Fantasy Book Editors, Copyeditors and Developmental Editors

There are different kinds of editors out there and depending upon what a writer needs they really should be looking for a specific type of editor to fulfill those needs.

Likewise these different types of editors also frequently charge different rates for their services so it is important that you are only paying for the services you need and aren't wasting your time with an editor who wants to do developmental editing, when in reality all you need is a copy editor and a proofreader.

So what are the differences?

The Copy Editor checks the text for:

  • Correct spelling
  • Correct grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Story consistency
  • Redundant text
  • Proper past tense or present tense
  • Tone
  • Flow
  • Scene transitions
  • Correct use of words. Eg. Using a word that actually means something else. I noticed this recently when reading one of the books from the Witcher series, and I suspect it was the result of a bad translation.

A copy editor is also expected to provide suggestions or copywrite parts of the text to improve flow or fix problems with the text. Their goal is get rid of confusing parts of the text so the reader has more clarity on what the author meant to say, while still maintaining the author's style and tone.

Copy editors usually only see the book after the second draft has already been self-edited by the author.

The Developmental Editor provides a very different function. They are involved during the actual writing process, often from the beginning to the end. They are there to:

  • Help organize the book chapters
  • Help develop the plot and characters
  • Identify problems with the plot and provide solutions
  • Try to fix issues surrounding the pacing of the plot
  • To reject unnecessary content and push for content that fills in plot holes
  • Correct issues regarding flow and tone.
Developmental editors do not check things like spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. That is the copy editor's job.
When the book is done then the developmental editor's job is complete. The book is then ready to be sent to the copy editor.
Do all authors use a developmental editor? No, they don't. For the vast majority of writers having a developmental editor is completely unnecessary (and even considered to be a nuisance to some writers because the editor will be second guessing every decision the author makes).
How much do editors charge for their services? 

It varies on the person. The following was the editor rates that was suggested back in 2008 by the Editorial Freelancers Association at the time. It is safe to say that the rates have gone up since then during the last 13 years.

Basic copy editing: $25 to $40 per hour Pace: 5 to 10 pages an hour
Heavy copy editing: $35 to $50 per hour Pace: 2 to 5 pages an hour
Substantive or Line editing: $40 to $65 per hour Pace: 1 to 6 pages per hour
Developmental editing: $50 to $80 per hour Pace: 2 to 5 pages per hour

Note -  I have not found any references to what the Editorial Freelancers Association considers to be 1 page of text. How many words do they consider to be 1 page? Unknown.

How much do I charge?

I am writing about this whole issue of the differences and pay rates because I edit fantasy books, short stories and novellas, but I quietly advertise this service. I only do copy editing. I have zero interest in helping someone who is in the developmental stage of their writing.

I charge $35 USD per hour.

I can do either basic copy editing or heavy copy editing. It doesn't matter which I am doing, it is still $35 per hour.

I accept payments via either PayPal or Interac Email Transfer.

How many words can I edit per hour? Depends on how much is needed. It varies on the author. I can tell you that I normally write 1000 to 1300 words per hour when working on my own writing, and I can edit at a much faster rate depending upon how mistakes I need to fix. The less mistakes that need fixing the faster I can edit. It all depends.

Some authors prefer to pay for a single batch of 5000 words or 1 chapter first to determine the cost vs benefits of hiring me to do more editing. This is totally acceptable and I understand why writers do this because they want to maximize their Return On Investment (ROI). I would do the same thing when hiring an editor.

I prefer to edit things in smaller batches of 5,000 to 20,000 words at a time, with separate payments for each batch. So if you wrote a 100,000 word novel it might take 5 batches for me to edit the whole thing, but this works well for me and my schedule. While it is possible for me to edit whole novels and for writers to pay for the whole thing all at once, my preference is to work in smaller batches of chapters so that I can guarantee faster delivery times of the edited work.

The big thing for me is that I am only interested in editing fantasy books, and I have a preference towards short stories, novelettes and novellas. Children's Books and YA are also okay, so long as they're fantasy books.

If you want to contact me regarding editing your fantasy writing you can contact me via or by emailing me.

I cannot guarantee availability. Sometimes I am busy working on my own writing or other projects. This is one of the reasons why I prefer smaller batches and editing short stories/etc. With the smaller projects I can more easily find the time to do the work and make good on my promise of a faster delivery time.

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