Skip to content

How Much Does an Editor Cost? Editorial Investment Insights

Images of book editing essentials: red pens, editor definition, woman editing on a computer, and "How much does it cost to hire a book editor?" text.

Weighing the Cost: Hiring an Editor for Your Book

As a writer, there’s nothing quite as thrilling as seeing your words come to life on the pages of a book. But before you break out the celebratory confetti, there’s a crucial step that could make or break your literary masterpiece: hiring an editor. But of course there’s a question that lingers in every author’s mind: How much does an editor really cost, and is it worth the investment?


Not worried about the cost and ready to get going?

Schedule an editorial coaching meeting with one of Atmosphere Press’s exceptional developmental editors!


How Much Does an Editor Cost for a Book?

If you’re venturing into the world of publishing for the first time, the cost of hiring an editor might feel like a daunting question mark hanging over your head. The truth is, the price tag varies depending on several factors.

Word Count Matters

Editors often charge based on the word count of your manuscript. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $0.01 to $0.05 per word. For a standard 80,000-word novel, this translates to a range of $800 to $4,000. Keep in mind that rates can be influenced by the editor’s experience, specialization, and the level of editing required.

Types of Editing

Understanding the different types of editing is key to tailoring your investment to meet the specific needs of your manuscript. Each editing phase comes with its own set of tasks and associated costs.

Developmental Editing: This is the most comprehensive and time-intensive form of editing. A developmental editor will scrutinize your manuscript’s overarching structure, plot dynamics, and character development. Given its depth, developmental editing tends to be on the higher end of the pricing spectrum, reflecting the editor’s dedication to refining the narrative’s fundamental elements. The cost for developmental editing typically ranges from $0.04 to $0.07 per word, translating to $3,200 to $5,600 for an 80,000-word manuscript.

Copyediting: Focused on grammar, style, and consistency, copyediting aims to enhance the overall readability of your manuscript. Rates for copyediting are generally more moderate than developmental editing, ranging from $0.02 to $0.05 per word. For an 80,000-word novel, this equates to $1,600 to $4,000.

Proofreading: The final layer of editing, proofreading, concentrates on catching typos, grammar errors, and minor inconsistencies. While it’s the most affordable type of editing, it is by no means less important. A meticulous proofread ensures your manuscript is free from distracting errors, presenting a polished and professional final product. Proofreading rates typically fall within the range of $0.01 to $0.03 per word, resulting in a cost of $800 to $2,400 for an 80,000-word manuscript.

As you consider the types of editing your manuscript needs, keep in mind that some editors offer bundled services, allowing you to address multiple editing layers in a cost-effective manner. In navigating the realm of editorial costs, remember that the investment you make in professional editing is an investment in the success of your book. Each dollar spent is a step closer to ensuring your manuscript reaches its fullest potential and captivates readers with a compelling, error-free narrative.

Why Do I Need an Editor?

Now that we’ve touched on the monetary aspect, let’s explore why hiring an editor is a crucial step in your writing journey. You might be tempted to save money and skip the editing phase, but here’s why that might not be the wisest choice.

The Unbiased Eye

No matter how skilled you are as a writer, your work will always benefit from a fresh perspective. An editor brings an unbiased, professional eye to your manuscript, catching inconsistencies, plot holes, and weak points that might be invisible to you after countless revisions.

Elevating Your Craft

Editors are not just grammar police; they’re mentors who help you grow as a writer. Their feedback and suggestions can elevate your craft, guiding you toward better storytelling, more engaging prose, and a more polished final product.

Building Credibility

Investing in a professional editor signals to literary agents, publishers, and readers that you take your craft seriously. It adds a level of credibility to your work, increasing the likelihood of attracting attention in the competitive world of publishing.

To delve deeper into the importance of professional editing, check out Even Pro Writers Need Pro Editors for insights from seasoned authors who swear by the transformative power of professional editing.

Hiring an Editor: Financial Factoring

Now that we’ve established the necessity of an editor, let’s circle back to the burning question of cost vs. need. While the financial investment may seem intimidating, think of it as a strategic move for the success of your book.

Budgeting Wisely

If you’re working with a limited budget, consider prioritizing the type of editing that aligns with your manuscript’s needs. While comprehensive developmental editing might be ideal, a well-executed copyedit can still significantly enhance your work without breaking the bank.

Negotiation and Communication

Don’t be afraid to communicate with potential editors about your budget constraints. Many editors are open to negotiation, and some might offer payment plans. Remember, finding the right editor is not just about cost; it’s about finding someone who understands your vision and can help you realize it.

Investing in Your Dream

The cost of hiring an editor is an investment in your dream of becoming a published author. Instead of viewing it as an expense, consider it a crucial step in ensuring your book reaches its fullest potential and resonates with readers. In conclusion, the question of how much an editor costs is not just a matter of dollars and cents. It’s about recognizing the value an editor brings to your work, the mentorship they provide, and the credibility they add to your writing journey. So, fellow writers, fear not the price tag; embrace the opportunity to make your literary dreams a reality through the skilled hands of a professional editor.

atmosphere press

Atmosphere Press is a selective hybrid publisher founded in 2015 on the principles of Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, Kindness, and Making Your Book Awesome. Our books have won dozens of awards and sold tens of thousands of copies. If you’re interested in learning more, or seeking publication for your own work, please explore the links below.