While my going rate for a full developmental edit is $50 an hour due to my own needs to pay the bills (based on the market rate for developmental editing ($50 is actually at the low end), what I made as an in-house editor, my years of experience, my master’s degree, and my going rate on other editorial services), I realize that most authors are in the same position I am, strapped tight for cash. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I’m going to go ahead and reduce my hourly rate on full developmental edits permanently until I no longer do critiques.
What’s that, you ask? I might be ending my critique service? Yes, but not right away. It’s definitely helping me to pay the bills (and I hope helping the authors I’m critiquing!) while I work on the number of other things I’m working on, but once I either get an in-house position or officially start looking for submissions for my small press (which won’t be agented-only submissions), I will of course be discontinuing the paid critique service for ethical reasons. Right now, I keep the critiques and the submissions for Tor separate by requiring agented-only submissions for Tor.
But until the time comes for that — which I don’t have a timeline on; I’ll definitely announce it when the time comes — I will continue to do full-manuscript developmental editing for authors at $30 an hour. The submission packet will still be a flat $50 fee because it often takes me much more than an hour to critique them.
For those who attend my seminars, I offer a discount on my critique services on full manuscripts, as well. When the going rate was $50 an hour, I was charging only $30 an hour for seminar attendees. Now that I’ve decided to lower the rate, the discount for seminar attendees will drop to $25 an hour (sorry, I can’t afford to discount it more; when you’re self-employed you can pretty much count on half of that money going to taxes, so my take-home rate is actually much, much lower than that).
So, if you decide that you need the services of a freelance editor (and that’s very much a personal decision), hopefully that will help you to better afford my services.