What does beta reading cost? What about proofreading? Proof-editing?
Well. It depends.
I know that probably isn’t the answer you were looking for. I understand that price is an important factor when considering whether to hire a freelancer. Unfortunately, because I tailor the service so much to the individual client and project, there can be no simple answer on the issue of price.
All I can do is give you some ballpark figures and encourage you to contact me for a personalised quote.
Pricing for proofreading and proof-editing
Prices at £3–£10 per 1000 words, depending on MS length and complexity of the work. Determined based on a FREE sample proofread/proof-edit of your MS. Most will fall in the middle range of £4–£7 per 1000 words.
For turnaround time, you can expect something in the region of 1–2 weeks for a standard-length novel of middling complexity/needs. This time can be brought down by paying for fast-tracking (+50%). Alternatively, if speed is not a concern, but price is, you can choose the flexi option and save 25% on your standard quote. Your quote will come with a clear overview of the different options.
Pricing for beta reading
Because there are more distinct aspects to a beta read than there is to a proofread, and because you get to pick and choose which you want and to what extent, I cannot present a price range as neatly as above.
But to give you a rough idea, below are a couple of example quotes, along with some notes on how tweaking the ‘settings’ can affect the price.
I calculate the prices by estimating how many hours the project will take me and multiplying by my desired hourly rate for beta reading (currently a modest £8).
Manuscript length: 90,000 words
Annotations: commentary + grammar/spelling throughout
- Changing the report to a brief one would take the price down to £114.
- Eliminating grammar/spelling would take you down to £112.
- Eliminating annotations altogether (so just a detailed report) would land you at £90.
- Annotations (commentary + grammar/spelling) on only a third of the MS would be £106.
- The cheapest option would be a brief report and no annotations, which would cost £66.
Manuscript length: 30,000 words
Annotations: commentary + grammar/spelling throughout
- Changing the report to a brief one would take the price down to £54.
- Eliminating grammar/spelling would take you down to £69.
- Eliminating annotations altogether (so just a detailed report) would land you at £62.
- Annotations (commentary + grammar/spelling) on only a third of the MS would be £67.
- The cheapest option would be a brief report and no annotations, which would cost £39.
Hopefully, that gives you some indication of what to expect. If you’re not quite sure what you want yet, I’ll be happy to quote you for a couple of different combinations of services.
But always make sure that what you ask for matches what you need as closely as possible – both so you don’t pay for more than you need, but crucially also don’t go for the cheapest option just because it’s the cheapest: you may end up not getting the kind of feedback you were actually looking for and essentially wasting your money.
Turnaround is typically 2–3 weeks for standard-length novels, but depending on your needs and my schedule, it could be quicker (without the need to pay for fast-track). Your quote will come with a more precise estimate. Fast-track (+50%) and flexi options (up to 25% off) will also be detailed therein.
Requesting a quote
To receive your quote, please email me, attaching a sample of your MS (minimum 1,000 words, full MS is OK too) and providing the following information:
- Service you’re interested in: beta reading or proofreading
- Basic information about the MS: genre, word count (if incomplete, an estimate is OK) and blurb/premise
- A few words about you, including your location, your author journey and plans for the MS. I don’t need lots of detail, but it may help me to help you if I know the basics of whether you’re looking to submit to agents or self-publish, and how much writing/publishing experience you have.
- Scheduling: Is the MS ready now? If not, when will it be ready? Is the work time-sensitive?
- For proofreading: what is the MS’s revision/editing history, and are you looking at a traditional proofread or a proof-edit? Has the MS been typeset/formatted for print publication (affects whether I look for layout issues or not)?
- For beta reading: what combination of services are you looking at? Where relevant, please also specify how much of the MS it applies to. E.g. I’d like a beta read of my 90K MS. Detailed report, commentary on the first half. No grammar/spelling. Prose feedback on the first 2,000 words. If you’re unsure about one or more aspects, you can ask for multiple quotations (within reason), e.g. Please can you also let me know the price for the above but with no prose feedback.
I will then take a look at your MS sample and calculate a quote for you. It will include prices and turnaround time for the standard, fast-track and flexi options. If you’re looking at proofreading, I will also provide a free sample of my work to help you figure out if we’re a good fit.
If you’re interested in working with me, please then let me know as soon as possible so I can reserve space for you in my calendar.
I’ve written a blog post breaking down the process of getting a quote. It’s centred around proofreading specifically, but the process is fairly similar for beta reading, the main difference being that I don’t, as a rule, provide a sample (if you don’t ask for annotations, it’s not applicable anyway).