Melissa Carmean

Not in Vain Editing

My name is Mel, and I specialize in substantive, developmental, and line editing. I LOVE to work on those projects that seem somewhat… out there. You know? You possess something that’s weird, bizarre, unique, and/or challenging? Send it my way!

I’m also a content editor as well as a manuscript evaluator. I dabble in copyediting and proofreading. Yeah. It’s a lot to claim, I know. But I do a bit of it all. I like to summarize it as “substantive editing,” because that’s the easiest way to convey my work.

I also format e-books (as long as you don’t need anything too crazy) and print for self-published authors. This service is super cheap! This service starts at $50, depending on the complexity of the piece.

My hourly rate varies, but for substantive editing, it is $40 an hour (I have listed information on fixed pricing below).

I work mostly with fiction (my specialties are science fiction/speculative fiction, YA, MG, contemporary literature, fantasy, and romance, plus any combination of the above listed), but I have edited non-fiction and will continue to build experience with it.

I love words. I love the meanings words carry with them and I love arranging those words so that they express what the author wishes to say in their voice, their tone, their narrative. I love a challenge. I love the unique and bizarre. Those manuscripts that don’t fit into a single genre or category. I love untying knots and connecting the threads so that your story ends up with a place where all the pertinent things meet.

If you’re interested in my services, I do sample edits of first chapters (or the first seven pages of your work) for free, to ensure we’re a good match.

My charges will vary depending on the size of your manuscript, what phase of editing it has reached already, and how many words are in it. However, my current service charges resemble this:

A manuscript of 40k or less- starts at $400 for an evaluation.

  • 40K manuscript starts at $600 for a light copyedit
  • 40K manuscript starts at $700 for a content edit
  • 40k manuscript starts at $800 for substantive edit and can go up to $1600 based on the amount of work needed.


A manuscript of 50k- starts at $500 for an evaluation and can go up to over $1500 for other types of editing.

An 80K manuscript starts at $700 for an evaluation.

  • 80K manuscript starts at $1500 for a light copy edit/line edits
  • 80k manuscript starts at $1800 for a moderate copy edit and can go up to $3000 for a substantive edit.

A manuscript 100k and over:

  • Evaluations start at $1000
  • A line edit starts at $1800
  • A substantive edit starts at $200 and can go up to over $4000 depending on the amount of work needed, and the word count of the novel. On average, a substantive/line edit for a 100K novel would cost around $3500.

A manuscript of 150K

  • Evaluations start at $1800.
  • Copyedits/line edits at $2400
  • Substantive edits start at $2500 and can go up to over $4500, depending on the amount of work needed and the word count of the novel.

Feel free to contact me via email, or through my website with any questions, or if you need a quote. The prices on my website are placeholders until I have the time to figure out what my average charges are. I am negotiable on price dependent on your circumstances. I’m not dug in with these prices. It’s hard to give a range because every piece is so different.


My hourly rate is $50/hour. But I am negotiable on that as well:)


Business phone: 260-310-4816


Years in the field: 13
Years freelancing: 10


Melissa Carmean