My Manuscript Formatting Prices

Manuscript formatting is a technical, template-based process. Anything less will be inconsistent and not worth doing. My process, in simplified form, is as follows:

  1. Discuss your requirements.
  2. Format your manuscript based on the ‘standard’ guidelines, including your requirements, and return it to you as a .pdf (for paperbacks) and .epub/.mobi (for e-books) so you can see it.
  3. Work with you to refine it until you’re happy with the result.

This type of process doesn’t gel well with a fixed price, as neither of us will know up-front how long the process will take.

 My price $15 US per hour

A general, fiction novel should take a couple of hours for the first pass. If you’re happy with that, we’re done 🙂

As an example, my first novel, Equivocal Destines, took me about 3 hours to format and upload to KDP. It’s about 110k-words long.

My Proofreading Prices

In Poland, my cost of living is much lower than many other places, and I’ve chosen to pass this saving on to you. The recommended costs are about £20/hour or $1.75/page. There’s a lot of numbers being thrown around by different people.

Let’s keep it simple, so here’s my costs, and associated details:

 My price $1 US per page A nice, round number. I can save money on my living expenses, and, frankly, I think most indie authors deserve a break.
 My price (translated manuscripts) $2 per page I often proofread manuscripts that were written in another language and translated into Polish. Sometimes this is done well, and sometimes it can be very challenging. I may charge more per page under these circumstances, but I’ll always let you know
 Payment method PayPal I accept payment via PayPal, because it’s the simplest method for everyone involved. It handles any currency exchanges, regional problems, etc. You’re welcome to use an International money transfer, but that’s a pain in the ass.
 A discount? 10% off for first-time authors and students This is all about fostering growth and lowering barriers to entry for the newbies. And, really, about being fair.
 The format Standard Manuscript format There’s an industry standard format for manuscripts when submitting them to a publisher. I use this format as it resolves any issues regarding costs. See below for details.
 What you get Full proofreading & basic editing I provide a proofreading service, but will also endeavour to highlight any plot inconsistencies I find. See below for details.
 The contract no – too much paperwork There are unscrupulous people out there who would try to use this service and get away without paying for it. I therefore would like to use contracts and an escrow service, but that’s too much hassle. See below for more details.

Standard Manuscript format

For a full description of the Standard Manuscript format, see here: Not all of this formatting is necessary when submitting a manuscript for proofreading, and 1 part in particular isn’t actually fair, so here’s my list (cribbed directly from WikiPedia):

  • A4 paper size – Sorry people in the USA, most of the world uses A4, not letter, and since this is what my printer prints, it’s what I use. In reality, it makes little to no difference. It’s just a setting in MS Word.
  • Courier or a similar mono-spaced serif font – This is important as it highlights punctuation errors and disambiguates similar-looking letters. For example: 1/l/I (the numeral one, the lowercase letter “L”, the uppercase letter “i”)
  • 12-point (10 pitch) or 10-point (12 pitch) font size – Whatever – Select everything and set the font size to 12.
  • Double-spaced lines of text – This is to allow for inline markups (see below).
    24 or 25 lines of text.
  • 1 inch margins – The standard lists 3 margin sizes. If you pay by the page, I think it’s fair to use the narrowest option.
  • Paragraph indentation of 0.5 inches
  • Left alignment of all text. This keeps all text in neat columns, which makes it easier to spot errors.
  • For non-fiction books, I recommend re-applying heading formatting to all headings. Sometimes the headings can be long and difficult to disambiguate, and their grammar rules are different.

What all of this achieves, if a very readable text which highlights the punctuation and removes any ambiguity regarding the per-page cost.

Payment Details

As I mentioned above, some people try to use services such as these and not pay for them. I know proofreaders who have been victims of this. I don’t like formal contracts and escrow services as they’re just barriers to getting the job done. Instead, I will complete the task, send you the first 10% of the manuscript, completed with corrections and wait for full payment before sending the remainder of the manuscript.

This is one of those horrible things that we’re all forced to worry about, but I hope we all never actually need to be concerned with.

What You Get

I offer a proofreading service. This is a character/line/paragraph level analysis of a manuscript, looking for grammar, word, punctuation , word-order and similar problems. It is not a full editing service, which takes a much deeper look at the story, and is therefore much more expensive.

That said, I will highlight any plot inconsistencies that I find, both big and small, so do provide a rudimentary level of manuscript editing. If you feel your manuscript needs a full edit, please see a professional editor. If you think your story is pretty much good to go and you need to make sure the text is perfect, contact me 🙂

Proofreading Styles

You’re the author, and if you’re an indie like me, you’ll probably be the publisher too. That means you’re in charge and should get what you want. There are many methods available to markup a manuscript when proofreading. Here’s what I prefer, in my order of preference:

  1. Tracking Changes markups in MS Word (I use Kingsoft Office, which is free and does the same job). This will involve coloured highlighting and comments.
  2. Red pen markups on actual paper, which I’ll then scan and email you. That’s a lot of scans, but some people really like the feel of it (sans scanning) and the flexibility of the style.

I do not provide proofreading with standard proofreading symbology. I find it kludgy and confusing for the authors, so slow and ineffective. See here for details anyway:

A Note on Translations

As a very informal rule of thumb, I typically find a few mistakes on each page of a good quality manuscript. As ruthlessly pedantic as I am, I regularly find up to 50 mistakes (including spelling, punctuation, word-order problems, and others) on translated manuscripts. This process obviously takes significantly more time to proofread, so I will charge more. I won’t undertake the work before discussing it with my client, of course. Sometimes I may be able to recommend a better different translator.


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