Why Different Editors Quote Different Fees

You’ll note that this site contains articles to help writers learn how to select an editor. Of course, we think you should strongly consider an editor from our freelance network. At a minimum, we want you to be an educated shopper.

If you’re shopping the Internet, you may see prices ranging from 50 cents per page to $10 per page for what’s described as the same level of services. You may find editors who can do the job immediately and others who are in high demand and aren’t available right away.

It’s risky to shop by price, and it’s even more dangerous to ask for an “ASAP and lowest price” combo.

Here’s why we’re recommended by so many writers, literary agents, and publishers:

All applicants take two or more editing and proofreading tests. We turn down fifty applicants to find one truly qualified copy editor/proofreader (only 2% typically pass the copyediting/proofreading test). We also test for developmental editing and formatting. Only editors who pass each of these tests are permitted to list that specialty in their bios. For instance, if an applicant does a great job on the developmental editing test but fails the copy editing and proofreading tests, that editor cannot list “copyediting” or “proofreading” in his or her bio.

*** Our editors adhere to high professional and ethical standards. They may not offer services for which they are unqualified and must use written agreements with authors who select them.

*** Our network editors are not merely competent or even just highly competent; they’re experts, and they understand the process from the writer’s, editor’s, and publisher’s viewpoints.

*** Our network is designed to give writers exactly what they need—no more, no less. That might be copyediting, or it might be mentoring or critiquing, plus marketing help and ongoing support during the rewriting and submission process. This is just one reason we have such a high rate of word-of-mouth and repeat business. Less experienced editors and editing services that offer package deals can’t provide that level of targeted service.

*** Our ethical guidelines require honest assessment, which means our editors can and will turn down your work if they don’t see a way to improve your material or if you need another type of editor.

*** They are not anonymous. You work directly with the editor, proofreader, or publishing consultant you choose.

What becomes of self-proclaimed copy editors who fail our copyediting or proofreading tests? The short answer is that they often commit what we consider serious ethical breaches such as these:

  • They may join other networks with less stringent testing procedures (or none at all).
  • They may offer low rates on pay-to-play sites such as Elance, which doesn’t test those who are willing to pay for exposure.
  • They may put up their own websites and offer low rates to gain “credentials” despite returning worthless products to unsuspecting writers.

Does it really seem feasible that an 80,000-word book could be edited properly for $500, or with a 3-day turnaround? (An 80,000-word book takes most professional editors at least three weeks to edit. Get the point?)

Those low-priced “editors” take advantage of writers who don’t know any better—writers who are not experts themselves and thus don’t notice when their “editors” or “proofreaders” fail to catch 90 percent of their mistakes; writers who fail to research (and thus understand) the editing profession; writers who set unrealistic deadlines; or writers who are only price shopping. In some cases, $500 buys you an electronic spell-check.

Given these facts, we think you’ll understand why the professional editors in this network won’t price-match with other individuals who offer editing services. You’re not comparing apples to apples.

Editors who fail to qualify for this network often get angry and/or try to negotiate their entries. Sample responses have included these exact quotes:

“If you give me a chance, I’ll charge a lower rate.”

“Please grade my tests and show me what I missed so I can become a better editor.”

“Can you recommend an editing course?”

“The problem is your tests! I belong to two other editing networks! Thanks for wasting my time!”

“I was tired and in a rush. This isn’t how I’d work on a real job.”

“Considering that I have been a professional editor for 15+ years, frankly, I don’t even know why you wanted me to do proofreading and copyediting tests at all.”

“I’ve finished the tests and I’m so embarrassed! I didn’t even know where to start. Thank you for your time anyway.”

“I did the test too quickly. Give me one more and I will show you. I know the then was supposed to be than. In reading it over, I said to myself, ‘Oh, I knew that!!'”

“What’s your problem? I think 90 percent is a good score. So, some things do get past the ‘experts.'”

“Oh dear, I did miss some things, didn’t I?”

Bottom line:

*** This network exists to connect writers with highly qualified freelance editors and proofreaders, and to screen out the unqualified.

*** The editors in this freelance network are truly competent and ethical. They are not necessarily the highest priced, but they are not the lowest priced either. If you’re only shopping for the lowest price, you probably won’t select one of our editors. If you are looking for exceptional talent, integrity, and reasonable rates, you probably will.

The ultimate beneficiaries of all this effort are our clients. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for.

Ayla Myrick
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