I plan to self publish a book (non fiction). Currently I have 150.000 characters, but when it's done I will end up with around 250.000. I am not a native english speaker but write the book in english, so I want to pay somebody to edit my book. Although my target audience are software developers, it is an "pretty easy" read for everybody. It is basically non-technical, more explaining "how to" work instead of "how to solve technical problems".

I have learned you can have an editor in two ways:

  1. Editors for proof reading, grammar correction etc only
  2. Editors who does 1) plus giving tipps on improving the readability, caring on logical errors etc

I have already learned how I might find a native speaking editor. I would like to calculate the expenses for my book but do not know how much an Editor takes for such a job and how long it would take to complete it. Some raw estimations from your experience would be great.


Because comments to this question explained me that nobody calculates in Characters (except me :-)), I counted words:

The current document has around 30.000 words, but I expect around 50.000 when it is ready. When I copy the text into Word for Mac, it shows me 49 pages. I tend to think they will become around 90 when I am done.


2 Answers 2


Your best bet is to get some quotes.

I realize that sounds like I'm dodging the question, but I'm not. My method, for example, is to work on a manuscript for one hour and use that as gauge to estimate the rest of the work. For some writers, that's 15 pages an hour; for others it's 30. So my quote for the "15 pages an hour" person is twice as much as the other one.

Some editors have flat rates: $50 an hour, 50 cents a page. Some will charge you by the project: $800 no matter how long it takes.

You won't know unless you start asking for estimates from actual editors who might work with you. I couldn't give you an estimate for your non-fiction ESL work without looking at it.

  • 1
    Well, i upvoted and accepted this even when I have no clue about the price ranges :-| I have expected more of "something between $500 and $1000" or maybe "up to $5000". Anyway, it already helped me to learn that there is so much difference in the rates and I know now that I need to ask for many quotes. Thanks!
    – Christian
    Oct 10, 2012 at 17:34

If you're particularly price sensitive don't forget that using an online editor upfront can save you money. These automated editing programs are generally free/cheap compared to a human editor and can pick up a lot of the stuff that an editor would. They leave the editor to concentrate their time on stylist issues rather than grammar, word usage, and structure. Take a look at (in no particular order): http://autocrit.com http://prowritingaid.com http://masteredit.net Good luck!

  • Great websites, thank you for sharing them. I will definitely go with one as it will also help me with blogging, where a "in person" editor is not possible.
    – Christian
    Oct 24, 2012 at 14:08

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