KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Thursday, February 10, 2011

How Much Does Editing Cost?

I occasionally get inquiries from authors new to editing—or new to paying for it themselves—who want to know how much it would cost to edit their book or medical-journal article. They assume that the cost is the same for all books or for all journal articles.

But that's like asking a mechanic how much it will cost to repair your car without letting the mechanic look at the car and figure out how much work the repair will entail and what replacement parts must be ordered. That's why I don't post rates on my business web site and don't quote fees without having a chance to assess the full manuscript. Here's how I explain it on my web site:

Why does KOK Edit not post a fee schedule here? Every manuscript, just like every client, is different. The level of editing needed, and thus the amount of time spent editing, varies with each project. Some clients prefer to pay page rates or project fees instead of hourly rates. Therefore, fees are negotiated for each project, depending on level of editing, project parameters, and project time frame. (However, you can get an idea of the range of fees charged for editing in the publishing industry by following many of the links on this page. Also, see this blog post for a discussion of several methods for structuring editing fees.) In all fee negotiations, 1 manuscript page is defined as 250 words; physical pagination is irrelevant.

KOK Edit's Katharine O'Moore-Klopf, ELS, cannot determine the cost of editing for a project without having the opportunity to assess the manuscript regarding subject matter, quality of writing, complexity, length, and the level of editing needed versus the level of editing desired by the client. She will also need to know how many rounds of editing are desired, what the project deadlines are, and what the manuscript’s target audience is.

For large projects, KOK Edit may require periodic partial fee payments to be made during the editing process. Many times, a down payment of one third to one half of large project fees is required. Rush projects are accepted when possible, but they incur higher fees than nonrush jobs do.

All fee quotes are valid for 30 days; KOK Edit reserves the right to revise a quote if you take more than 30 days to decide to go ahead with the project. If the size, scope, or nature of the project changes after a quote has been accepted, a revised fee may be negotiated.

If you're an editorial professional, how do you handle this issue with potential clients?


Dick Margulis said...

I'm an editorial professional, and I handle the issue exactly as you do (with scarily similar wording, in fact).

I know there are others whose approach is different, and that's fine if it works for them. One approach may have more appeal to a particular prospective client than another approach has, so the availability of a variety of pricing strategies makes it that much easier to find a comfortable fit between editor and editee.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Dick, I'm not at all surprised that we use scarily similar wording. After all, we are both geniuses. ;-)

JFBookman said...

Katharine, I don't edit for other people any longer, but give out work to editors, and I think your approach is exactly right. I have editors who won't quote on a book until they actually speak to the author. Requesting a manuscript shows that the editor is serious about understanding the individual issues involved, so you could say it's the more responsible approach.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

I think part of the problem, JF, is that editors and editors' professional associations do a poor job in general of educating authors and the public about what they do and its value. Plus, some would-be consumers of editorial services find it hard to understand the value of a service that is less tangible than, say, the service that a house painter provides.

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