Sample Editorial Proposal

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One of the most-oft asked questions within the business world is on writing a cost proposal. Following is an example proposal for a freelance editing project completed for a local PhD student. The style is slightly informal, formatted as a letter with pertinent information bulleted. This approachable tone and text has served well when dealing with clients, especially those nervous about their dissertations, which represent the culmination of years of work and progress. 

Notes on Editorial Pricing

  • Do note the different levels of pricing and offers. This serves to help the student (sometimes of limited budget) to find a level of editing that he/she is comfortable with, and helps you to nab the business, and not lose a client due to lack of funds!)
  • Structuring the proposal with an estimate of the hours needed to complete each step helps the student to comprehend the undertaking and effort that you'll be putting into their work.
  • Proposed terms (at the bottom) help you to protect yourself with notes on a contract, and also promotes positive cash flow into your business, by spreading out the payments. This "payment plan" can also be helpful to the student.
  • Be ready and willing to negotiate with your student. Although this proposal puts into place plenty of "wiggle room" (so to speak), each potential job should be approached with all factors in mind. Today's doctoral student may be tomorrow's pre-published author!

Sample Editorial Proposal

Sample Student


Dissertation Manuscript (mss) Edit/Proof


Option 1)

First pass read, sentence-level edit of work at medium level, including proofreading. Approximately 40 hours of time, $X flat rate. Please note this service would not include any large arrangement, form, outline, structural help, any academic/research support, no check of citations, no check of reference pages, no appendices, graphs or charts.

Option 2)

First pass read, sentence level edit of work at medium level as above, but including all supplementary pieces of publication (graphs, appendices) and cross-check and edit of all citations and reference pages. About 50 hours of time, $X flat rate.

Option 3)

First pass read and basic proofreading of work including appendices, graphs, supporting pieces. Would not include sentence-level edit/style/etc but instead focus on simple grammar, spelling, omitted words, etc. About 30 hours of time, $X flat rate.

Option 4)

Basic proofread of text only (as above), omitting supporting pieces such as references, appendices, etc. About 25 hours of time, $X flat rate.

Option 5)

Basic proofread of text, references, appendices and so on. About 27 hours of time, $x flat rate.

Proposed Terms: 

  • 15 day and 30-day deadline required (15 days from mss delivery for first half, 30 days from mss delivery for final deadline)
  • 25% down payment at delivery of work
  • 25% mid payment at 15-day delivery of first half of chapters/materials (option of dissolving contract here by either party)  
  • Final payment (50%) due 15 days from end of project (within 15 days of entire mss returned on due date)
  • Additional expenses: No additional expenses are anticipated; no additional expenses will be charged.
  • Letter of Agreement signed via electronic signature required before work begins.

Next Steps:

  • Consider your needs based on this proposal.
  • Negotiation of needs/terms.
  • A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is also available to protect the nature of your work and research (please note that I do not share materials/ideas/etc with any other entity, however, some authors prefer an NDA be signed).
  • Sign LOA provided by Editor.
  • Begin project date when down payment is received.

Thank you kindly for considering me! Please note that your work will be handled with the utmost care and commitment.