5 reasons NOT to hire me to edit your academic book or journal article

Let’s keep this simple … why should you NOT hire me to edit your academic book or journal article?

1) You just need light copyediting or proofreading

Light copyediting and proofreading normally happens after you submit your book or journal article to a publisher or journal. It’s about preparing the text for publication and checking for editorial style, spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors etc. It requires specialist editorial knowledge but not necessarily any subject expertise.

For academic projects, I prefer more involved edits. I love reworking sentences to improve or clarify the style (language editing for multilingual authors), or giving big-picture feedback on how the text hangs together (developmental editing). These kinds of jobs play to my strengths – my subject expertise, academic publishing record, and publishing knowledge. My service includes copyediting to publishing standards, and I have completed extensive training in this. However, if this is all your text needs, you will probably find other editors who are a better fit.

2) You don’t want to be edited at all

Not all academics want to be edited. An involved edit is a collaborative process. It’s a bit like working with a therapist or mentor – building a good working relationship is crucial. If you’re not open to the process, then it’s much more likely to be a bumpy one.

If a journal, publisher, or academic has told you to find a proofreader or copyeditor, but you think the text doesn’t need that, then I’m not the editor for you.

3) You don’t want to be edited by me

Let’s continue with the therapist metaphor. For an involved edit, you should find an editor you want to work with and you should feel comfortable with their edits. Not every therapist is compatible with every person seeking help. The same applies to this level of editing as tweaking someone’s style is often a deeply personal exercise.

All editors work a bit differently. While we strive to keep the author’s style intact rather than imposing our own, the depth of intervention does vary. This is why I always recommend we work on a sample first.

As for my personal approach: I’m at the descriptivist rather than prescriptivist end of the editing spectrum, while respecting style guide conventions. I always offer guidance on conscious and inclusive language. If edits such as ‘the elderly’> ‘older people’ OR [used in a general sense] ‘men and women’> ‘people of all genders’ make you feel uncomfortable, then we’re probably not a good fit.

4) You’re in a rush

I usually book out one to three months in advance for big projects (books). For short projects (journal articles) my turnaround time is two weeks. This means I can fit these smaller jobs around the big project I have on at that time.

This is how I enjoy running my business: leisure and the avoidance of unnecessary stress are important to me. I’m free to set my own working hours and schedule, and this is how I like it.

If you are in an extreme rush to send a journal article off, this is often a red flag. Why? Because articles are often in peer review for months. If you won’t wait just two weeks for the edits and you don’t have a really good reason worth paying a premium for, my guess is that you don’t value the editing process or that you are creating unnecessary stress for yourself. Either way, please look elsewhere.

5) Our budgets don’t match up

I have carefully calibrated my prices, and I review them each year. For most services, I charge per 1000 words – this means you know what the price is when you hire me. I have chosen to be transparent about my pricing and list them on my website – this avoids unnecessary discussion if our budgets don’t match at all.

Also, I know that if I were looking for an editor, I would want to know the approximate price.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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