Re: Editing and writing rates

Subject: Re: Editing and writing rates
From: Barbara Donohue <bdonohue -at- alum -dot- mit -dot- edu>
To: "Christine Kent" <c -dot- bkent -at- bigpond -dot- net -dot- au>
Date: Tue, 08 Apr 2008 09:30:55 -0400

Hi, Christine,

Here are some comments from a freelancer's point of view:

The Editorial Freelancers Assoc. web site has some general guidelines (in US$), including some typical work rates,

The Transcript tidying-up can vary hugely. Try to negotiate an hourly rate, or if you have to give a per-word rate, base your estimate on having edited/tidied a sample of the transcript (or the type of transcript) in question. An editor I know who does this kind of work says the voice-recognition transcripts can be a lot more difficult than transcripts someone types from listening to a recording.

For technical article writing on a subject that requires research (topics I don't already know about and need Internet and/or literature search and/or interviews with subject matter experts), for corporate clients I usually quote around $US 1.50/word. (Some would say this is a high rate, but I'm a degreed engineer with experience working in industry. My added value is in being able to understand technologies without having to be "spoon fed" (in the words of one client).)

Usually corporate clients prefer that I invoice by the hour, up to a pre-agreed not-to-exceed limit. So the agreement would be for researching and writing one draft and one revision of a 1500-word article, X hours at $Y/hour, not to exceed $2250. Note: Be sure to specify how many revisions are covered by the cost estimate! I've had clients go through as many as 12 revisions. After one revision, I charge by the hour.

For ghostwriting (where I'm just recasting someone's own words) or writing about something I don't have to research very much, usually $US 1/word will do it.

When writing articles for trade magazines, they tell me how much they can pay, based on their budget. I do try to bump up the rate when possible. And sometimes can get them to reimburse some or all of my expenses. Depending on the magazine, I've received rates of $US 0.25/word to $1/word. My breakeven rate to make the hourly pay I need to live is $0.60/word, but sometimes it's worth doing a low-rate piece to learn about something new, get the exposure, etc.

Not sure about the book/report summarizing. I suppose you could just add up how long it takes to read 300 pages plus how long it takes to write 10-12 pages. Again, I'd ask for a sample book/report and actually time how long it takes to read/summarize 25 or 50 pages before quoting the job.

Hope your quoting/working goes well.


Barbara Donohue
The engineer who writes. Turning technology into English.
bdonohue -at- alum -dot- mit -dot- edu
Specializing in mechanical technologies

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RE: Pilot Editing Study?: From: Tim Mantyla
RE: Pilot Editing Study?: From: Bonnie Granat
Editing and writing rates: From: Christine Kent

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