Typical fees for copy editing & proofreading

Proofreaders and copy editors are professionals with a trained eye. A proofreader gets paid to correct your spelling, punctuation and basic grammar. A copy editor's job is to perfect your word choices, clarify your language, phrasing, style and syntax. These services ensure that your final copy is clean, accurate and understandable. This is important because precise work builds your credibility, whereas poor-quality copy undermines it.


Typical proofreading rates run by the page and word count, or by the hour. Light proofreading for small manuscripts runs from £2.30 per page (with an estimate of 300 words per page) to £7.80 or £11.70 per 1,000 words. Other proofreading services charge a submission fee (around £13.00 per manuscript) in addition to a £2.20 per page or a £9.70 hourly rate.

Duties of a Proofreader

In addition to spelling, punctuation and basic grammar, a proofreader rectifies incorrect capitalisation, inconsistencies in style, headings or tenses, incorrectly numbered sequences, formatting problems, factual errors and anything else that raises suspicion. The turnaround time for proofreading can be 48 hours or longer depending upon the length and complexity of the work.

Basic Copy Editing

Copy editing is divided into two classifications: basic and advanced. Basic copy editing remedies poor word choices, awkward sentencing and excessive repetition. Initial copy editing services charge either by the page and word count, or by the hour. The basic rate is £3.90 per page to £13.00 per 1,000 words. Other light copy editing services charge a £22.70 submission fee per document in addition to a £3.20 per page or a £11.3 hourly fee.

Additional Duties of Basic Copy Editing

In addition to correcting proper sentencing and typographical errors, basic copy editors cross-check references and make sure that the material is relevant.

Advanced Copy Editing

Advanced copy editing incorporates extensive rewriting and/or reworking of the text in addition to the basic duties of copy editing. Advanced copy editing rates run around £10.70 per page or £35.7 per 1,000 words. Other advanced copy editing services charge a submission fee of £22.70 per manuscript in addition to a £16.20 hourly rate.

Additional Duties of Advanced Copy Editing

In addition to basic copy editing, the advanced copy editor will make sure that the language flows smoothly and is easily understood. The advanced copy editor also earmarks potentially libellous material, corrects the overall format, checks illustrations and diagrams for accuracy, identifies ambiguity and can suggest a rewrite of particular passages that are awkward or clunky.

Submitting Your Work

Submit your work to be proofread and/or copy edited by mailing a printed version or CD of it or by sending it in a Microsoft Word file (version 2000 or earlier) via an e-mail. Word processing software other than a current (2000 or later) Microsoft Word application may change the format of the text when it is transferred, complicating the proofreading and editing processes.

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About the Author

Tracy Stefan began writing professionally in 2007, with work appearing on various websites. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and performing arts from the Evergreen State College. Stefan is also a graduate of Dell'Arte.