A freelance editor invoice gives those that work on a contract-by-contract basis a means of collecting payment by those that employ them; magazines, newspapers, digital articles, blogs, and book writers. Editors often employ one of two (2) pricing methods to charge for their work: by the hour or on a per-page basis. For editors that like to take their time and ensure each page is perfect, charging on an hourly basis is commonly preferred. On the other hand, charging by the page rewards efficiency and productivity – the faster an editor can complete their work, the more their time is worth.
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The type of work freelance editors do is ever-changing and can be considerably different from one project to the next. Their work can range from proofreading a piece for grammatical errors, to giving writers guidance on the storyline, subject, or theme of a book or article, to identifying plot holes in an under-development novel. In short, editors can many hats due to their expertise in writing and acute attention to detail. Overall, freelance (and full-time) editors can find themselves performing the following types of editing:
- Developmental Editing – this type of editing is the most in-depth. It can include making suggestions/alterations to the structure, layout, plot, and consistency to a piece of writing.
- Copy Editing – Looks for repetitive content, grammar mistakes, and the general accuracy of the piece.
- Proofreading – A mild form of copy editing that focuses purely on correcting grammatical errors within a piece (missings periods, incorrect capitalization, run-on sentences, etc.)
The rate an editor should charge for their work depends on the depth of the work done (see above types) and the editor’s experience. For simple proofreading, charging anywhere from $3 to $5 per page is an industry-acceptable rate. For copy or developmental editing, rates as high as $8 per page are not uncommon. Those with significant experience and a strong resume can charge as high as $10 per page for highly involved editing.
In terms of hourly rates, the experience of the editor is the largest factor in the rate that should be charged. For novices, around $20/hr is not unreasonable for developmental and copy editing. For purely proofreading work (by a novice), $12 to $15/hr is more reasonable. However, those with significant experience can (and should) charge higher rates -as high as $85/hr can be justified for high-level substantive work, and upwards of $30/hr for proofreading.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the standard salaries and hourly rate earned by editors in the United States are the following:
- Bottom 10% – $31,500/yr
- Median – $59,480/yr
- Top 10% – $117,810/yr
Hourly rate: $28.60/hr