From the Editor's Desk

What’s the Cost of Editing Worth?

“What do you think a professional editor’s payscale should be?”

Dave Bricker writes about the skillset involved in good editing. He says:

“This kind of professional is difficult to come by—this editor understands both the left-brained, technical points of fine writing and the right-brained art of communicating stories, ideas, emotions, experiences, and streams of consciousness and perspective for which there are no names. We’d sell this talented person short by offering $100,000/year but let’s use that number for the sake of discussion.”

Unfortunately, average industry standards don’t reflect the $100,000 a year he suggests. (I mean salaried house editors as well as freelancers and contractors like myself.) As he points out, some people charge as much as $75 per hour, but if you look at the EFA average hourly rates, that’s not the norm. This is just how it is.

He’s right that there are a lot of interpersonal skills as well as a knowledge base, and that’s the cool thing, in my opinion. The writer who hires me is paying for access to specialized information with customized application, as well as tailoring to their sense of communication and expression — something I tend to pick up from the manuscript and the contact I have with the writer, and translate into how I address them.

It’s just how it is.


I feel pretty strongly that you’re handing over a piece of yourself when you send me a book, and I look for you in the pages. Books are where we meet each other across time and distance. That’s what I love about this job.

Image credit: Phil Wender on Flickr | License: CC BY 2.0


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