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How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Book Editor

You’ve spent months, maybe even years, pouring your heart and soul into your manuscript. Now, you’re ready to take the next step and publish your book. However, before you can send your work off to agents or self-publish, it’s essential to have a professional editor review and polish your manuscript. While the cost of hiring a book editor can vary widely depending on the level of editing required and the editor’s experience, understanding the average costs and factors that influence pricing can help you budget for this crucial investment in your writing career.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Book Editing

When it comes to hiring a book editor, several factors can influence the overall cost. The first and most significant factor is the type of editing required. There are typically three main types of editing: developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading.

Developmental editing focuses on the structure, organization, and overall content of the manuscript. This type of editing is the most intensive and often commands the highest rates. Copyediting, on the other hand, deals with the finer details of grammar, punctuation, and style, while proofreading is the final check for any remaining errors. The level of editing your manuscript needs will impact the overall cost.

Another factor to consider is the length and complexity of your manuscript. Longer manuscripts and those with more intricate subject matter may require more time and effort from the editor, resulting in higher costs. Additionally, the editor’s level of experience and expertise can also impact the price. Editors with a strong track record and specialized knowledge in your genre may charge higher rates for their services.

Average Costs of Book Editing

On average, the cost of hiring a book editor can range from $500 to $3,000 or more, depending on the factors mentioned above. For a 70,000-word manuscript, the cost of developmental editing can range from $1,500 to $4,500, while copyediting may cost between $1,000 and $3,000. Proofreading, the least intensive type of editing, is generally the most affordable, with prices ranging from $500 to $1,500.

It’s important to note that these figures are just averages, and rates can vary widely depending on the editor and the unique requirements of your manuscript. Some editors charge by the hour, while others may offer package deals or a per-word rate. Ultimately, the cost of book editing is an investment in the quality and marketability of your book, and finding the right editor is crucial to your success as an author.

Tips for Managing Editing Costs

While book editing can be a significant expense, there are several strategies you can employ to manage and budget for these costs effectively. One approach is to prioritize the type of editing your manuscript needs most. For some authors, developmental editing may be the most critical, while others may benefit more from a thorough copyedit. By identifying your manuscript’s specific needs, you can allocate your budget more efficiently.

Another tip is to seek multiple quotes from different editors and editing services. This can help you compare rates, services offered, and the editor’s level of experience to find the best fit for your project. Additionally, some editors may be open to negotiation, particularly for long-term or repeat clients. Don’t be afraid to discuss your budget and see if there is room for flexibility in the editor’s pricing.


In conclusion, the cost of hiring a book editor can vary widely depending on several factors, including the type of editing required, the length and complexity of your manuscript, and the editor’s level of experience. While it’s essential to budget for book editing as a necessary investment in your writing career, there are strategies for managing and negotiating editing costs to ensure you receive high-quality editing within your budget. By understanding the average costs and factors that influence pricing, you can make an informed decision when it comes to hiring a book editor for your manuscript. Remember, the quality of your writing is worth the investment.