As the latest edition of OffPress (from Queensland Society of Editors) says: “The work of a good editor is often invisible.” That is, without it, you would surely notice topic jumps, inconsistencies or a change in point of view, but with it, you are drawn into the story or work.
I go on to explain why Brisbane editors are on par with the best.
What do Editors Do?
In our editor bag of tricks are these tools:
- removing redundant words (called tautology)
- checking for consistency — in people’s names, acronyms, and verbs in bulleted lists.
- reviewing tone and clarity of language — at development stage
- ensuring the grammar and spelling is in the correct style for the author’s or publisher’s needs
- advising to ensure that the book takes the reader on a logical, progressive route (substantive editing).
At copy editing stage, we also check for accurate external references and internal references. We check the front matter has copyright, publisher info, and library cataloguing data. We make a check of captions, footnotes, consistent referencing, and that tables show all text and are uniform. In the end matter, we might check the glossary, whereas in development stage we suggest that a glossary is needed.
I belong to the national body, IPEd (The Institute of Professional Editors), to help me keep pace with the profession of editing. Two of my esteemed Brisbane editor peers are also members, as is my business coach, Dr John Cokley (PhD, MBA).
Brisbane editors are not inferior to Sydney editors, far from it, however, more of us have affordable homes! Both copywriting and editing rates might be a little cheaper in Brisbane or greater Queensland than in Sydney, NSW.
Average Hourly Editing Rates
The average hourly editing rate in Queensland Society of Editors is (2016): $63 an hour
The average hourly editing rate in NSW Society of Editors is (2016): $67 an hour.
Yes, rates vary according to the task. The mean for proofreading was $55 per hour, for copyediting $65 per hour and for substantive or structural editing $74 per hour (2016, IPed Survey of Editors). Most respondents used these rates as a basis for project quotes.
If you go back in time, average national hourly rates for editing have not changed much in the past eight years. (It was reported as $66 an hour in 2009).
Many authors question the total price of Australian book editing; we understand that it seems a lot when compared to Indian, American, or other ‘editors’. The effort put into editing and working with clients never drops off as the years pass… in fact, the rate of change has accelerated. Now, most editors need to pay for word processing and desktop publishing software, invoicing program, Acrobat Pro, website hosting, domains, securing our website, as well as professional memberships and extended training.
Brisbane book editors should really be charging well over $100 an hour, considering all the years of experience leading to being adept at editing. For example, in the ’90s, while some were still rockin’ to nursery rhymes, I was sub-editing an investing newsletter and learning proofreaders’ marks as I laid out Successful Personal Investing (a 21-part program).
But most editors don’t charge that much, perhaps because we enjoy the task and want to keep book editing affordable for serious authors. And that’s something worth celebrating.