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How fast can you edit? Consensus is about six pages an hour

April 30, 2014 By Samantha Enslen Resources

Here at ACES central, we field questions from editors around the world. Recently, a member wrote in with an issue that nearly all editors have faced.

“We are constantly criticized for taking too long on projects,” she told us. “Are there statistics for how long industry pros spend per page editing? I have no benchmarks to present in defense of our work.”

I knew in my head that “six pages per hour” was a standard metric. But I wanted to provide our member with a definitive source for that number. And once I started investigating, I was surprised at the consistency in the references I checked.

HERE'S WHAT I FOUND

This rate assumes standard-quality text and about 250 words per page. Of course, text in bad shape will take longer; text in great shape will go more quickly.

One important thing to remember is that these rates apply to double-spaced copy. But many manuscripts come in single-spaced. When that happens, we need to do the math for our clients and remind them that the rate drops to three pages per hour for single-spaced copy.

So there you have it. I was happy to help a member with some hard numbers to present to her manager. And it was good to confirm that, at least on this point, the editorial sages are more or less in agreement.

Samantha Enslen is on the ACES Executive Board. She runs Dragonfly Editorial.

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