copyeditors: how many hours?
February 21, 2008 1:25 PM   Subscribe

hey copywriters/editors: about how long might it take you to edit a 20-page product brochure averaging 10 items/page? thanks!
posted by oigocosas to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Editing such a document would take an experienced editor about two to three hours, depending on how much text was present. The process would take longer if the editor needed to change the document in a layout program like Adobe InDesign.
posted by tnoetz01 at 1:29 PM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Depends. How much text? Is it technical, or more sales-y? Is there a style sheet, or do I make style calls myself (in consultation with you, or whoever the client is). And is this a copyedit for grammar and consistency only, or are you also looking for rewrites of unpretty language?

I can generally knock out ~10-20 pages/hr (based on a standard page of full text) for a light copyedit. Really depends on the text, though. I always ask to see it before I give an estimate that's not so hand-wavey.

on preview: if I'm both copyediting and inputting the changes - whether in Word or something like InDesign, I charge more.
posted by rtha at 1:35 PM on February 21, 2008

sales-y, about 40 lines of text/page, grammar, consistency, style and rewrites.

thanks for your best estimates, yall.
posted by oigocosas at 1:44 PM on February 21, 2008

The word count is really a better measurement of size of text, more so than pages or lines. I generally estimate roughly 250 words per page of text, based on page specs of double-spaced, 12-pt., Times New Roman font (which works out to approx. 23 lines per page, based on margins). So by that estimate, 20 pages = about 5000 words. But since you say you've got about 40 lines per page, your specs are different from mine, so your total word count will be different.

In any case, assuming you did have 5000 words of text and depending on how well it's written (i.e., how much correcting and rewriting you actually have to do), in my experience this sort of job could take anywhere from 3 to 10 hours. The better way to get a more accurate sense of the how long it will take would be to edit a short sample (say, 2 pages) and time yourself.
posted by scody at 2:26 PM on February 21, 2008

I've done this kind of work for a dozen years, and I would never give an estimate without seeing the quality of the writing, knowing what backup (to support the content) was available, and knowing what "edit" means to the client (eg, grammar/spelling, continuity/structure, fact-checking, technical editing).
posted by caitlinb at 3:23 PM on February 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

A day, with the caveat that if the writing is terrible (i.e., LOTS of rewrites) it could take longer.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 3:35 AM on February 22, 2008

It varies wildly depending on the particulars of the project and the people putting it together. Also, authors/compilers tend to underestimate the amount of clean-up required.

If I had a dollar for every page I've received which was supposedly "finished" and well-proofed, but instead contained major errors, style consistency problems, and basic structural flaws, I'd have a big laundry sack full of dollars.
posted by D.C. at 5:53 AM on February 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Agree with the rest of the copywriters and editors. It all depends on the copy. I couldn't give a realistic estimate without seeing the materials, but I'd venture a guess at between 3 and 10 hours.
posted by dejah420 at 9:35 AM on February 22, 2008

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