The Really Real Cost of Editing a Book

I typically edit two kinds of books: unpublished ones and previously published ones with bad reviews.

Today, I’m going to tell you the real cost of copyediting a book. Now, there are two different kinds of costs, so I’m going to explain them below step-by-step and you can choose which one best fits your budget.

Here’s the project:

90,000-word novel — heavy copyedit — 4-week turnaround

Here's what you need to do:

  • Research professional editors.
  • Wave goodbye to quality and settle for mediocrity, because it’s way cheaper.
  • Pay a college English major/that person online who edited that thing one time/your mother with no editing experience to edit your novel (editing does not include use of a stylebook, but rather implementing the spellcheck option on Microsoft Word).
  • Discover that a case of caviar is cheaper than a professional editor.

Total: $300

  • Pay formatter to format book for ebook and print. (You tried to do it on your own and nearly cried.)
  • Set up your book on CreateSpace.
  • Order 100 print copies: $5.89/book.
  • Publish on Amazon.

Total: $889

  • Read your latest Amazon book reviews.
  • Hyperventilate.
  • Throw up in a nearby trash can.
  • Cringe.

Total: Free

  • Email that one amazing editor to explain what happened.
  • Set up a complimentary call to ease your worries.
  • Sign the contract.
  • Be grateful for the payment plan the editor offered.
  • Pay for copyediting (meticulously edited according to 1,000-page stylebook, The Chicago Manual of Style, for grammar, spelling, and punctuation; inconsistencies and plot holes removed; properly formatted; stilted characters made more realistic; crafted stronger dialogue; and finalized for publishing).

Total: $3,000

  • Repeat CreateSpace setup.
  • Order 100 print copies (again, because there’s no way on earth you can sell those original copies with the 6,000 errors).
  • Wait, did I mention formatting? You have to have it formatted again. Here's to hoping your formatter will do it free of charge. Hint: Nope.

Total: $889

Final Total: $5,078


Here’s your second option:

  • Email that one amazing editor for a free quote.
  • Set up a complimentary call to ease your worries.
  • Sign the contract.
  • Be grateful for the payment plan the editor offered.
  • Pay for copyediting (meticulously edited according to 1,000-page stylebookThe Chicago Manual of Style, for grammar, spelling, and punctuation; inconsistencies and plot holes removed; properly formatted; stilted characters made more realistic; crafted stronger dialogue; and finalized for publishing).

Total: $3,000

  • Pay formatter to format for ebook and print.
  • Set up your book on CreateSpace.
  • Order 100 print copies.
  • Publish on Amazon.

Total: $889

Final Total: $3,889

Which one works best for your budget and your reputation?

 

An expert editor, seasoned writer, and author-centric marketer, Shayla Raquel works one-on-one with authors and business owners every day. A lifelong lover of books, she has edited over 300 books and has launched several Amazon bestsellers for her clients. Her award-winning blog teaches new and established authors how to write, publish, and market their books. She is the author of the Pre-Publishing Checklist, The Rotting (in Shivers in the Night), and her novel-in-progress, The Suicide Tree. She lives in Oklahoma with her two dogs, Chanel and Wednesday.