FAQ

Why should I hire an academic editor?

There are five good reasons you could need my help:

  1. Your deadline is coming up, and you simply need to farm this work out to someone else. Cleaning up a long manuscript can take dozens of hours, and finding chunks of time for this can be a challenge. However, this is not a process you want to rush. Your academic paper is the culmination of years of investment, so relax and let me take care of it.
  2. It’s been years (or even decades!) since you’ve had an English class. If you’re out of practice it will show. Take advantage of my expertise. I’m well-versed in a variety of style manuals, so I can whip your paper into shape and get it ready for you to file.
  3. The feedback you get from your advisors relates more to your writing than your ideas. Writing that is full of errors can be distracting, and some programs will ask you to resubmit the paper if there are too many mistakes. I’ll read through your paper twice and correct all the errors.
  4. You need to prioritize teaching and research work. You may be able to find an hour here and an hour there, but editing a long manuscript requires immersion. If you are juggling multiple responsibilities, hiring me to do your editing will bring you some relief.
  5. You want the extra benefit of a fresh pair of eyes. Sometimes I can find mistakes that you either didn’t recognize as a mistake or simply didn’t see.

Isn’t editing a student’s writing unethical?

Not at all. Graduate students who are filing a dissertation or thesis are entitled to hire a professional editor for their work so they can turn in high quality writing. When I copyedit an academic paper, I read the writing sentence by sentence, working at the micro level to correct errors in grammar, usage, spelling, mechanics, or style. Some editors will also provide more global feedback regarding content and organization or more substantial edits to paragraphs, but I draw the line at copyediting. I don’t fact check or comment on your organization or structure.

I think it’s a slippery slope when an academic editor starts working with the content of the paper. I’d prefer to avoid that, so I stick to working at the sentence level. Sometimes I’ll combine sentences or split up a long sentence, but for the most part I’m operating at the micro level. When you give me your paper to edit, my job is to leave your thoughts and ideas intact but make them easier for your reader to access. Any edits I make are with that goal in mind.

Also — I expect my clients to be transparent about their use of a professional editor and to secure permission from the appropriate faculty member(s) if necessary.

Why did you decide to specialize in academic editing?

I’ve had all kinds of projects over the course of my career, and what I enjoy the most is nonfiction prose. Rather than writing everything for everybody, I decided to pick one thing and do it well. So, I decided to specialize in academic editing because it involves all the things I love: grammar, research, and constantly learning new things. With this work I am firmly in my comfort zone–I have twenty years of experience with writing, either teaching writing or writing professionally–and yet, I am constantly growing as an editorial professional and making discoveries about words and resources.

What subject areas do you work with?

I am glad to work with papers on a variety of topics. I am most comfortable with topics in the humanities and social sciences, but I am also able to work with topics related to business, nursing, education, geography, library and information studies, nutrition, and ecology. This is not an all-inclusive list, so please feel free to contact me if you don’t see your discipline listed.

Industry standards regarding academic editing don’t require an editor to have thorough knowledge of the topic being written about. In fact, the Society of Freelance Editors and Proofreaders suggests that an editor working with unfamiliar material may be less likely to intervene in the content of the paper. The most important thing a good copyeditor needs to know is what correct sentences look like.

What is your turnaround time?

Turnaround time depends on (a) the length and complexity of your paper and (b) what my schedule looks like. I’m glad to talk to you about scheduling your project to meet a deadline. Be sure to include this information when you contact me.

Typically, you’ll want to allow three weeks between your sending me your paper and the deadline. That gives me plenty of time to review your paper and give it back to you for final changes.

How much do you charge?

My rate depends on the level of editing needed, the number of tables and figures, the total number of pages, the English speaking status of the writer, the technical density of the prose, or other features. I will ask you first to send me a ten-page sample of your paper so I can determine my pace. My rates match up to industry averages, and once I’ve gathered information about your paper I will offer you a project quote.

You may find companies online that will offer you an instant quote and low rates, but I believe you get what you pay for. Editors working for these types of companies may not be earning what they are worth, and you may not get the high quality results that you’ll get with someone like me.

How does this process work?

  •  I like to begin with my intake form, so I can gather information about your paper. I need to know what style manual to use, how many pages your paper is, what your deadline is, and other basics. From there, I may call you to introduce myself and find out more about your project.
  • I will request a ten-page sample of your paper to determine my pacing and the overall fee for the project.
  • If you agree to the price I quote you, I will send you a contract to sign and return.
  • If your project fee is $500 or more, I will ask you to pay half of the amount before I begin work.
  • I’ll edit your paper according to our agreed parameters, and I’ll create a style sheet based on your style manual.
  • I’ll return your document to you with the changes tracked, along with your style sheet. At this point, I’ll be available for you to ask questions and review my work. We can chat by phone or Skype, or if you are local we can meet in a coffee shop. It’s up to you.
  • Once you are completely satisfied with the work I’ve done, I’ll send you an invoice, payable via PayPal or check.

What if you make changes I don’t like?

I will return your document to you with all of the changes tracked in Word’s “track changes” mode. You will be able to choose whether to accept or reject each change I’ve made. I typically recommend that you read through your entire paper and decide first which changes to reject, then from there you can accept all of the remaining changes at once.

My paper isn’t quite finished. Can you fill in the missing pieces?

No. I don’t provide writing services to students with academic papers. That type of assistance is cheating. I work with students who have written a complete draft and revised for content and structure, but could use help with the final polishing of their work.