What should I get paid as an editor for an ebook company?
April 18, 2011 3:18 PM   Subscribe

What should I get paid as a senior editor of a new ebook company?

In addition to my current duties as a content editor, I would be reviewing the work of other editors on a freelance basis to make sure that they're doing their job correctly.

We're talking about a raise on the content editing I do and a payment per word for the books I senior edit.

What's customary in this field?

Thanks for your input.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (3 answers total)
I personally have no idea, however - try contacting a fellow named Jeff Duntemann (you can find his contact info from his root website).
posted by jkaczor at 7:20 PM on April 18, 2011

In my experience, the standard thing is for a senior editor to be a salaried employee. Salary varies depending on if the position is remote or on site, the location of the company's headquarters, and how well-established the company is.

If it's been established that this is to be a freelance position, I'm going to say that about 1.5-2x your usual per-word rate is appropriate for reviewing the work of others, depending on the extent to which you're expected to work with that person. (If you're literally just going over their work and not coaching them, I'd think that about .5x your usual rate would be adequate.) Without knowing what your current rates are, I can't really give an opinion on what the raise in price for content editing should be.

All that said, I'd point out that ebook publishing (from a press that's primarily ebooks as opposed to an established print press that happens to be producing ebooks) is still a field in which there's a lot of variation. Off the top of my head, I can think of half a dozen companies with half a dozen different methods of payment--just in copies, as .x cents per word, a flat rate of $x per book, as a percentage of sales, and as an hourly rate. (Okay, that's five methods, but close enough. It took me about three minutes to come up with those.)

Many epubs are still largely labors of love that barely break even--if they break even at all. Sometimes the founders work for free and max out their credit cards to pay the editors, other times the editors work for (nearly) free and the founders make enough to live off of, but not much more. At some companies, you can earn a living editing; at others, you're going to earn enough for your weekly Starbucks run and not a lot else. There's really no standard or number that can be pointed at as customary, at least not yet.
posted by MeghanC at 9:46 PM on April 18, 2011

Also, I realize that I said "the standard thing is..." and then ended by saying that there's not a standard. In the first paragraph, I was referring specifically to senior editors--I'm not personally aware of any pubs that don't have their senior editor (or equivalent--at many places, this person is also the publisher/owner) on salary. The last paragraph was a reference to freelance editors in general, which in this instance also encompasses freelance senior editors, however uncommon they may be.

Just wanted to clarify.
posted by MeghanC at 9:51 PM on April 18, 2011

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