Rates, notes, and sample project


I offer three levels of editing. The first a two-part developmental edit package. I first process the manuscript for flaws in the structure or plot, poor character development, stiff dialogue, and so on, creating in-document changes and notes using the “Track Changes” function. I return the edited file to you along with a detailed “edit letter”. This document explains what I did, and what general issues you should be aware of with the work. It’s usually one to three pages long, depending on the length of the manuscript, and the kind of errors that I found.

You would then revise, and return it to me for a round of line edits (see below). For projects which need this heavy editing, I do it in two parts so that I’m not using time and your money to edit grammar and punctuation errors out of passages you’ll be cutting or changing anyway, and so that you still have a full line edit after you’ve made your initial revisions.

I also offer simple line editing, which includes editing for tone, paragraph structure, and other in-line mistakes, as well as common errors (grammar, spelling, punctuation, usage). This is a straightforward set of edits, and after marking up your manuscript, I return it to you with an edit letter.

Finally, I offer proofreading: checking for typos, spelling/punctuation errors, formatting mistakes, and other minor mechanical problems. This is the final stage of editing, suitable for a manuscript which has already been through another editor.

If you aren’t sure which level of editing your current project needs, I will read through your entire manuscript for a $50 non-refundable reading fee. You get a letter stating what I think your novel needs, and if you choose to hire me, that $50 comes off my fee for the job, meaning you’ve paid nothing extra. If you don’t, then I keep it for my time and you still have the edit letter. I strongly recommend this if you have not already been through developmental edits with another editor.


  • Proofreading is .5 cent per word
  • Line editing is 1 cent a word
  • Two-part developmental edit is 2 cents per word

I generally turn line edits around in three weeks for a novel of over 50,000 words but less than 100,000; less than 50,000 will usually be done in two weeks. If it might be longer, because of other work I am concurrently doing, or because we’re including developmental edits, you will know up front and it will be in the contract.

If you need your manuscript edited faster, I do offer a rush rate: an additional $50 for every 25,000 words, added to the initial payment. I also write into the contract an option for further edits of the same manuscript at a reduced rate if you revise quickly and want me to take another pass on it within a month.

How to get started:

I send you a contract outlining what you get and by what date. You agree and return it to me with half of the fee up front (I accept Paypal). For proofreading or line edits, the other half is due on my timely completion of your edits. For the developmental package, you would pay 1/2 to start, another 1/4 when you’ve revised the project and are returning it to me for line edits, and the final 1/4 upon completion.

Sample project:

Say you have a 95,000 word novel you’d like to have line-edited. You’ve never worked with me before, but you know someone who has, you enjoyed an anthology I edited, or you’re a fan of my fiction…

Step 1) Contact me about your project. We briefly discuss what you’re looking for, what genre it’s in (which gives me a chance to tell you that yes, I’ve edited erotica, or no, I won’t edit your 200k epic exploration of why child prostitution works so well in other countries and we should make that legal in the US), and your time frame. I offer the $50 pre-reading, you ask for a sample edit first.

Step 2) You send me 5 pages from your novel, and I edit it as described above. In addition, if I think the project needs developmental editing, I tell you. This gives you a chance to send me the entire project plus the reading fee. After reading I write up a two-page list of notes for you to review.

Step 3) You decide which kind of editing you want. I write up the contract and email it to you; you agree. I send you an invoice via Paypal, which you pay promptly. If you’re doing the line editing, that would be:

95,000 x $0.01 = $950

-$50 reading fee = $900

1/2 (the down payment) = $450

Step 4) I edit your work. If I have large questions, I contact you to ask them. Small questions, such as, “Her hair was red in the first scene but is blonde now—do you want to keep it red, or insert a line/scene when she changes it?” are made in the comments section of the manuscript itself.

Step 5) I return the edited manuscript to you on time, and invoice you for the next payment or balance due, depending on whether you went with developmental or line editing.

Step 6) You may choose, according to our contract, to process the line edits quickly and send it back to me for another pass. You let me know you’ll be doing this, and I invoice you for the additional fee when I get your revised novel. I re-edit it, taking care to look for newly introduced errors and whether it now reads cleanly. I send it back to you, you make any final changes, and your novel is done. Celebrate!

Step 7) Submit it to agents or publishers. Publish it yourself. Put it up on your website as a serial, gaining fans as you release each chunk of story. Whatever you want to do, it’s ready. (Let me know so I can tell my readers where to find it!)

Step 8) Recommend me to your friends. Come back to me with your next editing project.


  • I will do a 5-page sample edit of your manuscript if we have not worked together before. This is a free service, designed to show you what you’re getting when you hire me.
  • I work in a .doc (or .odt if you prefer) with Track Changes, so you have an opportunity to review any changes, questions, or suggestions before accepting them. I always recommend that you save two copies of this edited manuscript: one to have in case you need to go back and look at my notes or edits after you’ve accepted them, and another to work from. That way you have a backup to review if you decide you made the wrong choice about a particular line or scene.
  • I do edit short stories. I’ve had to revise my process recently, and am now sending contracts and requiring the same payment schedule as above. Short stories, novelettes, and novellas are edited more quickly and usually don’t require a rush fee. I will do a free 1 page sample edit for short stories, or a 3 page sample edit for anything over 20,000 words.
  • I offer the lowest rates possible because a lot of my clients are new authors or planning to self-publish, and my goal is to help them create their best work while on a budget. I can safely say you won’t find a less expensive professional editor, especially not working in genre fiction. I have over twenty years experience working as an editor for hire—meaning that someone paid me to do that job, and kept hiring me to do it. While your friends and even other writers can offer valuable opinion as beta-readers of your work, editing is a separate skill. An enthusiastic amateur may mean less money up front, but will cost you in terms of sales and reviews.
  • Please submit your project to me in proper manuscript format. I will return it for formatting or charge an additional $50 fee to make the corrections myself.

My editing resume can be found here. You can contact me at carriecuinn [at] gmail [dot] com, or through my online contact form.

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