Richard Adin’s article hits the nail on the head with why editors are underpaid.
Pay special attention to points 2, 3, and 4 of the original post (click link below), with 2 and 3 being the crux of the problem. Even if editors know their required effective hourly rate, they simply may not get it because the editing “profession has failed to convince clients of editing’s value,” and “the market views us as low-level professionals who provide an unnecessary service.”
Professional editing is the one thing you can’t automate or streamline. This is because every piece of writing, and therefore every author-editor relationship, is unique. The time spent editing is not to be confused with time spent reading. Editing is much, much slower, and requires experience that often takes years to accumulate through extensive studies and practice, like any other profession.
You may also be interested in these articles
- What is Editing Worth? “[Editing] is not like reading for pleasure. It takes time. For a book-length work, it takes a lot of time.”
- Why is Editing So Expensive? “Editing is more than just reading. It can take several years to gain the knowledge and experience needed to be a good editor.”
- Why is Professional Editing So Damn Expensive? “A good edit is the equivalent of a personal MFA class (and costs about the same). What can you do to prepare, and how can you bring down the price?”
The Business of Editing: 8 Reasons Why Editors Are Underpaid I
A recent discussion on another forum lamented over how underpaid (undervalued) editing is, pointing out that neither authors nor publishers appreciate and are willing to pay for the expertise editors bring to a project. Of course, this is not a new lament; it was the same 32 years ago, when I began my editing career, and it has been a constant since that day.
In the discussion I just mentioned, the lament was tied to the client command (or observation) that the manuscript requires only a “light” edit. Let’s set aside the initial problem — what a “light” edit is (for my perspective, see The Business of Editing: Light, Medium, or Heavy?) — and instead focus on some — not all — of the reasons the value of editing is viewed so poorly as to act as justification for low rates of compensation from our clients.
Part I of…
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