I use the word value for a specific reason. I believe that folks who need my services usually have a budget or idea of what they can invest in publishing services. And I don’t believe that the only contribution I can make is time. As a matter of fact, I think you are better off if you don’t pay me just for my time. In my view, you should pay me for the quality of results I provide for your project. And that means paying me for my talent and knowledge. I structure my project fee to reflect that talent and knowledge, as well as whatever time it takes me to get a certain type of job done.
Your main concern should be whether or not my services produce the value you are looking for at a cost that fits your budget. So I charge a flat fee for my projects (that way you know ahead of time what to expect), often based on my per-page estimate of the job. You may already have a per-page or per-word idea of what you can afford, and we can see how that matches up with my calculation of the value of my services. This is custom work we are at, your writing and/or publishing, and my services in support of that. So, your costs will vary appropriately based on the project at hand.
In order for you to decide how well my services will fit into your budget or going rates, you can take a look some average ranges I provide below.
This “big picture” overview of your story or nonfiction narrative is a great way to find out if an intelligent reader can actually follow what you are trying to say. The review, basically, goes fairly fast, I’m finding, so the cost will run about $3.00 per page (based on 250-word double-spaced pages).
This process is more detailed than your manuscript evaluation, where I’ll comment at both paragraph and chapter level about how your book is organized, how characters and plot develop or how themes develop, so I’ll charge between $3.50 and $5 per 250-word double-spaced page depending on how much commenting and reorganization I might need to recommend and whether or not we’ll need a second pass through the same material (much more likely at this stage of manuscript development). We can look at your manuscript to see what’s involved and come up with a reasonable rate.
Copy Editing and Proofreading
Particularly for those publishing folks who already know their preferred per-page rates, here’s my set of ranges to see how they fit your budget:
- For copy editing: $3.00 to $4.50 per 250-word manuscript page for light-to-medium editing, and $5.00 to $10.00 per page for heavier jobs (lots of rephrasing or tagging for layout, and possible re-organization of material recommendations or revamping of really raw reference lists).
- Proofreading (just simple grammar, spelling, and typos plus layout issues) $2.00 to $3.00 per final book page, or $.01 to $.02 per word for web copy or other unpaginated material.
- For websites and other material that doesn’t translate into pages, let’s talk about what you need and we can agree on a per-word or project fee based on my past experience with similar materials.
For copy editing, I include all of the double-spaced manuscript pages. I assume 250 words per page for manuscript editing. For proofreading, I include all of the designed/laid-out proof pages with text on them.
For self-publishing writer/authors, you can figure on average to spend about $600–$900 for the copy editing phase (remember that this does not include developmental editing or manuscript evaluation that would come before this—your narrative and chapter arrangement should be all done at this point).
For proofreading of your semi-final laid out book, you might put out another $400–$600 depending on the number of pages and what needs looking at. If I do the editing, I will usually recommend someone else for proofreading, just for another set of eyes on the copy.
The average I’ve been seeing is about $6 per text page for book design, but so much depends on the number and type of illustrations. I’d be doing your interior layout (not the cover/jacket) for this price, so for a book that ends up 200 pages long, you’re looking at about $1200 on average.
Book covers are a whole other creature. Send an email or give me a call and we can talk about what you are looking for. I can make very simple covers and get the text laid out correctly over a simple color background or photograph you provide, but I will need to refer you to a cover artist if you need any kind of serious graphic design or free-hand drawing done.
For those of you who would like a shepherd to help you with all the aspects of getting your book from your word processing program (or even yellow legal pad or journal) to print and ebook, we’ll need to sit down together either virtually or in a local coffee shop in southern Oregon, and talk about your vision, the publishing process, your budget, and exactly what you need me to personally take on or coordinate for you. I’ll build a quote and scope of work from our conversation and we’ll go from there down the path to publication. 🙂