Pricing & Payment: Your Budget and Timing (banner)

What are the transaction and cost details?



The levels of editorial and other services available are outlined below, with pricing shown on the left. A found newspaper ad has been used to illustrate depth of editorial markup for Levels 1, 2, and 3.

Levels 2 and 3 always include Level 1. However, Level 1 editing is a stand-alone, flat-rate service available only for screenplays.

Original Ad before Review

Link to PDF of unmarked original of ad (with blockouts)
Link to PDF of Levels One, Two, and Three markup items (without notes)

Same Ad Showing Three Levels of Potential Markup


Just the basics:

• Spelling

• Punctuation

• Grammar

• Format suggestions


Link to PDF of Level One markup items (without notes)
Link to PDF of Level One markup items (with notes)
Link to PDF of Level One markup of a draft screenplay page
This level reserved for screenplays, at $1.50 per page

Items Identified (Unannotated)

(PDF shows L1 items)

Items Identified (Annotated)

(PDF shows L1 items)

Sample Screenplay Markup


The basics plus some notes on structure (some suggestions here differ from those in Level 1 example)

Link to PDF of Level Two markup items (without notes)
Link to PDF of Level Two markup items (with notes)
Link to PDF of Level Two markup items (with notes, plus Level One markup items)

Typically $60 per hour; negotiable

Items Identified (Unannotated)

(PDF shows L2 items only)

Items Identified (Annotated)

(PDF shows L2 items only)

All Items (L2 Annotated)

(PDF shows L1 and L2 items, plus L2 annotations)


The basics plus structural suggestions, plus proposed rewrites for overall best effect

Link to PDF of Level Three markup items (without notes)
Link to PDF of Level Three markup items (with notes)
Link to PDF of Level Three markup items (with notes, and Level One markup items and Level Two markup items)

Typically $60 per hour; negotiable

Items Identified (Unannotated)

(PDF shows L3 items only)

Items Identified (Annotated)

(PDF shows L3 items only)

All Items (L3 Annotated)

(PDF shows L1, L2, and L3 items, plus L3 annotations)


Informational assistance


Typically $60 per hour; negotiable


By arrangement. This level includes such services as:

Explanation of markup, whether by telephone, e-mail, or s-mail or in person (billed at standard hourly rate)

One-on-one assistance with writing, editing, and rules and nuances of language (billed at standard hourly rate)


Special consultations and brainstorming


Rates to be negotiated


By arrangement.

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Every editing project is unique. The following steps can help you arrive at a general estimate of what to budget for your project.

Step One—Assess the Amount of Markup Expected

First, consider the quality of your copy. How "clean," or free of errors, would you say it is? Very clean, requiring only "light editing"? Fraught with errors, requiring "heavy editing"? Or somewhere in between, requiring "moderate editing"?

Step Two—Determine the Approximate Cost per Page (Levels 2 and 3)

Start with a baseline of fifteen minutes for (1) a double-spaced 8-1/2" × 11" page, (2) text requiring moderate editing, (3) a choice of Level 2 editing ("nuts and bolts" plus limited comments as to structure and context), and (4) a standard rate of $60 per hour. This midline edit would run $15 per page.

Modify the baseline cost per page according to (1) the amount of markup (light, moderate, or heavy) you intuit your particular copy needs and (2) the depth of editing (Level 2 or Level 3) you prefer. For example:

A "light edit" of Level 2 quality might drop the time per page to, say, two to ten minutes ($2 to $10 per page). This is typical for manuscripts that have been reviewed a number of times previously.

A "heavy edit" of Level 2 quality could require twenty to thirty minutes per page ($20 to $30 per page).

A "very heavy edit" of Level 3 quality, involving considerable markup and suggestions for rewrites, might take a full hour or more. This depth of edit might be needed for such things as lengthy or complicated ad copy and takes into consideration page layout and the use of graphics. The higher expense is offset by the limited number of pages overall and the marketing value to which the project is tied.

Step Three—Multiply Cost per Page by Number of Pages

Obtain a guesstimated total by multiplying the best-guess per-page cost by the number of pages you have.

Step Four—Determine Your Budget

Use your guesstimated total to establish a basic budget for the editing you need. So that your budget will accommodate the actual cost—whether that cost is higher or lower than anticipated—add a percentage of the estimated total to allow a "margin of safety."

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To your great advantage, the editing process often brings to light unforeseen questions about purposes, objectives, and structure. Because of this, editing should not be regarded either as an isolated last step or as a mere afterthought. Obviously, the sooner any potential issues are identified, the greater the opportunity to resolve them early on. Planning ahead so that editorial work is integrated into projects at important junctures can also help keep it from being performed under pressure on a rush basis.

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Essentially, sufficient "between-the-lines whitespace" is needed to do markup. Ideally, text will be easily readable, with type approximately the size of 12-point Courier.

Book manuscripts submitted must be double spaced, on unbound 8-1/2" × 11" paper.

Screenplays must be formatted to standard, with standard internal and external margins, the pages preferably unbound but numbered.

It is preferred that advertising matter be submitted in its near-final version, accompanied by a double-spaced text-only version (with text large enough to read and mark up clearly). This is especially important where near-final material features such things as light lettering on dark backgrounds, dense single spacing, and tiny fonts.

Other types of material, such as attorney documents, are best provided in two formats, one similar to how the final will appear and one double spaced.

Handwritten Markup

If you submit hard copy for handwritten markup, you must provide all items necessary for its reconveyance to you. This includes appropriate packaging; either sufficient postage for s-mail or a completed airbill for your courier service, showing that you the recipient are to be billed for delivery; and any instructions. If exchanges of hard copy are to be by personal handoff, a mutually convenient pickup time can be arranged.

Machine Markup

If you e-mail your material for machine markup, a printout is made for working purposes so that handwritten markup can be prepared first. Printing is charged as an extra, at 20¢ per page; there is no charge for the time required for printing, however.

Scans, Copies, and PDFs

Since e-mailed machine markup is usually sufficient in and of itself, the underlying handwritten markup is typically not delivered to you.

If you would like a copy of the handwritten markup for comparison purposes, however, the markup can be scanned as a PDF and sent to you electronically. This service is available as an extra, charged at $15 per hour.

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Rush jobs are accepted only if in reality there is sufficient time to accomplish the editing needed. A premium of either 50% or 100% is surcharged according to the time limitations involved.

Unreadable Text

If the work you submit for editing is deemed unreadable and/or uneditable (if, for example, it has a dark background against which editor's marks cannot be seen, or the type is single spaced and will need more markup than space can accommodate, or the font is so small that the ink markup would obliterate it), then, with your permission, a typed version of the existing text can be prepared for you and then marked up as if it were what you had originally submitted. Preparation of a typed editable version of text is an extra that is charged for at $30 per hour.

Special Services

Special services such as taking your work to a print shop for copying are billed at $30 per hour (including travel time), plus mileage at the current government-established rate, plus any passthrough costs not covered by the amount you have advanced to cover costs.

Administrative Requests

Extraordinary detailing of invoices, as well as special preparation of additional invoices or other paperwork, is billed at $30 per hour.

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Special reduced rates are available to members of the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA) and Northern California ScreenArtists (NCS).

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You Are Ultimately Responsible
for Your Material and Its Consequences

You understand and agree that the editorial services rendered are provided on a "suggestions offered" basis only. That is, you agree to assume full and complete responsibility (and liability) for your own deadlines, obligations, and content and to hold the editor harmless. You also understand and agree that the review and approval of the editorial suggestions provided, and any changes you make to your material as a result, and anything you may overlook—especially with regard to dates, times, and contact information included in the material or absent therefrom, and the like, particularly in connection with actual or pending events mentioned in the material—are ultimately your responsibility.

You Must Retain Your Originals

You understand that you are responsible for safeguarding your originals and agree to submit only copies for editing. Preserving your originals precludes the possible loss of your valuable work in the mail or otherwise.

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For editorial services performed on an hourly basis, the full amount is considered to be due at the outset. Fifty percent (50%) of the full guesstimated amount is payable upon commencement of the work (when the work is accepted for editing), and the balance (based on the actual total) is payable at completion.

For large projects done in phases, payment can be accomplished in thirds or some other mutually agreed-upon increments.

For screenplays, where the page count is known in advance, the full amount is due and payable at the outset, before work commences.

Payment may be made:

In cash (receipt provided) if you are local

By personal or business check

By credit card via PayPal (PayPal invoices sent to you via e-mail)

For new clients paying by check, work will commence once the check clears.

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Submit a Sample Page for Review

To get an idea of the kind and quality of work you can expect, feel free to submit a sample for review:

A copy of one page of your draft book manuscript

A copy of one page of your published book

A copy of one page of your screenplay

A tear sheet for an ad you published

Something similar

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An Editing Service for People Who Need Exceptionally Clean CopySM

Make contact via's Contact page or by calling (415) 488-6398.
Copyright © 2010–2012 Anne Ross