Money Matters: How Much Should a Proofreader/Editor get Paid?

It was awkward the first time someone asked me how much I charged for my services. In the beginning, it hadn’t occurred to me that this question would even come up and as a result, I completely lowballed myself. I ended up practically doing the job for free.

There’s going to be a disparity between what your time is actually worth and what someone thinks your time is worth. Because of this disparity, it’s beneficial to know what you’re worth from the beginning. In my experience, some professionals actually convince themselves that a proofreader isn’t necessary, but, sometimes they’re right. It all depends on the author’s writing experience, ability to read their work objectively, and how much effort they’re willing to put into having a perfect manuscript.

So, what are you paying an editor or proofreader for? The impartialness and technical ability they have to examine your work. They make recommendations and catch errors in grammar and punctuation to produce a body of work that, when put in front of a reader, is effectively impactful and easy to read. They not only serve the author but serve the reader by ensuring that the experience from beginning to end is smooth. Ultimately, if a reader has to pause, reread, or question what is being said, the manuscript has failed. Most readers outside of academia don’t have the patience to try and interpret an author’s work. They paid for a good reading experience; as an author, you’re obligated to give it to them.

What does proofreading cost? This depends on the proofreader’s professional experience and the length and type of the project.

What does editing cost? This depends on the proofreader’s professional experience and the length and type of the project.

An author, proofreader, or editor always has the option to going through a middleman like OneSpace, UpWork, ELance, Bibliocrunch, and Scribendi for work. From my experience sites like these favor the author. Most times, proofreaders and editors are forced to accommodate authors who don’t want to pay them honestly by forcing them into bidding wars. Eventually the person who offers them the lowest gets the deal. As a result the proofreader/editor isn’t paid what their time and expertise is worth. Everyone loses. Regardless of my experiences, I encourage you to check these sites out anyway.

Another way is to get these services done directly through a publishing house that will offer proofreading and editing as one service.

At the end of the day, you have to do what is right for yourself!

Good luck in your projects!

-E

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