Editors often find themselves left out in the cold once a book goes to market. This often turns into a love/hate relationship. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard: “Who changed my words. Those aren’t my words!” Stephen King edits his own material, but we’re not all Stephen King. First-time writers often need a lot of help. They operate without outlines so there are plot holes, and often their grammar skills are not up to speed.
Editing is an intensive job, especially for small indie presses. Large presses usually have an assortment of editors: Acquisition Editor, Developmental Edit, Content Editor, Copy Editor, Line Editor, Proofreader, Critique Partner, and Beta Reader.
TJ Lovelace does an excellent job of clearing the confusion: see http://thehelpfulwriter.com/kinds-of-editors-what-editors-do/ available at JeanOram.com.
So how much does all this cost? According to The Writer’s Market, the average for proofreading is $3 per page, for copy editing $4 per page, and for content editing you can expect to charge around $7.50 per page. That’s $14.50 a page for just the basic services. Another way to look at is simply $60/hour.
If your publisher offers these services for FREE, get down on your hand and knees and thank that person(s).
Would Hemingway have won a Pulitzer and a Nobel for Literature if it hadn’t been for Maxwell Perkins? F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe also used Perkins, but how many people know that?
Even JK Rowling had editors: Arthur Levine in the US and Emma Mathewson in the UK.
So if you don’t appreciate your editor, your book may die on the vine.