Clarity Precision Accuracy Brevity
Cost EstimatesBase rates run from $25 to $50 per hour depending on the task and the expertise required. (Test development, for example, is a highly specialized skill and consequently charged at a higher rate than general copy editing.) Clients may choose to pay by the hour or by the project.
[By comparison, minimum wage in Alberta and Ontario is $15/hour; average hourly wage in Canada is $28/hour; Editors Canada suggests comparing at hourly rate of $60/hour.]
FictionEstimates are determined by the type and extent of the editing required. We therefore need to do an appraisal before we can accurately estimate costs.
Manuscript Appraisal / Sample Edit
Clients submit the first 20 pages of their manuscript, plus a synopsis (roughly what one would initially submit to an agent or publisher if looking for a traditional publisher.) Essential Edits then performs a sample edit on these 20 pages.
The sample edit allows Essential Edits to provide a more accurate estimate of costs and to draw up the contract specifying the work to be done. The appraisal also provides feedback on the submission package for those expecting to submit to agents or traditional publishers, or our assessment of the book's readiness and commercial potential, if self-publishing.
A manuscript appraisal costs $150. The appraisal fee is set low because it is payable in advance and non-refundable. It represents your opportunity to access the benefits of structural/stylistic/copy editing from Essential Edits on a trial basis without making a significant investment. The sample edit allows the client to determine if the edit is (a) at the desired level, (b) of the desired quality, (c) and provides the desired type of feedback, before committing to the expense of a full edit.
This approach also protects the client from paying for the wrong service. The term "editing" can refer to many different tasks, from proofreading to ghostwriting, so it is important the client is clear on which service is being sought.
Copy editors assume, for example, that any manuscript handed them is the final draft, and their job is just to check for grammar, spelling and the like. That can be an expensive mistake if the author thought they were getting the sort of "editing" that points out problems with plot, character, the book's internal logic, and so on. There is no point in having a perfectly spelled manuscript if the "surprise ending" is that the butler did it. On the other hand, an author may not want an editor charging for extensive commentary on the storyline when all that was wanted was someone to check for typos.
The Essential Edits appraisal recommends the appropriate level of editing for the manuscript, and the sample edit on the first 20 pages demonstrates what that would look like. This "no surprises" approach avoids costly misunderstandings and ensures customer satisfaction.
Memoir and AutobiographyEditing memoir shares many of the same characteristics as editing fiction (see above), but in addition to substantive, stylistic, and copy editing, may include additional services such as developmental editing, interviewing, or ghost writing. Given that the starting point for memoir can vary so greatly (a vague intention to get started; a few scattered notes; a series of blog posts; or a completed manuscript) the best way for the author to explore options is to contact Essential Edits directly. There is no charge for this initial contact to determine if available staff are a good match for the client's needs.
Again, once the general shape of the author's needs are clear, Essential Edits will request a work sample of 10-30 pages (if available) for a preliminary appraisal/sample edit. As described under "fiction" above, the sample edit affords the client the opportunity to see if the input from Essential Edits is the type and quality desired. The charge for this initial appraisal and sample edit will vary based on the materials available, but will be kept to a maximum of $150.
Alternatively, where a work sample is not yet available, or the client is looking for ghost writing, a more extensive consultation may be required. A retainer of $150 may be requested to pay for the necessary meetings at the hourly rate of $25 (our lowest rate). Again, the purpose of this initial retainer is to determine the nature and extent of the work required to provide an accurate estimate of costs for the completed manuscript, and for the client to be sure that Essential Edits is right for them.
As discussed in the section on memoir, editing may not be required for memoir intended for family use; or there may be less expensive alternatives than hiring a professional editor; or the manuscript may only require proofreading or copyediting. Completed manuscripts intended for commercial publication may anticipate charges ranging from $1500 to $5000, depending on the type and extent of editing required.
First, contact Essential Edits to ensure that there is a staff member with sufficient expertise in the area to take on the project. Essential Edits believes in carefully matching editors to clients to ensure quality results.
Costs are determined by the nature and extent of the editing required. Prior to signing a major contract, the client will be asked to submit a work sample related to the anticipated project for an appraisal and sample edit. The appraisal and sample edit costs $150, payable in advance and nonrefundable. As with fiction and memoir (above), this step is necessary to ensure that the client is given an accurate estimate, and that the client is satisfied with the type and quality of editing on offer.
Ghostwriting—creating original text based on author notes or rough drafts—may also be available from Essential Edits if the topic is within the area of the staff's interest and expertise. (This service is not available to students writing assignments, theses or dissertations.)
Contracts are payable in advance of any work performed, but may be broken up into manageable instalments appropriate to the size of the contract. Alternatively, some clients find it convenient to deposit a retainer with Essential Edits, so that they can seek advice when they need it without having to wait for a payment to clear; Essential Edits provides accounting of time used and alerts the client when the balance is getting low.
Theses and DissertationsRoutine Estimates
Essential Edits subscribes to the Editors Canada ethical guidelines for working on theses and dissertations. The estimates below are therefore for standard thesis and dissertation copy editing.
Note that 'rush jobs' to meet some deadline of the client's are charged at double or triple the usual hourly rate, if they can be accommodated at all.
Re-edits of subsequently revised chapters of the same document are charged separately and are not included in the price of the initial edit, unless specifically stated in the contract.
Alternatively, if paying by the hour, some clients find it easier to deposit a retainer with Essential Edits against which work can be charged as it comes up; unused balances are of course returned. This is particularly useful when graduate students (with the approval of their supervisor) are seeking coaching over and above routine copy editing.
Academic Articles and BooksRecent graduates, new faculty, and even experienced faculty may all benefit from editing before submitting academic articles or book chapters or modifying a thesis or dissertation for book publication. As with dissertations and non-fiction book editing, estimates will vary by topic, the type of editing required, and the current state of the manuscript. The most efficient approach is to contact Essential Edits with the specifics of your article or book.
Grant and Project ProposalsCitizens and faculty who wish assistance with grant or project proposals in the arts, social sciences, or education may benefit from the experience of Essential Edits staff. Again, contact Essential Edits with the details of your needs for an estimate.