Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
Lately at Indie-Scribable, I’ve had a few prospective clients contact me about proofreading their novels, only to lose them when I quote my price. As you’ve heard me say before, I started Indie-Scribable as a lower-cost alternative to the typical “professional” editor, who often charges upwards of $3K for proofreading a novel. Let’s not even talk about the cost of copyediting. It’s out of reach for most indie writers.
Now I’m a little baffled at the idea that I might be charging too much.
My rate for proofreading boils down to a penny a word. That means an 80,000 word book’ll cost you $800 vs about $1200 at the common rate of $35/hour. What bugs me is that it seems as if a lot of indie writers would like to have their books proofread for a couple hundred bucks — or less. And the sick thing is, thanks to freelance directories like Upwork, they can often find freelancers willing to do it. One recent contact of mine found someone to do her 74,000 word book for $150.
Obviously there’s a “get what you pay for” factor here. Someone going over 80,000 words for $200 isn’t going to settle for $6 an hour. Nope, she’s going to do the job twice as fast and push the rate up to at least $12, and even that’s ridiculously low for professional quality. Guess what? You might not get professional quality.
And you won’t get, as well, the kind of editorial advice I provide as part of the package. When I proofread a book, I also essentially beta read it. And I give you back your edited manuscript along with extensive notes. I can’t help it. I’m a writer. When I think of something that can help you, I’ll throw it out there. No proofreader charging $200 will do that for you; she can’t afford to.
So here’s today’s poll question. What do you think is a reasonable price for indie writers to pay for proofreading? Am I running too high at a penny a word? Or do a lot of indie writers have unrealistic ideas about what editors ought to charge?
Federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour. It’s $10.50 in California. Why are there so many editors out there willing to work for less than a dishwasher gets?