Editing can not only be expensive but you have to be sure what editing you are getting in the process. Each editor will have their own system and definitions so be sure to check their website to clarify what services they provide and the cost of each.
Professional editing costs range from $300-$5000 depending on what type of editing you choose, the length of your manuscript, and the amount of errors in your work.
Three Main Types of Editing
Copy Editing– Focuses on basic grammar and punctuation. Sometimes called line editing or proofreading. Usually, the cheapest form of editing. Many editors charge by the word with an average cost of $0.34-$0.50 per word.
Content Editing– focuses on plot and story structure. I prefer to do this type of editing on my own but its always a good idea to have an outside pair of eyes take a look. Whether you pay a professional or rely on your Alpha/Beta readers to help with this is up to you. Cost is similar to Copy Editing.
Comprehensive Editing– Both Copy and Content editing, also style editing in some cases. The most expensive type of editing, but worth it if you don’t want to do as much editing on your own.
Finding the Right Editor
Editing is one area you don’t want to cut corners. Finding the right editor for you and your budget is a lengthy but necessary process. While you can find editors on gig sites like Fiverr or smaller independent editors through social media, I highly suggest checking out more reputable sources first. Even if you only get a free test edit from a larger expensive editing firm. It can show you what you need to look for before taking a chance on a smaller operation.
Things to Consider
- Find an editor in your niche– if the editor you find mostly works with non fiction they may not be a good fit for your high fantasy epic
- Ask about different payment options– With some services having large price tags, most editors have some sort of payment plan or down payment system. be sure to ask before committing to any editor
- Get a sample edit!– The editor might look perfect on their website, they may even check all your perceived criteria but until you see how they work with your writing, you can’t be sure they are what you need.
- Find editors based on books you love– it’s more common for editors to be listed in the copyright section of books. So pick up a few books in your genre and find which ones you absolutely loved. Maybe their editor will be open to new clients.
I know in my Rules for writing a first draft I stated “not to talk about write club” but that was just for the initial output of ideas. Now that your draft is completed and you’ve given it cursory scrub in the first edit, it’s time to share the wealth. I am not talking about hitting the publish button just yet. Your draft is still just that a draft and it will go through several more drafts before it’s done. This is where alpha readers, beta readers, and professional editors come in.
These are the first people to lay eyes on your work. Their critiques can help you find the holes in your plot that you hadn’t noticed before. Tell you if your characters are relatable and give you input on how marketable your story may be. These are all good insights to have before shipping your work off to the editor or pitching your manuscript to an agent or publishing company.
Betas are your final scrub team. They can also be the same group you used as Alpha readers or a completely different set of people all together. Beta readers will give you many of the same insights as Alpha readers but since they will have your completed and formatted work at their disposal they can also check for formatting errors and anything else missed in previous rounds of polishing. Most Beta Readers will also gladly provide reviews for your books in exchange for the opportunity to read your story before its published.
Where to Find Your Crew
The best place to find Alpha’s and Betas is within your own writing circle. People within your local writing group, other writer friends.
Family members you can trust to give honest feedback. I myself use my sisters and sometime even my mom to help me with my drafts. I am lucky in that they all are avid readers of the genre I write and really don’t care about hurting my feelings if they feel the story isn’t up to par.
I have also used writers groups online. Simply asking for people who would be interested in being a beta reader, although this approach is hit or miss. Out of the ten that said they were interested, only five provided emails to receive my work and out of those five only two actually provided feedback. One I traded critiques with but none were repeat customers.
By far the best experience I had online with finding critiques online was using the writer’s community of Scribophile. The site is a critique for critique format and while it takes work to get a good community, it’s definitely worth it in my opinion.
Check out Scribophile Here