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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The One Thing You Must Do Before Bidding on an Editing Job

Blogathon, day 17. 

Typically clients who hire you to edit want to know one of two things (or both): how much you charge per hour and how much you'd charge to edit his project. (Keep in mind that "editing" can mean different things--does your client want someone to do line editing, copy editing, or developmental editing, for example? I only do developmental editing for clients as the first two are outside my wheelhouse.) 

Hourly rates vary, but you're usually talking in the $20-50/hour range, depending on your experience and the type of project. After reviewing your client's project, or a part of it, you can bid on it based on your hourly rate. 

However, if you're editing a book or a longer project, make sure that you review more than the first chapter. The first chapter is the one that the client has spent the most time on, and it's likely to be much "cleaner" than the rest of the material. I made this mistake once early on, basing my bid on a quick scan of the first chapter. It wasn't in bad shape and I didn't expect the job to take much time. 

Well, chapter 2 was worse than chapter 1, chapter 3 was even worse than chapter 2, and chapter 4...you get the idea! I'd quoted a project bid based on the number of hours I expected to work, and I was way off. The result was that my hourly rate plummeted. I've never made that mistake again; I skim the entire project before I quote a bid. (If you don't have time, choose a chapter from the middle of the book, not the first one.) You'll have a more accurate sense of how much work the editing job will take.

Your assignment: If you select only a portion of material to review to quote a job, make sure it's from the middle of the book, not the first chapter.  

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