Don't Do It Yourself

What Should You Pay a Freelance Editor?

Edited Version of First BookSometimes, after you have written something, it makes sense to have a writing and editing professional look it over. An outside opinion can be valuable in catching errors, and in helping you figure out how to improve the overall flow and direction of the piece.

It's also becoming popular for blog owners to hire editors to re-work some of their earlier content. If you are a blog owner or entrepreneur who wants a little help improving old content, or polishing new content, hiring an editor can be a smart move.

Before you hire someone, though, you need to know what to expect — and how much to pay.

What Type of Work is Being Done?

First of all, you need to figure out what type of work you want done. There are three main types of editing that you can hire someone to do. While different editors might have slightly different names for these categories, most of the editing you will need done is likely to fall into one of the following three areas:

  1. Proofreading: This is editing lite. If you have something that is mostly finished, and you just want a final polish, proofreading is the route to take. Don't expect an editor to correct issues of flow and consistency when you ask for proofreading. This is strictly cosmetic. It's about using another set of eyes to catch typos and small grammatical errors.
  2. Copy Editing: This is the most common type of editing that entrepreneurs and blog owners use to improve their content. This is a line-by-line look at the piece in question. Copy editing is usually divided into three sub-categories: light, medium, and heavy. Light copy editing includes fixing gramatical problems and checking for accuracy and consistency. Medium copy editing might include some revisions in terms of flow and consistency, and some re-working of the text. Heavy copy editing refers to major grammatical issues that might include re-structuring paragraphs and re-arranging the text so that it flows better.
  3. Content Editing: This requires the most work. Not only might an editor have to fix major problems with grammar and flow, the editor might also need to re-write entire sentences or paragraphs, or even add items that were left out. There is often some level of content creation (even if it's just a sentence or two to smooth a transition) involved with this type of editing.

Be clear about what you are looking for, and understand what you need done so that you know what to expect from your editor.

How Much Does Editing Cost?

Like so many things in the freelance world, what you pay depends on multiple factors. A more experienced editor might charge as much as $85 an hour for heavy content editing work. However, if all you need is proofreading, you can probably find someone to do it for you for around $20 an hour.

Editors might also charge by the page. In many cases, an editor will consider 250 words a standard “page,” no matter how you format the work. You can expect to pay between $2 and $4 a page for proofreading, and between $5 and $10 a page for copy editing, depending on how heavy the copy editing work is. For content editing, you can expect to pay between $8 and $12 per page, depending on the experience of the editor, and what you want done.

Professional editing can really help your work stand out in a good way. It can be worth it to include an editor in your freelance project.