4 Affordable Editing Options

Whether you’ve finished your first novel or you are an experienced publisher, editing isn’t always a service you can afford. There are options when it comes to more affordable editing and we’ll go through a couple of them. When I first published in 2012, I found an editor on Kijiji. She said she worked in publishing, showed me some samples of her work, and charged me a couple thousand dollars to edit my manuscript. Yes, a couple thousand.

She charged me around $700 to read it and give me her opinion and then charged somewhere just shy of $2,000 to do something like a copy edit (this is the kindest way I can say it). I was inexperienced and had no idea where to start looking for an editor, other than a website that sold used bikes and gym equipment.

For the work the editor did and the length of my book, her fee wasn’t outrageous, but most indie authors, like myself (lol lol lol. Omg I’ll never see that money again) cannot afford prices like that. Don’t get me wrong, editing is important and professional editors should not undercharge, but I was working a full-time job that was just paying my bills and I had to pull out what little savings I had to pay for that edit.

So what are we to do when we can’t afford an editor?

Editing Software

Let me first say that editing software cannot replace a professional editor, but for those of us who cannot afford one, this is a a good option. Also, editing software is great for your blog posts, any written extras you provide for your mailing list, and short stories (and any smut you might write under a pen name that you don’t want to invest a lot of money in).

I edit my own novels twice before I send them to my editor. It saves me money and it saves my editor time. I run an editing program through my manuscript on the second pass and then send my manuscript on its way.

In my opinion, ProwritingAid is the best software and the best price. The program is offered as a one time purchase or a subscription service. For me, a one time purchase beats a subscription service any time. However, if you can’t afford the lifetime purchase, you can do a subscription until you can afford it. Additionally, you can give their web app a go to see if you like it.

Their Pricing as of June 2021:

  • Monthly: $20.00 USD
  • Yearly: $79.00 USD
  • Forever: $399.99 USD

Don’t panic yet. I didn’t pay $399.99 for it. I joined Camp Nanowrimo and purchased it for $199.00. They have a discount code 😀 With Camp Nanowrimo, you sign up and set a word count goal for writing. Once you reach that, you can cash in on your discount code! If you’re writing anyway, why not? Just remember, in November, regular Nanowrimo runs and that means you are required to reach a word count of 50,000 words, whereas with Camp Nano, it’s a word count you set as the goal.

I know for some creators that $199.00 is still a lot of money, but it is well worth the investment, especially if you’re going to make writing your career.

Kindlepreneur does a good comparison of ProwritingAid and Grammarly on his youtube channel. They are the two programs to consider, and with ProwritingAid’s features and the ability to purchase the software for a lifetime, I think it wins hands down, but check out the comparison video for more info ^_^

I haven’t had any issues with the program and it works well with Microsoft Word, Scrivener, and whenever I write on the web.

Beta Readers

Photo by Tim Samuel from Pexels

Beta readers are primarily for giving you feedback on your story. To see if your target audience likes it and to keep an eye out for anything you and/or your editor might have missed, but if you are using editing software and a good set of beta readers that don’t mind combing through your manuscript, you can get a clean novel out of this method.

I was hesitant to suggest this because editing software is not perfect and if you are selecting the wrong beta readers, you could become discouraged or end up making changes that are based on how someone else would have written the story, but I realized this is also an issue you could face with an editor you higher.

A truly good editor will work with you to write your novel the way you would write it. They are there to enhance your story, characters, and writing, not change them. So keep that in mind, whether you’re working with a beta reader or editor, and make sure you choose readers that enjoy your genre.

How to Find Beta Readers

  • Ask people you know with a good grasp on grammar and who enjoy the genre you’re reading.
  • Join a local or online writing group and offer to trade services—you’ll read their manuscript if they’ll read yours type of deal. I suggest checking MeetUp to see if there are any local writing groups. You can also look on Discord, Facebook Groups, and the KBoards for fellow writers that might swap beta reads with you.
  • Create an account on Book Sprout and post an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) to get feedback from readers.


Fiverr is the go-to website for everything from graphic design to book covers and editing on the cheap. It’s the place a lot of entrepreneurs and small businesses start, whether they are buying or selling. Meaning you can hopefully hire an editor closer to your budget and who will provide you with a quality edit. Make sure to read the reviews, compare services, and remember that sometimes you get what you pay for.

Search editor in the search bar and you’ll get plenty to choose from.


The Kboards is an online forum for readers and authors. In the Writer’s Café, editor’s will post their services and prices. I can’t guarantee that there will be an affordable editor listed for everyone, but it’s worth a shot. Look for editors who have long threads, which suggests a lot of people have used their service over the years. If they are still around and still getting clients, that’s a good sign. You can also check to see if they are a part of the EFA (Editorial Freelance Association).

Despite all of the hoops you’ll jump through to try to find a good, affordable editor, you might end up with a lemon like I did, but don’t give up and keep pushing forward. I found my current editor through a friend and I love her. I hope to work with her for the rest of my life ((neediness intensifies)). As you write and create more of a presence for yourself online and locally, you’ll find a system that works for you.

I hope this was helpful and I wish you the best!


Cover Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

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