Editing prices


Professional editing fees graphicThis is the page I hate. But I need to set a rate, and you'll want to know exactly what my services costs and factor that into whatever writing budget you have (which, if my own experience is anything to judge by, is not likely to be very big).

So here goes ...

Broadly speaking, I'm looking to make between 10-15 per hour, which is fairly modest. To make a decent living at that rate means a lot of hours at the keyboard. But that's my problem.

In reality, however, my true rate is generally much lower because I frequently find myself working "off the clock" and tidying up smaller things that are felt to be below the billing threshold.

Also, there's the issue of "thinking time" and "research time". By this, I mean that I'm usually carrying work around in my head and looking for ways to deal with this and that, and how to solve problems. Or I might be doing a little research on the internet.

I rarely bill for any of this unless I'm online for more than 20 minutes or so, or if I spend a lot of non-writing time struggling to work out an awkward thread.

So I may not charge at all for ten minutes work here or there if I can write-off the time (pardon the pun).

Occasionally I find that I have to work by switching back and forth between manuscripts, perhaps because I'm awaiting an email reply to a query, or because I'm simply looking for inspiration - which, naturally, doesn't always rise up on demand. So there has to be a certain amount of latitude.

Does that mean that my work is compromised? You'll have to decide on that when you see the results. But my own feeling is that it's often actually better not to stand too close to a project. You need to get a little distance between yourself and a manuscript, which is often exactly why people choose an editing service; to get a more impartial view.

Anyway, so much for the sales spiel. Here's a rough breakdown of costsbut remember that all projects are different.

Fiction editing costs around 1p per word up to 1000 words.

This assumes some rewriting and a brief report on the project (probably around 500 words). I estimate about one hour work. If it's a particularly tricky job, I'll advise beforehand. The rate could go to 2p per word, which I think is still pretty good value. To keep your costs down, edit as much as possible before I see the document.

All jobs, incidentally, are spellchecked.

For a 50,000 word fiction project, the base cost is still likely to be around 1p per word, but I'll give a more comprehensive report (probably around 2000-4000 words) and will assume a little more direct writing. That kind of job usually takes around 50 hours. I'll spellcheck and will do what I can to advise on problems, inconsistencies, poor characterisations, etc. And I'll tell you straight if I think you're wasting your moneyin which case you may want to try another editor, and/or work on it yourself some more.

Make sure you want to hear my opinion.

It could be hard.

Some editors are happy to work on anything (and I'm not casting aspersions on anyone by that remark). For myself, I need to enjoy and become involved in a project, and if I feel it's below a certain threshold, I simply won't be able to do a good job and would prefer not to take it on.

You might want to read my page Rejection Letters

I might not want to take on a project simply because I don't have sufficient experience of a genre to be of any use. I've written some sci-fi, for instance, and I've read a fair bit (mostly older stuff; Philip K Dick, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Ray Bradbury, etc), but there are styles within styles, and some sci-fi goes right over my head.

Keep that in mind.

Neither would I be much good with fantasy, largely because I don't understand the conventions. But if you think I've got something to offer, I'll help where I can.

For a 100,000 word project, the rate would usually drop below 1p per word. Yes, a 100,000 word project is twice the work of a 50,000 word project (or often even more work due to reworking threads and inconsistencies which tend to multiply exponentially). But most writers simply won't be able to afford the costs involved, so I try and keep it down to a more acceptable level and burn a little extra midnight oil.

But it's not all bad, from my point of view. It often means enjoying some good writing, and it beats working at the car wash.

For non-fiction, editing costs are generally around
10-20% cheaper
unless I need to do a lot of research. With non-fiction, it's generally a more mechanical process without the need to watch things like plotting and characterisation (although there are other issues to be addressed, not least accuracy).

It would be nice to give a fixed rate. But it simply isn't realistic. As an absolute minimum price, I'd want to earn
10 for any job


Query letters and synopses

The cost of writing Query Letters is, I'm afraid, higher. Ditto for synopses. These take a lot of thought to get the tone just right. A 1000-word query letter might take 2-3 hours. It needs to be carefully reasoned and 'spun', so I charge 2-3p per word. But if you need something fired off quick, I'll try to help. But I wouldn't recommend it.

My advice is to write your own query letter and spend a few days on it, coming back to it over and over again, each time trying to imagine it as an agent or editor will view it. If you're still stuck, or feel I can add something, let me know.

I would expect to spend around 3 hours writing a query letter. That's not enough, but if you're totally inexperienced or really need the help, I think you'll get your money's worth and will have a reasonably decent missive to send off with your manuscript. Therefore, a 1000 word query letter would cost between 20-30. A 2000 word synopsis would cost between 40-60.

The costs would be lower if you simply want your own query letter or synopsis edited, repaired, or improved.

Email me whenever you're ready and I'll do what I can to accommodate you.



This is expensive. A 100,000 word novel might take 3 months to write, or 6 months. I'd have to commit a lot of time and energy to a project and would expect to earn around 7500-15,000.

By most people's standards, that's a lot of money. And it may not be well spent. Selling novels is hard. And risky. I've spent years trying to get that big, or even small, publishing deal. And it could be many years yet before I see itif I ever see it.

To have a ghostwriter turn your own ideas into a saleable manuscript might be a success, but might be simply money down the drain. And even if you have a terrific idea for a book, you'll want to get the most suitable ghostwriter, or at least a writer you feel you can trust and work with.

So shop around.

Non-fiction projects of an equivalent size are usually cheaper. But each job needs to be looked at individually.

In short, approach ghostwriting with extreme caution. Check the web. Ask around. Be sure of what you want. And check your expectations.

If you still want to talk, email me and I'll see what
I can do.




Mr Edit YouTube videos


Meanwhile, here are some of my You Tube videos that might be of interest to you. Hope you enjoy them.

You Tube video for writers and authors


Mr Edit. Let's talk about dialogue





You Tube literary agent video help


Mr Edit. Pitching fiction to a literary agent.





You Tube video - how to write fiction


Mr Edit. 5 Minute Fiction Fix.





You Tube video for authors and novelists


Mr Edit. Let's talk about tautology.




Links for writers


Preditors & Editors. Here's where you can check out the credentials of literary agents and publishers. A must for any writer.



Creative Helps. Helpful resource for the creative community. Articles, links and tips.



Nick Daws' Writing Blog. Lots of useful posts on all aspects of writing, both for print and online, plus a guest post for anyone who wants to make a contribution. Check it out.





Back to the top






Creative writing






Special features


Darley Anderson, literary agent

Darley Anderson, top UK literary agent, on books,
publishing and success

Zo Sharp, thriller writer

Zo Sharp, creator of the

action-packed Charlie Fox series of books

Jeff Kleinman, literary agent

Jeff Kleinman, New York literary agent, talks shop

Creme de la Crime logo

Crme de la Crime:

An interview with

Lynne Patrick,

publisher and managing editor of a smallerbut


publishing house.