What are the different types of editorial services?

Different types of editorial services encompass distinct functions crucial for refining your manuscript. They include:

Ghostwriting entails creating or enhancing the narrative, capturing the author’s voice and vision. Developmental editing involves shaping and structuring the core elements of a manuscript, such as plot and character development. Line editing refines the language and style of the text, enhancing its readability and coherence. Copyediting focuses on grammar, spelling and consistency to ensure precision and clarity. Proofreading provides a final review to catch any remaining errors before publication. Fact-checking ensures the accuracy and reliability of information presented in the work. Indexing helps organise and navigate the content effectively, making it user-friendly. In this article, we will discuss these types of editorial services in detail, highlighting their purpose and pricing according to the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) guidelines.


Ghostwriting is a collaborative process wherein a professional writer crafts or enhances a manuscript on your behalf. Ghostwriters capture your voice and vision, translating ideas into polished prose. This partnership enables you to bring your ideas to life, even if you lack the time or writing expertise. This process is about authenticity, effectively conveying your essence while refining the storytelling. Here are the EFA recommended rates for this service.

 Rate per wordRate per hourPace of work per hour
Fiction9.0¢–11.5¢ $55.00–$110.00 3.0–5.5 
Non-fiction20.0¢–27.0¢ $75.00–$110.00 1.5–4.0 
Business27.5¢–$1.00 $75.00–$100.00 1.0–3.0 
Legal25.0¢–$1.00 $55.00–$85.00 n/a
Medicaln/a$82.50–$110.00 1.0–3.0 
Scientific24.0¢–24.0¢ $80.00–$100.00 1.0–3.5 
Technical20.0¢–26.5¢ $77.50–$100.00 1.0–3.5 
Other17.0¢–58.5¢ $85.00–$105.00 3.0–4.0 

Developmental editing

Developmental editing shapes core elements like plot and characters, laying the foundation for a compelling narrative. This editorial service assesses structure, pacing and audience engagement, thus transforming initial drafts into polished manuscripts. Its insights guide writers in refining their stories, ensuring coherence and reader appeal. Developmental. Below are the industry rates for developmental editing genres as recommended by the EFA.

 Rate per wordRate per hourPace of work per hour

Line editing

Line editing emphasises writing style, sentence structure and language usage. It enables the author’s voice to resonate through the text, making it engaging and clear to readers. This process eliminates unnecessary clutter, streamlining the narrative flow. It is also a critical stage that elevates the manuscript’s quality, making it informative to the target audience. The EFA suggests the following rates for this process, and here are line editing rates recommended by other professional organisations for editors.

 Rate per wordRate per hourPace of work per hour
Fiction2.5¢–4.0¢ $45.00–$60.00 5.0–8.0 
Non-fiction3.5¢–5.0¢ $50.00–$65.00 4.0–7.0 
Academic4.0¢–6.0¢ $45.00–$65.00 4.0–8.0 
Business4.0¢–6.0¢ $50.00–$70.00 5.0–8.0 
Legal5.0¢–15.5¢ $60.00–$75.00 5.0–8.5 
Medical4.0¢–6.0¢ $50.00–$65.00 3.0–6.0 
Technical4.0¢–6.0¢ $50.00–$65.00 4.0–7.0 
Other4.0¢–6.3¢ $50.00–$70.00 4.0–6.0 


Copyediting focuses on grammar, spelling, punctuation and consistency. The process improves your manuscript, ensuring precision and clarity in the text. This step aligns the content with publishing standards, eliminating errors that may distract or confuse readers. The EFA recommends the following rates for this service.

 Rate per wordRate per hourPace of work per hour
Fiction2.0¢–3.0¢$40.00–$50.00 5.0–10.0 
Non-fiction3.0¢–4.0¢$45.00–$60.00 5.0–8.0 
Academic3.0¢–6.0¢$40.00–$60.00 4.0–8.0 
Business3.0¢–5.0¢$50.00–$60.00 5.0–10.0 
Legal4.0¢–14.8¢$50.00–$65.00 5.0–7.0 
Medical4.9¢–5.0¢$50.00–$65.00 3.0–6.0 
Technical4.0¢–6.0¢$50.00–$60.00 4.0–7.8 
Other4.0¢–6.0¢$50.00–$62.50 5.0–7.0 


Proofreading is the final check before publication. It involves scrutinising and rectifying errors, including typos, spelling mistakes and formatting inconsistencies. This review ensures a polished manuscript, upholding professionalism and readability. Proofreading safeguards your work against those minor yet glaring errors that could undermine its credibility. As a conclusive step in the types of editorial services, proofreading guarantees that the manuscript is prepared for its intended audience. Here is what the EFA recommends as the industry rates:

 Rate per wordRate per hourPace of work per hour
Fiction1.2¢–2.0¢ $35.00–$45.00 8.0–14.0 
Non-fiction2.0¢–3.0¢ $40.00–$50.00 7.0–11.0 
Academic2.0¢–5.0¢ $40.00–$55.00 7.0–10.0 
Business2.0¢–4.0¢ $45.00–$57.50 7.0–10.0 
Legal2.0¢–3.8¢ $40.00–$51.00 6.0–10.0 
Medical5.0¢–5.0¢ $45.00–$60.00 6.0–10.0 
Technical2.5¢–4.0¢ $45.00–$57.00 6.0–10.0 
Other2.0¢–3.3¢ $36.00–$51.00 6.5–10.0 


Also called the research process, fact-checking is a vital step among the types of editorial. This service verifies information against credible sources. It also upholds the credibility of your work, providing readers with trustworthy information. Inaccuracies or misrepresentations are also identified and rectified during this phase. Here are the recommended fact-checking rates according to the EFA:

Rate per hourPace of work per hour
Fact-checking $55.00–$72.50  2.0–4.0 


Indexing organises keywords and topics to create a navigational tool within the text. It transforms the manuscript into a user-friendly reference. By systematically cataloguing content, indexing ensures that readers can access relevant sections quickly, making the content more accessible and valuable. In sum, indexing optimises the reader’s experience, enhancing the usability and readability of the manuscript. Here is what EFA suggests on indexing rates:

 Rate per wordRate per hourPace of work per hour
Indexing 2.0¢–3.0¢  $50.00–$60.00  5.0–10.0 

Final thoughts

Different types of editorial services play pivotal roles in shaping a manuscript. From developmental editing that lays the foundation for compelling narratives to fact-checking that upholds accuracy, each service contributes to a refined final product. These processes enhance credibility, readability and overall quality. Considering professional editorial services is a prudent step toward presenting your work at its best. Let these types of editorial services be the key to unlocking the true potential of your manuscript. Contact me for a free sample edit if you want to prepare your manuscript for publishing (and remember to use my early bird discount). If you want to hear more from me, including self-editing and writing tips, follow me on Mastodon, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn or join my newsletter.

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I am an editor, indexer and a lifelong lover of literature with a PhD in literary history. I am an Intermediate Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading, a student member of the Society of Indexers and a vetted partner of the Alliance of Independent Authors.