You’ve spent a lot of time writing your manuscript. Now you’re looking for an editor. The most important factor should be who does the editing, because the right person can make all the difference in how well your book is received. Don’t make the mistake of making how much the priority. Especially if you’re a first-time, self-publishing author. Nonetheless, once you’ve found the right editor, you'll get a better price if you hand in your best work.
I get a lot of requests for information about my editing services, but before writers contact me, they already know my credentials. What they really want to know is how much I cost.
Well, that depends...
Before I provide a quote, it’s my turn to review the writer’s work. I only need to scan the manuscript for a minute to determine the level of editing I think it requires to achieve what the author wants. Then, based on industry standards, I estimate how many hours it would take me. A quick calculation later, and I have a fair dollar amount for the job.
At this point, a lot of people disappear, and some even send me misspelled, grammatically egregious messages to the effect that my price is too high. Perhaps it is – for them. But the fact is, if the writing had been better, my quote would have been a lot less, because I wouldn’t need to spend as much time on it. Trust me on this. I can’t tell you how many emails I get from indignant writers saying they already paid an editor who did a bad job, so now they are looking for someone else. Invariably, when I find out what they are looking to pay, there is no way a professional editor would have taken the project. There are a lot of hacks out there, indeed. And now these writers will end up spending the same, or more, on two editors than if they were originally willing to pay a reasonable rate.
The takeaway: Once you’ve found a good editor, hand in your best work to get the best deal. That means you have to read and reread your manuscript, which you will do anyway if you take pride in your creation. Don’t just put your thoughts down and send it to someone to basically rewrite. Polish your writing to the best of your ability, and then give it to a pro to take it to the next level.