When communicating with potential clients, a few have made remarks to the effect of, “I can’t afford too much,” or “I am on a strict budget.” Here are a few points to consider with regard to the cost of academic manuscript editing:
1. Is it worth skimping on costs at the final stage of your project?
For longer manuscripts (e.g. a thesis), you will have already invested time and often considerable funds (e.g. course fees) on a project. It doesn’t really make much sense to “go cheap” at this point; it’s a bit like buying an expensive car, and then skimping on the tires!
2. Are you being realistic about the scope of the editing project?
Ultimately, the cost of editing your work is determined by a) the length of your manuscript (e.g. number of words) and b) the level of editing required (e.g. heavy editing vs. light editing). Consider that a quality editing job requires time, effort, attention to detail, and ideally, academic expertise. As such, it’s a good idea to be open-minded about prices.
3. Are you being realistic about the actual value of services?
There are dozens of editing companies out there who appear to be charging very low rates for editing. However, I would tread carefully before paying for such services. For example, many companies are able to offer cheap services because they subcontract their academic manuscript editing projects to third parties, who are willing to work for low wages. In such a situation, you may have no idea who is editing your manuscript. Like most things in life, you do tend to get what you pay for; if something is suspiciously low-priced, the chances are that the quality may be poor.
Bottom line: In shopping for an academic editor, don’t just look for the cheapest quote; instead, view the process as an investment in your scholarly career.