I just sent this proposal to a prospective client, and I thought I'd post it here as well—in case anyone is considering my services and would like more detail.
I’m willing to undercut the industry-standard rate and edit for $2.25 a page. By page, I mean industry submission standard: double space, 12-point Times font, with approximately 1.5 inches of white space (including footers) on all sides.
An 80,000-word novel should print out somewhere around 325 pages, depending on how much back-and-forth dialogue you have. $2.25 a page at 325 pages is $731.25. Which sounds like a lot of money! If it makes you feel any better, I’m paying someone to edit my current 347-page novel right now. She’s charging me $28. per hour, with no cap and no estimate of cost.
Another option is to pay by the hour at $25 an hour. This will work out to less money if your novel is pretty clean to start with and has a lot of back-and-forth dialogue. (Expository pages are denser and slower.) Also, if you only want proofreading and syntax suggestions (no plot/structure feedback), then the per-hour rate will save you money. Even when I work per hour, I put a cap on the project. In this case (325 pages), regardless of which pricing structure you chose, the cap would be $731.25.
I’m also willing to peruse the first 20 pages and see how it goes. If it’s moving quickly, I’ll recommend a per-hour structure. The last novel I edited was 110,000 words and took about 32 hours. A 75,000-word mystery would likely take around 20 hours and cost $500 or less.
Other details: If you send me the Word document, I’ll print it here and mail the hard copy edits back to you at my expense.
I would love to edit your novel, and I hope I can work something out with you. I have references! Please contact me if you have any questions.
PS I posted a blog about commas on the Blood-Red Pencil, if you want a peek at my editing style.