How to charge for editing a magazine?
August 24, 2008 6:23 PM   Subscribe

How much should you charge for proofreading and editing?

I work about 10 hours a month proofreading and editing a trade magazine. The authors are writing in English, but are not native English speakers, and occasionally I have to completely rewrite articles, and even request that they rewrite them because I can't understand what they are trying to say at all. This is a global publication, but with a circulation of about 10,000 issues, it's not exactly the next Economist.

What is a good hourly fee to charge for this?

Since I'm an American in Japan, I'd prefer to know US-based or, even better, Japanese rates. If possible, factor in the fact that, while I believe I'm a good writer, and I know grammar backwards and forwards, I have no formal qualification in this area.

(now I'm waiting anxiously for someone to point out my grammatical errors in this post, haha)
posted by phaedrus441 to Work & Money (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, I think you mean how much should "one" charge for proofreading and editing. What I would charge is another thing entirely. There should probably be a semicolon instead of a comma before the clause "it's not exactly the next Economist."

Of course, I'm just teasing!

The main piece of information that's missing from your post is what you're already being paid. Proofreaders can (and do) charge an hourly rate within a pretty large spectrum. Your post almost reads as if you haven't submitted an invoice yet. How did you get the job?

Without that information, it's hard to say. But knowing only this much, I'd go for $25 an hour.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 6:35 PM on August 24, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice! I'm currently earning about $20 an hour, but have been doing this part time for over a year, so I thought it might be time to ask for a bit more.
posted by phaedrus441 at 6:40 PM on August 24, 2008

The rate page at the Editorial Freelancers Association says $25-50 per hour.
posted by notyou at 6:49 PM on August 24, 2008

Standard rate is usually 2-3 times what you make per hour in a salaried job or a salary divided by 1000. See my profile for a more detailed article on calculating your rate (self link). However, depending on your market and your experience, I'd suggest $35-$50 per hour. It also depends on whether you're doing light copy editing, substantive editing or what-have-you. I charge a lot more than that, but I've been around for a while and I have built up a niche. YMMV.
posted by acoutu at 7:52 PM on August 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Being familiar with editing in Japan, I would charge 4000 yen an hour - an ESL teacher typically charges 4000 yen an hour for private lessons, and what you're doing is a lot more complicated than teaching eikaiwa. At the same time, you can't just double your rates, but, holy cow, 2000 yen an hour is practically *volunteering* your time. So perhaps you aim for 3000 yen an hour.

You may wish to document the actual time you spend on providing editing services. It's more than likely that you are spending more than ten hours a month as an editor for this journal. If you can show your clients that you tend to spend more than ten hours a month cleaning up their copy, but, in exchange for a rate hike will continue to charge them as a base ten hours a month, with any services over that provided as a "service" (to use the Japlish parlance) and free of charge, they may agree to your rate hike.

But doubling it may force them to find someone else.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:37 PM on August 24, 2008

In Japan, I'd also say 3000-4000 yen, but I disagree strongly with the semicolon. :)
posted by rokusan at 10:21 PM on August 24, 2008

Another American in Japan, I do this off-and-on at around 2000 yen/page (which is a lot less than an hour). I could certainly charge more (most of the papers are technical, I'm technical; we're kind of in the countryside), but I'm doing this for the heck of it, not as a full-time job, and for individuals, not publications.
posted by whatzit at 3:20 AM on August 25, 2008

mr. nax also charges per page rather than hourly. Rates comparable to those noted above.
posted by nax at 4:19 AM on August 25, 2008

I assume y'all above are charging per MS page, not per magazine page?
posted by rikschell at 5:45 AM on August 25, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everybody. I am going to ask for a raise tomorrow and I'll tell you how it goes...
posted by phaedrus441 at 5:51 AM on August 25, 2008

by MS page, yes. I probably should be fussier about the layout of that page, but I'm not. As I said above, this is a leisure activity for me, not an occupation. FWIW, when I translate stuff, that's based on a 250-ish word "page."
posted by whatzit at 6:11 AM on August 25, 2008

If you're having to completely rewrite, $20 is definitely too little. Let us know how it goes!
posted by languagehat at 7:29 AM on August 25, 2008

I was a technical editor for awhile and it was $2 USD/page. I could do a 200-page book in about 4-6 hours.
posted by jkaczor at 8:59 AM on August 25, 2008

Oh - but not in Japan, and this was 10 years ago before the "technical/computer" publishing sector all but imploded.
posted by jkaczor at 9:00 AM on August 25, 2008

I charged $2 per page for *typing* circa 1992.
posted by acoutu at 3:17 PM on August 25, 2008

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