There are few flat rates in the editing business.

  • Some authors have tremendous grammatical acumen – others do not.
  • Some writers do well with structure and organization – others do not.
  • Some writing is near-ready-for-publication – some is far from ready.

Editing time varies greatly depending on the body of work, author’s skillset, and level of review required.

Still, you came to this page curious; I won’t disappoint.

Below, you’ll find some current pricing structures for different types of edits, and I’ve included links to the pages of independent organizations: Reedsy, Thumbtack, and Freelance Writing. The rates vary, but it gives you some idea of what the industry charges and what you may expect to pay for a professional editor. While my prices may be somewhat lower, these industry standards provide a basis from which I work.

The success of your manuscript, article, or paper may depend heavily upon the skills of your editor. Why go through several revisions by different editors (think dollars/frustration) when you can choose one highly skilled and dependable professional who gets it right from the start?

After I complete your Manuscript Evaluation, I will provide an estimate based on the edit type that I believe to be needed, breaking down my costs and reasoning. You can request the type of edit you want, regardless of what I suggest!

Heading with colored border


What are the average freelance editing rates?

Before we get too far, let’s look into some hard data taken from the Reedsy marketplace. To give you a ballpark sense of how much to charge as a baseline, here are average freelance editing rates.

Type of work Price per word
Editorial Assessment $0.014
Content / Developmental Editing $0.024
Copy Editing $0.017
Proofreading $0.01
Copy Editing +Proofreading $0.019

From Thumbtack.com


Tiered editing

Depending on the level of editing desired, the per-word or per-page price can be higher or lower. In general, substantive (developmental) editing requires big-picture thinking and potentially more work for an editor than copy editing. Copy editing verifies that a document adheres to the chosen style guide, is grammatically accurate, and is free of spelling errors. Developmental editing considers the content overall and edits are made to the flow of the work to better convey the message or story. Here are cost examples of two tiers of editing from Edit911 in Oviedo, Florida:

Tier 1: Proofreading, improvements to diction, sentence structure, flow and clarity. This tier is for well-written texts that require minor editing.

  • Up to 2,000 words: $100 flat rate
  • 2,000–3,999 words: $125 flat rate
  • 4,000–5,999 words: $150 flat rate
  • 6,000–39,999 words: $25 per 1,000 words
  • 40,000–59,999 words: $24 per 1,000 words
  • 60,000–79,999 words: $23 per 1,000 words
  • 80,000–150,000 words: $22 per 1,000 word
  • Any amount greater than 150,000 words is $21 per 1,000 word

Tier 2: Line editing, copy editing, in-depth improvements to language usage, organization, phrasing, scholarly tone (in the case of academic texts), style formatting (AP, Chicago or MLA) and feedback on content. For fiction, this tier includes a critique of plot development and characterization. For nonfiction and academic works, feedback identifies any unsupported or underdeveloped points or arguments.

  • Up to 2,000 words: $100 flat rate
  • 2,000–3,999 words: $125 flat rate
  • 4,000–5,999 words: $150 flat rate
  • 6,000–39,999 words: $28 per 1,000 words
  • 40,000–59,999 words: $27 per 1,000 words
  • 60,000–79,999 words: $26 per 1,000 words
  • 80,000–150,000 words: $25 per 1,000 word
  • Any amount greater than 150,000 words: $24 per 1,000 words

Freelance Writing (costs from 2008)


Some authors think a book editor’s job is to correct spelling and punctuation, but a book editor does so much more. Yes, part of their job is proofreading a manuscript and correcting spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors; however, a book editor is also a fact-checker and a manuscript doctor. In addition, there are different levels and types of book editors.


Basic copyediting involves reviewing text and correcting spelling, grammar, and punctuation. A copyeditor will read your entire manuscript, checking for consistency, redundancy, flow, transition, and the proper use of words. He or she will ensure that the proper tense and tone are maintained throughout the book and provide suggestions or copywriting to smoothly transition from one thought to the next.

Some copyeditors are asked to fact-check statistics and sources within the book for accuracy. The copyeditor is also skilled at eliminating confusion, providing clarity, and making sure the author doesn’t lose the reader’s interest. Skilled copyeditors are proficient in maintaining the author’s style and tone, while polishing the manuscript and improving the copy.

Developmental Editor

While the copyeditor receives the book after it has been written, a developmental editor is involved with the writing process, sometimes before the author has even begun to write the book. Developmental editing involves the entire development and organization of the book, the characters, the storyline, and the pace in which it is told.

The developmental editor often suggests the order in which the chapters are presented, as well as the overall content, flow, and arrangement of text. When the developmental editor is done, the book should be ready to be sent to a copyeditor.

Do you need both? No. Some authors will only need a copyeditor. Depending on their writing skills, some may need different levels of copy editing, from basic to heavy line editing, and even occasional ghostwriting

Editor charges

Depending on the type of editing desired, what should be a book editor charge? The following book editor rates were suggested by the Editorial Freelancers Association in 2008:

Basic copyediting: $25 to $40 per hour Pace: 5 to 10 pages an hour
Heavy copyediting: $35 to $50 per hour Pace: 2 to 5 pages an hour
Substantive editing:
(also called line editing)
$40 to $65 per hour Pace: 1 to 6 pages per hour
Developmental editing: $50 to $80 per hour Pace: 2 to 5 pages per hour