Thursday, November 19, 2009

Can You Provide Me an Estimate?

I don't provide guaranteed estimates of how much it will cost to edit a particular text. However, sometimes clients like for me to edit their text for just one hour and then let them see what an hour's worth of work on their text looks like. Then they are able to make a better guess of their budget for the complete project.

You can also provide your own rough estimate with the following equations, which I've developed over time after studying the final invoices of many clients, so they are specific to my speed and skill.

To editors, a page of text equals 250 words. So rather than just counting your pages, you'll get a more accurate measure of the "page count" by dividing your total number of words by 250.

For a mechanical edit only, budget 5–10 minutes (around $5.42–$10.83) per page. The number of minutes varies widely based on how much editing the text requires.

For a substantive edit, you should budget about 15 minutes ($16.25) per page. This should give you a high-end estimate. You don't need to add any more time for the copy editing part, since that is included in the substantive edit.

For a substantive edit of a document that includes many footnotes or in-text citations, budget about 20 minutes ($21.67) per page. Don't forget to include the bibliography or works-cited list in your word/page count. Note that this estimate does not include verification of citations (see more about those here). In the case of citation verification, your budget would depend strongly on the current state of your citations as well as the obscurity of the sources.

For an explanation of the differences between a mechanical and a substantive edit, see my page about that.

I hope this will help you as you plan your project's editing budget.