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I typically edit two kinds of books: unpublished ones and previously published ones with bad reviews.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. Her blog posts have been featured on popular websites like The Book Designer and Positive Writer. She is the author of the Pre-Publishing Checklist and her novel-in-progress, The Suicide Tree. She lives in Oklahoma with her two dogs, Chanel and Wednesday.