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Content editing? Developmental editing? Copyediting? Proofreading? Coaching? What kind of editing do you want? What kind of editing do you need?

Definitions — and pricing — vary among editors. Here are my recommendations, editing definitions, and rates for various situations that writers face.

Please be aware that if we work together, a down payment of 50 percent or the specified number of hours must accompany your signed agreement. The agreement sets forth what we each will provide and expect in our working relationship. After you have signed the agreement, I will sign it and return the original to you.

I am happy to provide a sample agreement and a sample evaluation prepared for another author. I am happy to provide sample copy or content editing of up to three pages at no charge. References available. Contact me.


Many writers find themselves in situations like these. See how I can help:

  • "I'm self-publishing / seeking traditional publication and am good to go on my work's content, but I want to put my best foot forward" / "My manuscript is perfect as is. All I want is someone to read it for typographical errors, like 'does' instead of 'dose.'"

What you want is what I call copyediting, correction of grammatical, punctuation, typographic, spelling, style errors, basic fact checking, or final proofreading. I am happy to refer you to a competent copyeditor / proofreader.


  • "I want to know if it's any good, if I should keep at this" / "I keep getting rejected by agents or publishing houses and would like help in determining what's wrong."

    My recommendation is a manuscript evaluation. I'll read your completed manuscript or book and provide a three- to five-page written summary on its strengths, how it could be made stronger, and its current commercial viability. I also will address up to five specific questions you provide at the time that we agree to work together. Typically, I also make some comments directly on the electronic or hard copy file of your work. This does not include content or copyediting. Pricing:

    Manuscripts under 25,000 words, $275
       25,001-50,000 words, $375
       50,000-75,000 words, $475
       75,000-100,000 words, $575
    more than 100,000 words, varies by length.

If the author desires, a twenty-minute phone consultation about the work and written evaluation may be scheduled for an additional $65.


  • "I'm serious about publishing and selling / marketing my work (traditionally or self-publishing), but I need some help with structure / pacing / flow / organization / dialogue / character development."

This is content or developmental editing. For me, this type of editing is very interactive. I make comments on a chapter-by-chapter basis with specific suggestions for improvement. You make the changes, decide to leave things as they are, ask me questions, ask for help in making the changes, whatever you like. Typically, we go back and forth two to four times.

Book proposal / query letter development or creation also falls into this category. This does not include copyediting or proofreading, although I typically make some technical changes as I go.

Pricing: $75 per hour with a binding agreement on your total investment after I read (at no charge to you) your first chapter. If the process takes fewer hours than I estimate, you pay only for the hours I worked. If it takes longer, that’s my problem for underestimating, and I will complete the work for no charge above the ceiling stated in our agreement.

Typically, this back and forth happens via e-mail. I’m happy to schedule phone consultations billed in thirty-minute increments at the rate of $75 per hour.

Important: Please stop writing and rewriting your work while it is in my hands. There can only be one live, working version at any time. If you present a revised version of a project while it is in my hands for editing or evaluating, my rate for reconciling the versions will be $100 per hour with a minimum fee of $300, regardless of the extent of the revision.


  • "I've got a great idea for a book, but I don’t know how to get started" / "I've got the first fifty pages done and I don't know what to do next" / "I'm a newbie and don't understand anything about publishing and have a million questions."

This is coaching. I work via e-mail or phone as you prefer, answering questions and offering direction on your work or your writing career based on my decades in publishing and communication. The difference between coaching and content editing is that coaching is a more open-ended, ongoing relationship, while content editing typically is done on a project basis.

This option typically includes evaluation of your writing, but does not include copyediting or proofreading. Pricing: $75 per hour.


Package discounts available.
Rates effective 1/15/2018.



Download a PDF of my ratesheet.
(Please note that I no longer do copyediting or proofreading.)





                   © 2017, Melanie Rigney