Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Professional Edit Costs How Much?

Rhonda Browning White

You received your free sample edit back from a talented editor at Inspiration For Writers, Inc., and your editor pointed out issues in your manuscript that you didn’t even realize were there. Sure, you expected her to correct a couple of typos you may have missed, but you surely didn’t think your story contained passive voice, or inconsistent tenses, or lack of tension in the first paragraph. And you certainly weren’t expecting to learn that something that felt so clear when you wrote it is unclear to your readers (but upon re-reading, you now can see where it might be confusing). Perhaps you were surprised to agree with her when she pointed out that your main character is too flat or cliché. Upon reading—and rereading—your sample edit letter, and reviewing—over and over again—the changes in the sample edit, you understand that a professional edit is exactly what you need to take your writing to the next level.

But maybe you can’t afford it. (Why on earth do proofreads, edits, and ghost-edits cost so much, anyway?) First, let’s determine why the best editors charge fees that people new to writing may consider high. Did you know that the best editors hold writing degrees, are well-published, as well as teach at and attend conferences and workshops where they continually network with agents and publishers in order to stay on top of the ever-changing market? Did you know the best, most careful editors proofread an average of forty pages per day, edit an average of twenty, and ghost-edit an average of six? It takes a long time to do a good job. What kind of salary do you make in an hour? What kind of salary do you think a well-educated, professionally trained and skilled editor should make in that same hour? 

Okay, you say, the best editors work hard and deserve their pay, but I still can’t afford to have my 100,000-word manuscript ghost-edited! What are you to do? Will you give up? Will you let this tumbling block keep you from reaching your dream of becoming a published author?

Surely not! You deserve success!

So what options are available to a dedicated beginning writer who wants to reach publication level? First, you may want to consider having only a portion of your manuscript professionally edited. Make sure you submit the first chapters for professional editing, as these are the pages an agent or publisher will read initially. Purchase the highest level of service your editor recommends for your work, and send as many pages as you can afford. When your editor returns those pages to you, don’t just read them—study them. Study them hard! Print out your customized manuscript analysis, and read it multiple times, committing the lessons to memory. Carefully read the marked-up copy of your edit, and try to determine why your editor made the changes she made. If your editor suggested specific articles, books or websites on the craft of writing, read them. You can then apply those things you’ve learned to the rest of your manuscript, thereby improving both your story and your writing skill for your next project.

 It’s important to consider a professional edit as the investment it truly is—an investment in your writing career, and thus, your future. Can you forgo that extra-whip, double-shot, caramel-flavored latte a couple of times each week, and put that money toward an edit? Can you cook dinner every other weekend, instead of eating out, and put that extra expense toward your lifelong goal of becoming a published author?

Not only do you consider your edit as an investment in your writing career—the IRS does as well. Every penny you pay for a professional edit is tax deductible. (That is, as long as you hire a legitimate editing company that pays taxes, not someone who works on the side and takes money under the table.) This can greatly reduce your net expense. Also, Inspiration for Writers, Inc., accepts all major credit cards, as well as PayPal revolving credit. Know, too, that Inspiration For Writers, Inc. offers a variety of payment options that may help you acquire the level of service your manuscript needs.

It’s your story, it’s your dream, it’s your future. It’s up to you to invest in yourself and your future as a writer. When you are ready to get serious about your career as a writer, we are here to help you reach your goals.

If not now, when?

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