When I was in graduate school, I met with one of my mentors – a new Assistant Professor – and asked her if she planned to submit an article based on a recent talk she had given. She told me that the paper was too long and she was considering hiring a professional editor to get it from 10,000 to 8,000 words. I was astonished.
I had no idea that academics used professional editors, and something about it did not seem right. The idea that an intellectual would pay someone to do their intellectual labor did not sit well with me.
It was not until many years later, after I finished graduate school and had a job of my own, that I came to see the benefits of using a professional editor. Moreover, I began to use one myself. I realized that, whereas I may have great (even publishable) ideas, I had not learned how to present them in the best possible form, and a professional editor could help me with that.
In this post, I will discuss three of the benefits to using a professional editor. 1) Many academics do not have the skills to edit their own work. Using a professional editor is one way to teach you those skills. 2) Professional editors are just that, professionals. This means that they can edit your work quickly and professionally and save you time. 3) Using a professional editor can help you get more work under review, and, ultimately, published.
Using a professional editor will improve your writing.
Most graduate programs do not include any writing training. As a consequence, many academics are not very good writers. We split verbs, dangle modifiers, use too many adjectives, use long and convoluted sentences, mis-use words, and misplace punctuation marks. Using a professional editor will help you to see which errors you most frequently commit, and to correct them. The first time I used an editor, I learned grammar and style rules I never had known before and realized that I repeated the same errors over and over again. The best way to find out which errors you commit most frequently is to have a professional edit your text and tell you.
Using a professional editor will save you time
For those of you on the tenure clock, time is of the essence. The less time you spend poring over every detail of your article, the quicker you can get it under review and accepted. Paying a professional editor to turn your almost-finished article into a well-polished piece of work can be a fantastic investment. It is no secret that many academics are perfectionists. Paying someone to do the final editing can take off some of that pressure to be perfect and save you a lot of time.
Using a professional editor will help you get more articles accepted
A well-written paper gives you an edge in the peer review process. When reviewers receive papers that have grammatical errors, it turns them off. Many think that your grammatical carelessness could be indicative of carelessness in other areas. If you write “loose” instead of “lose,” perhaps you coded a variable incorrectly or did not transcribe your interview quotes or archival documents with precision. On the other hand, having an article free of grammatical and stylistic errors allows reviewers to focus exclusively on the quality of your work, and not on your minor errors. Even if your article is not accepted, the feedback you receive will be more useful as the reviewers’ critiques will not be influenced by their negative opinions of your writing.
Have a nearly finished article on your desk that you are nervous about sending out? Consider sending it to a professional editor to help you get to that last hurdle of finishing and submitting it.
How to find a professional editor
I often receive emails requesting recommendations for professional editors. There are five editors that I can recommend, and I have listed their information below.
If you are looking for an editor, hopefully one will work for you. Like writers, editors have different styles, and it can be hard to find one whose style matches your own.
Each of these professional editors are people that scholars have recommended to me. Here's a brief description of their services, as well as their contact information:
Kate Epstein's helped many writers bring their books into the world. She'll point out the weaknesses in your arguments, show you how to use structure to make your writing easier to read, and all the while cheerlead for your work. Assistant Professor of Sociology Joan Maya Mazelis at Rutgers University wrote, "Whether early or late in your writing process, whether you need help hashing out ideas and figuring out what you want to say or you need line-by-line editing services to make your arguments clearer and stronger, Kate is an excellent developmental editor!" You can find her at www.epsteinwords.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deirdre Golash is an analytical thinker (J.D., Ph.D.) with a fine eye for style, grammar, and punctuation. Send her your your rough draft or your completed manuscript, and let her massage your logic, smooth your style, and nit-pick your grammar and punctuation. You'll be glad you did.
Understanding the structure of arguments is the foundation of analytic philosophy, my core discipline. I will make sure that your article -- whatever the discipline -- provides a well-structured, conceptually sound argument for its conclusion.
I've been a university professor in an interdisciplinary department (Justice, Law and Society) for the last twenty years. I teach courses on theories of justice, legal theory, Western legal tradition and social ethics (as well as a doctoral-level class on writing for publication). I've published two scholarly books and a number of articles in philosophy of law. I look forward to sharing my expertise with you.
I specialize in what I know best: academic writing. I can provide any level of writing help from simple proofreading for grammar, punctuation and word usage to substantive editing for conceptual and logical soundness. I can help you get your piece from ideas to outline, from outline to rough draft, from rough draft to final version, or from substantively complete to publishable. I am available for phone conversations to discuss the work where appropriate.
Contact info for Deirdre: https://www.elance.com/s/deirdreg/ or email@example.com
I've really enjoyed working with Kristy Johnson: she's fast, knows her stuff, has an eagle eye, and brings what I have found to be very useful insights to my writing (in other words, she's not afraid to tell me when I make no sense). So the next time you find yourself in the final stages of writing a manuscript you've read one too many times, let Kristy give it a fresh look, clean up your mess, and get you one step closer to publication! I no longer send out an article without passing it by Kristy first, and my nerves are the better for it. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kristy S. Johnson –MFA in creative writing, Freelance Editor for 10 years.
Focuses: Dissertations/Thesis, Academic Articles/Book Chapters, Newsletters, Annual Reports, CVS/Resumes, Fiction and Non- Fiction Books, etc. Field focuses: Humanities, Social Sciences and Education. Services & Fees: Proofreading/Copy Editing, $2/page, Content Editing, $4/page (non-book length), Content/Copy Editing for books negotiable.
Kathleen (Sarah) Wood, an editor in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has provided editing and transcription services for academics and other professionals throughout the country since 1989. She has edited dissertations, proposals, papers, and books for professors and students in a broad range of fields. She has extensive experience in transcription of interviews and focus groups for qualitative researchers. Her business sector experience includes report editing and research assistance for marketing companies, transcription of oral histories, newsletter formatting and editing, and more. For more information on her services, she can be contacted at email@example.com, or 734-929-2866
Morelia is an English-to-Spanish and Spanish-to-English translator who specializes in producing thorough, high-quality media and academic translations. She also offers editing and proofreading services and takes great care to provide quality work for your media and academic needs.