Pricing Guidelines

Book projects typically fall within the rates below. We recommend you use this only as a guide and note that rates vary depending on the nature of the work. Also note that the industry standard for a manuscript is 250 words per page.


Type of Work Estimated Pace Range of Fees
Editing, basic copyediting 5–10 ms pgs/hr $30–40/hr
Editing, heavy copyediting 2-5 ms pgs/hr $40-50/hr
Editing, website copyediting $40-50/hr
Editing, developmental 1-5 pgs/hr $45-80/hr
Editing, substantive or line 5-10 ms pgs/hr $30-80/hr
INDEXING 8-20 pr pg/hr $30-40/hr
Layout, books 6-10 pgs/hr $45-85/hr
Layout, newsletters 1-4 pgs/hr $40-100/hr
PROJECT MANAGEMENT $9-30/pr pg $40-90/hr
PROOFREADING 9-13 ms pgs/hr $30-35/hr
TRANSCRIBING variable $3-5/pg
TRANSLATION 300-500 wds/hr $40-50/hr
WEB DESIGN $50-75/hrr
WRITING $9-30/pr pg $40-90/hr
Writing, fiction $40-50/hr 20¢-25¢/wd
Writing, ghostwriting $50-60/hr 26¢-50¢/wd
Writing, grants/proposals/sales/PR $50-60/hr 30¢-95¢/wd
Writing, journalism $40-50/hr 20¢-50¢/wd
Writing, medical $60-70/hr 80¢-95¢/wd
Writing, nonspecified $40-100/hr 20¢-$2/wd
Writing, technical/trade $50-60/hr 45¢-55¢/wd

Book Cover Design

Book cover design varies. For covers that look like Penguin, Harper Collins, Random House, and Pearson quality, you should expect to pay $500 to $1200. For something more affordable you can pay anywhere from $100-400.


These vary based on original art vs. using stock images. But you can expect to pay an illustrator anywhere from $150-$500 per illustration.


Cost for simple conversion ranges from anywhere from $199 (text) – $1000 (illustrated).


If you want someone to distribute your book to the various retailers, that will cost you around $79 to have someone distribute to Amazon, Kindle, BN, Kobo, Smashwords.


Looking for a translator for your book? Prices vary, but expect your work to fall in the range of $.08 to $.50 a word or $20-$50/hr.

How to price an indie book

A lot of people ask us what the right pricing is for an indie book. We urge you to experiment with this and not price too low. According to a study done by Smashwords, an online indie retailer, $2.99 to $5.99 yields the most profits for self-published titles. For illustrated books you might want to price higher.

Total spend

Creating a professional book that looks like it’s from a publishing house is hard. But it can be done. According to David Carnoy of CNET, you should be prepared to invest at least a few thousand dollars in your book.


ind = indexable page, ms = manuscript, pr = printed, pg = page, hr = hour, wd = word


Editorial Freelancers Association, CNET, Writers and Editors.