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  • Writer's pictureVivi Anne Hunt

Budget-friendly editing for self-published authors (My Journey)

Hi precious peeps.

So you've finished your book, yay, but now what? If you want to publish it, and more specifically self-publish it, it would be nice to have it edited, right?

Listen, I know all the horror stories - people getting quoted for $1500 and just for one type of editing (there are several - developmental, line/copy, and proofreading)?! I'm going to tell you right now - you do not have to pay that much money for editing.

First of all, there are alternatives...


  • instead of developmental editing (first), you can find beta readers who will find all those pesky problems and inconsistencies (those can be both free or paid)

  • instead of proofreading (third, final) you can use ProWritingAid or Grammarly (the latter has a free version and you can hook it up to Word, too)

However, if you need line/copy editing (second) like I did, you're going to have to search a little for affordable / budget-friendly editors. (By the way, there are editors out there who offer a combination of those types of editing and it can still be within your budget.)

Believe me, there are such editors out there!

And let's get this out of the way right now - just because they're cheaper, doesn't mean they're worse editors. Some of these people are just kind enough and eager enough to work with indie authors who have smaller budgets. That's all. :)

I have found numerous budget-friendly editors who will go with your budget and who charge a lot less than what I mentioned earlier, and they have excellent references.

My Journey

Like I said, I went looking for affordable editing between $200-$500.

My needs were:

  • preferably male

  • who communicates well

  • who has experience and references

  • who is a native speaker

  • whose editing style matches my needs

  • who fits in that budget

First of all, I found a few potential editors via twitter - I just asked the #writingcommunity for a recommendations and a bunch of fellow indie authors recommended some people.

I talked with several editors and got several editing samples (they're usually free) and from everyone I talked to, only one person shone - from his enthusiasm to the fact he didn't mind the gay or steamy scenes to the way he communicated to his pricing to his sample edits.

That said, I have submitted my first MS for editing (I booked him for two) and I will let you know how it goes. I have no doubt I'll be happy.

Other than the fee I paid for each book, I am also anticipating an extra charge for later fixes if I need any (if I need to revise), but that's still going to be no more than $500/book.

People That Didn't Cut It

There were some people I talked to that just didn't cut it, but I'm sure they can help other people. It's all about whether you mesh with those editors yourself.

For example, there was one individual who was offering $150 because she's just starting. There's another who offered to edit for about $200 even though she has quite a bit of experience, but she hasn't officially opened her editing practice yet.

There were a couple of amazing editors who were booked out for the entire year!

And finally, there was one agency, who got me in touch with an editor, who quoted me with quite a lot of money, and I politely declined.

For your reference - my manuscripts are around the 50,000 word-range.

Some editors charge by the word, some just give you an overall price, and some are even opened to negotiations based on your budget. There are some very reasonable people out there who just want to make you happy, not quote you impossible prices.

That said, if you can afford the expensive editors, great!

But if like me, your budget doesn't allow it OR you have a ton of books and you can't afford paying so much for each book (hello!), then you have to work with alternatives and/or budget-friendly editors.


Right now I am using a combination of:

  • beta readers

  • budget-friendly editor

  • editing software

To make sure that my books are their best before they get published. (And listen, someone said 'well, why pay for editing on a self-published book, you're not gonna get the money back' and to that, I say - it's not about getting the money back, it's about providing a quality product and not getting incensed reviews that complain about your typos.)

So I'm very happy with that process!

In the end, I would suggest trusting people's personal recommendations more than some references you see on a page somewhere. (All of my editors were recommended by indie authors who had used them, you know?)

If you want some recommendations or have questions, hit me up on twitter - @ViviAnneHunt. I am always there, and I can hook you up with interesting people. :)

Good luck on your publishing journey! You're amazing!

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