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How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Developmental Editor?

Developmental Editor

Determining the cost for developmental editing and the pricing the developmental editor will take for your work is influenced by several factors. There are various factors that determine the cost of developmental editing, such as the standard of English used, word count, and the complexity of content.

In addition to this, how your editor will determine the cost for editing, be it price per hour, price per page, or price per 1000 words, will also affect the cost of hiring a developmental editor. So you need to first understand these factors to get the answer to “how much does it cost to hire a developmental editor?”

What is developmental editing, and what does a developmental editor do?

Developmental editing is the process of accessing a manuscript in which developmental editors thoroughly evaluate the manuscript for loopholes and structural problems. The developmental editors thoroughly read the content and identify problems to provide suggestions to improve the manuscript to a whole different level.

The most common potential problems that the editors will look out for include structural problems, character development, problem in the plot, genre, problems with the viewpoint and narrative of the story. Since each manuscript is unique, so every manuscript requires a wide and smart evaluation by the editor.

Through developmental editing, you can get a manuscript with tracked changes and comments from the editor. An editor will also give you a report that provides a summary of the main problems and ways in which these problems can be resolved.

This type of editing requires time that is usually measured in weeks and months instead of days. But you can then rest assured that the manuscript you give can be improved and polished into something great and far superior.

What are the types of pricing for developmental editing?

There are three types of pricing for this type of editing. Different developmental editors for hire will determine pricing according to these three pricing methods.

1) Price per page

This type of pricing method was originally used for developmental editing and is best when the exact page count is known. Similar to the traditional publishing process, where the editors were paid according to the page count by the publishers, where the page count was known before the process.

But nowadays, there is some flexibility in the page count because digital formats use flowable text format. In this format, there is no exact page count as the text adjusts to match the screen that is being read.

So some editors may want to provide the cost according to the price per page, but you will have to determine the exact page count of your content beforehand. Typically, if we talk about novels, there are around 300 words on a page, so this estimate can be used to find the rough page count.

2) Price per hour

Some editors may even quote the price per hour. This type of pricing is problematic because it’s not possible to tell how long an editor will take to edit the manuscript. There are various factors that come into play, such as the quality of writing and language, complexity of the content as well as the experience of the editor.

This makes it very difficult to determine the price, and you can only get an accurate price by getting a quote for the work by sending your work to the editor. But even then, there is no surety that the editor will not change the price or not give a final price until after the edit is completed.

This indicates that you, as the writer, may waste a lot of time while sending your manuscript to editors for evaluation to get the quote. Price per hour is usually used by editors to protect themselves and avoid being caught, especially in works that need a lot of work with poor English.

3) Price per 1000 words

This type of pricing is one of the most transparent and easiest pricing that is most popular among writers. This offers a flat fixed price that is according to the length of the content. This makes it easier for writers to determine the exact price for developmental editing before contacting or hiring an editor. This, in turn, saves a lot of time, effort, and money for the writer.

What are the factors that affect pricing?

There are various factors that affect the pricing for the developmental edit, whether you go for price per page, price per hour, or price per 1000 words.

1) Word length of content

The longer the book, the more the cost for a developmental edit. Some developmental editors also have a minimum word count, meaning that there is a limit to the number of words they are going to edit for you. Typically this is approximately 15,000 words count.

2) Complexity of content

The complexity of the contents also increases the cost of developmental editing. Simple and concise content is much less expensive as compared to a complex piece of work that requires special focus and knowledge on the part of the editor.

3) Quality and standard of English

If you are a writer whose first language is not English, then you will find the cost for a developmental editor to be far greater than someone whose first language is English. This is because it requires much more work to correct the sentences and flow from sentence to sentence to bring the manuscript to a publishable standard. So most qualified developmental editors avoid working on these manuscripts.

4) Genre

Specialist developmental editors are required for some genres like non-fiction, and their services are much more costly due to their specialist skills and knowledge. The technicalities and requirements for the editor to be knowledgeable and experienced in the genre make the services of these editors expensive.

The bottom line

Developmental editing is costly and time-consuming editing of the manuscript sent by the writer. But it is also an important step in the way to getting the work published. It is crucial that you understand and consider all the factors and aspects of the editing process before you contact and hire a developmental editor.

Before you decide on the editor that is the one for you, you need to talk with editors to determine their pricing methods and whether they understand what you want from them.

You should get multiple quotes and sample edits before you actually make the final selection. The editing process is an important part of your writing, and you need to be in control of all the stages, which also includes picking the right developmental editor.

Felicia Wilson


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