There have been times when I have presented a workshop to a group of emerging authors and been challenged with a common question.
‘So how much do you charge for editing?’
It’s true that editing is one of the highest costs in your publishing journey and it can be cost-prohibitive for some people. I get that. So it’s reasonable for authors to want a sense of the likely cost of having their work professionally edited.
Before providing an answer, I respond with another question.
‘What type of editing are you looking for?’
I might receive a blank stare, or perhaps an earnest answer, such as, ‘Oh, I want a structural edit’ or ‘I just want it proofread.’ Answering a question with another question can appear shifty and evasive, but trust me—there are many misconceptions about what editing actually is, and it is vital for the author and the editor to clarify what each person expects before getting down and dirty with quotes.
People throw around various terms: manuscript appraisal, structural edit, copyedit, proofreading, and so on. So, I was pleased to see this article from experienced and respected editor Belinda Pollard, who sets out a framework that will be useful for that preliminary author/editor conversation. Belinda defines and explains five types of editing that are meaningful in her work. Belinda will be able to refer prospective clients to this list to ensure she and the author are on the same page. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun! It’s an editing thing.)
The author-editor relationship is built around clear communication, so please think about what help you are seeking from an editor before seeking editing services for your manuscript.