Price on Your Head

Recently there has been a discussion on one of the LinkedIn groups I belong to, concerning professionalism in the editing business and its effect on the cost of editing services.

The original poster asked for advice on how to quote a price to a prospective client. There were dozens of responses, with several opinions offered as to whether an hourly rate versus a page or project rate were optimum tools, the importance of assessing a sample of the writing to be edited before attempting to formulate a quote, and getting important terms in writing while leaving oneself room to allow for unforeseen occurrences which could have a negative impact on the editor’s work and bottom line.

One longtime and very vocal member chided another for charging a very modest hourly rate for her work, saying that catering to “starving authors,” while well-intentioned, belittles the importance of editing as a profession, and makes it more difficult for those editors who depend on their businesses as their sole sources of income to garner a livable wage.

My opinion is that every market deserves to be served. There are commercial farmers who are able to provide a large swath of the population with food, backyard gardeners who share their abundance with neighbors, and the folks with a single pot that puts fresh tomatoes in their family’s salad for a couple of weeks. There is room in the garden for all of us.


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