Rates for proofreading a manuscript
Thread poster: Cendrine Marrouat

Cendrine Marrouat
Canada
Local time: 11:52
English to French
May 31, 2010

Hello everyone,

I was recently asked to proofread a manuscript for a novel. The word count is approximately 31,000 words (about 200 pages).

I would like to know what you usually charge. Is it per word, page, hour? What is the regular rate? I was thinking along the line of 16 dollars an hour.

Your answers and advice are truly appreciated.

Thank you!


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 17:52
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
For a publisher? For the author? May 31, 2010

...

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Cendrine Marrouat
Canada
Local time: 11:52
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Author or publisher does not make any difference May 31, 2010

Thank you for responding. However, I do not think that the question is relevant. I am also a writer.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:52
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
It is relevant May 31, 2010

Cendrine Marrouat wrote:
However, I do not think that the question is relevant.


A publisher has already calculated a potential profit for the book, whereas an author is still only hoping to get an income. So on the one hand, you'd do well to charge less for a private person than for a publisher. On the other hand, if the publisher wants it proofread, it means that the publisher was sufficiently impressed with it, and this means that the quality of the work is probably already up to standard, and proofreading it should take you less time.

My suggestion would be to proofread a few random pages as a sample, to see how long it takes and how much work is involved, and then to quote (or estimate) based on that.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:52
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Your hourly rate is for you to fix May 31, 2010

You seem to be asking two very different questions here:

1.[/quote]I would like to know what you usually charge. Is it per word, page, hour?[/quote]
I have never proofread a book, so I'm not entirely sure, but I believe all are possible options and it is for you and your client to decide on a method of calculation.

2.
What is the regular rate? I was thinking along the line of 16 dollars an hour.

If you need 16€ per hour to survive and have a reasonable standard of living, then that's your hourly rate. Whichever method you use for charging, the amount you receive must more-or-less give you 16€ per hour. Nothing else makes sense, really.

I have often read here that book work is poorly paid, so you may have to accept less than you would with other documents. It's normally a big project and that can be comforting, but only if you receive some payment in advance. It can also be interesting work - that may be worth a rate reduction to you. Then there's the possibility of royalties bringing in additional income in the years to come and finally, there's the prestige of having your name in the book, though I'm not sure the proofreader gets either of these last two advantages.


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Cendrine Marrouat
Canada
Local time: 11:52
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! May 31, 2010

Thank you both for your responses.
I know my rates when it comes to translation. But proofreading is quite another matter. I usually charge 50% of my translation rates. My reason for asking is because of the big amount of words and it is literary work. I know literature pays less. It is not as technical as another document would be. As a writer, I know that it is much easier to proofread a novel than it is to work on a legal document, for example.


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:52
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I am wondering... Jun 2, 2010

Cendrine Marrouat wrote:
I was thinking along the line of 16 dollars an hour. ...

I know literature pays less.
It is not as technical as another document would be. As a writer, I know that it is much easier to proofread a novel than it is to work on a legal document, for example.


Are you trying to shoot yourself in both feet?

You reduce your hourly rate, because literature pays less.

Then you argue that it is much easier to proofread a novel. That is true, therefore it should take you considerably less time to do it than some legal or technical document, so by nature, it pays less.
In other words, it may take you half the time than it would take to proofread some other document, and that's fine; but because of the reduced time spent on it, the actual sum to be invoiced would be half of what you would receive for a legal document of equivalent size - providing you charge the same amount per hour.
Much less, of course, if you reduce your rate as well!

The other thing I was wondering about: 200 pages seem to be an awful lot for 31,000 words, unless the manuscript uses very large letters, or smaller than the usual A4 format. (I hope it is not hand-written, because that is a whole different ballgame, and in that case the first thing the author should do is to have it typed.)
I would double check the word count to be sure it is not way out!


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