How Much Does Editing Cost?

How Much Does Editing Cost?

You don’t have to be a professional writer to afford professional editing. Let’s compare the cost of four different types of editing services, from amateur to professional:

  • Peers
  • Editing software
  • Penmob
  • One-on-One Editing


Peer editing: Free (as in beer)
Most likely you’ve had a peer look over your writing for you. It’s free and, if it’s a fellow writer, you can arrange a swap. But there are some drawbacks:

  • A friend might not feel comfortable giving you the degree of direct, honest feedback you need to truly improve your writing.
  • You’re limited by your friend’s knowledge of grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, plot, etc. Goodness knows none of my friends should rely on me to catch their comma splices!
  • Consistency isn’t a given. Your friend is working for free, so some editing sessions they might be extremely thorough and other sessions, not so much. And sometimes friends get busy with work or family obligations, so you have to adjust your expectations accordingly.


Editing software: $140 – $359 per year (Grammarly)
Most people find that the built-in editing feature of their word processor of choice isn’t robust enough to catch all the errors in their writing. For some, the solution is to invest in beefed up editing software. They vary widely in pricing – some are even free – and reliability. The big name in the game is Grammarly.

Grammarly charges either $29.95 per month, $59.95 quarterly or $139.95 annually. Some of the perks of Grammarly are that it’s a plugin that will edit everything right down to your emails – no more need for witty email signatures excusing your writing faux pas.

Drawbacks: Unfortch, Grammarly is not currently compatible with Google Docs. It does play nice with Windows and OSX, but is only Microsoft Office compatible if you have Windows. Depending on how frequently you need editing, you might also find the subscription-service pricing structure rather steep.

Software also isn’t where it needs to be to catch all the nuances within the English language that a real-life person can. Software can’t help you unsnarl a tangled plot or discuss pacing and help you weigh your word choice.


Penmob: $.02 – $.06 per word
Penmob follows the format of an online writers’ workshop, and allows you to name your price for several editors to work on your piece. Depending on the depth of editing you need – from proofreading to copyediting to our specialty, developmental editing – you’ll see a “suggested price” that will likely be in the range of $.02 – $.06 per word. Penmob is an affordable option that will still give you the human-touch of a real editor, but the editors are far enough removed that they can give you the impartial feedback a friend might struggle with.

And for those of you that feel anxious about meeting face-to-face with someone over your writing, Penmob allows you to get the feedback you need without compromising your comfort. We’ve already got a group of hand-picked freelance editors, so you don’t have to waste any time researching editors and testing them out until you find one who fits your needs. Just post your writing and let our editors do their magic.

Solo Editor: $30 – $60 per hour
The Editorial Freelancers Association list these suggested rates for editors, but you may find that an editor charges more or less depending on their years of experience:

Type of Work

Estimated Pace

Range of Fees

Basic copyediting 5-10 pages/hr $30-40/hr
Heavy copyediting 2–5 pages/hr $40–50/hr
Developmental editing 1–5 pages/hr $45–55/hr
Substantive or line editing 1–6 pages/hr $40–60/hr
Proofreading 9-13 pages/hr $30-35/hr

Also keep in mind that editors are very eclectic, interesting people. Your chances of getting great feedback are extremely high when you put your writing in front of a group with them, but if you’re looking for the one, you will need to spend some up-front time doing research.

So when should you seek out one-on-one editorial services versus using Penmob?

  • One-on-one editing is best when you have a long-haul project like a book length manuscript, or if you’re working on something more academic like a thesis project.
  • Penmob should be turned to when you’re working on short to medium literary or commercial pieces of writing. Short stories, personal essays, plays and blog posts.


Want To Give Penmob a Try?
The best way to learn about Penmob is to experience it first-hand. You can sign up now to treat your writing to a team of editors. Imagine a NASCAR pit crew swarming a car to get the driver back on the road in better condition except with your WORDS.


Image source: Pexels