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How Much Does a Book Editor Cost?

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The world publishes between 50,000 and one million books every year. If you also count self-published authors, the figure climbs to four million books. However, only a quarter of these books make it to the best-selling charts–this is partially because not every author knows how to prepare their book for the world. You can write the most unique and creative book ever, but if you don’t polish it for its target audience, nobody will read it.

This is why book editors exist. These professionals evaluate your manuscript, remove mistakes, check facts, and get your project ready to publish; getting your book edited is often a necessary part of publishing. In today’s post, we will discuss how much a book editor costs and help you consider whether a freelance book editor is the right choice for you.

Factors That Affect Book Editing Costs

Book editing costs can vary a lot from one professional to another. So, before you hire someone and potentially lose money to a scam, it’s important to understand the factors that go into determining book editing costs.

Type of Editing

‘Book editing’ is a broad term used for preparing a book for publication. There are many types of editing, each with its own pricing structure:

  1. Editorial Assessment ($0.015 to $0.022 per word)

This is a detailed overview of a book manuscript. The editor reads the complete piece and provides in-depth feedback on the style, plot, and consistency. 

  1. Development Editing ($0.022 to $0.036 per word)

As the name suggests, editors develop the book in collaboration with the author. They resolve issues with the plot, characters, structure, and the overall form of the book. This editor will pay little attention to grammar and punctuation.

  1. Copy Editing ($0.018 to $0.025 per word)

Copy editing is concerned with the language and intent of the text. These editors ensure that the text helps the author fulfill their purpose. They also look for grammar mistakes, incorrect facts, and inconsistencies. 

  1. Proofreading ($0.013 to $0.016 per word)

This is the final editing required. A proofreader makes sure the book has no major or minor errors–everything is double-checked and polished for publication. 

Your book may need one or all of these types of edits, and the cost of editing can vary widely. As an example, a 60,000-word book can cost:

  • $900 to $1320 for editorial assessment
  • $1,320 to $2,160 for developmental editing 
  • $1,080 to $1,500 for copyediting
  • $780 to $960 for proofreading

If you get complete editing for a 60,000-word book, the total cost can come out to between $4,080 to $5,940–but there are other factors that will also affect the costs of finding an editor for your book.

Book Length

The next biggest factor affecting the book editing cost is the manuscript length. Because professionals charge on a per-word basis, a large book will cost you more than a short one. This is why authors prefer to first proofread their book on their own and cut as many extra words as possible. 

This doesn’t mean that you should compromise on your writing style or the flow of content, but it’s a good idea to delete any text that adds no value to the book.


Many authors ignore genre when budgeting for editing. However, one of the first things that a professional editor will ask you is the niche or genre of your book. 

Typically, nonfiction is more expensive than fiction because it’s complex and requires fact-checking. Similarly, children’s picture books are more expensive than young-adult novels because every sentence needs to be appropriate.

Editor Skill and Experience

Last but not the least, a good book editor will cost you more than an inexperienced one–this is because the best book editing requires years of practice. You probably want someone who can perfect the flaws of your book, and it’s unlikely an unskilled book editor will give you that, which is why you will have to stretch your pocket a bit to pay for someone who has worked on similar projects before and has the needed skill set. 

At the same time, browsing through a reliable freelancing platform like Guru might help you discover an editor that’s not only qualified but also affordable in regard to your budget. 

In Summary

Editing is a major and unavoidable part of writing a book, and though the above prices give you an idea of the costs, the exact price will depend on multiple factors. It’s worth considering working with a freelance editor from Guru–instead of a traditional editing agency–to find a good balance between expertise and cost. 

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