is a complex and time-consuming process, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how long it takes. In general, though, you can expect the editing process to take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the book’s length, the number of rounds of editing required, and the editor’s and author’s availability.

First PartThe first round of editing, also known as the line or copy editing, typically focuses on correcting grammar, syntax, and style errors. This can be relatively quick if there are only a few errors to fix. However, if the book requires substantial corrections, it can take longer.
Second PartThe second round of editing, known as developmental editing or content editing, focuses on larger issues such as plot, character development, pacing, and structure. This type of editing usually takes longer than line editing, as it requires a more in-depth understanding of the book.

Once the book has been edited and revised to the satisfaction of both the editor and author, it will be ready for publication.

How much does book formatting cost?

Book formatting is the process of preparing a book for publication, and the cost will vary depending on the book’s length and the publisher’s specific requirements. In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $1,000 for book formatting services.

Can I edit my own book?

Yes, you can edit your own book, but it’s often helpful to have a second pair of eyes on the project. An experienced editor will be able to catch errors you might miss, and they can also offer suggestions for improving the book. If you decide to edit your own book, give yourself plenty of time to do a thorough job. Editing is a complex and time-consuming process, so don’t try to rush it.


Book editing is a vital part of the publishing process, but it can be a costly investment. Be sure to do your research and budget carefully to ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money. And remember, the best way to save money on book editing is to hire an experienced and talented editor who can help make your book the best it can be.

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