All you need is a (sh*t) first draft. I'll dig up the genius.
So you're thinking about hiring me to edit your paper? That's awesome! You'll be joining an elite group of nerds from places like Vanderbilt University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Minnesota, Université de Montréal, and others. Working with me will save you tons of time and stress.
I'll be honest: my mission is to make sure that by the end of our time together you're thinking, "WOW! That Sarah is a magician*! The whole experience was so pleasant and so easy. My writing still sounds exactly like me—but so much better! I can't wait to tell all of my colleagues about her."
*words from an actual client
But...not everyone needs an editor. Or an editor like me, anyway.
So before we put a ring on it, let me take you through a few steps to figure out whether this is the right move for you.
Wait. Why would I need an academic editor?
Do you really need an editor?
A lot of people think of editors as the people who pick up spelling and grammar mistakes. And that’s true! But it's a teeny tiny part of what we do. A good editor can do a lot more for your writing than check your spelling and grammar (and really, why pay someone to do a spelling check when you can press a button and do it yourself?).
No, seriously. Do you really need an editor? Ask yourself why you want to work with an editor. What do you need help with? Here are the most common concerns:
- Structure: You're not sure your paper makes sense. It seems "all over the place."
- Style: Your sentences are super long and even YOU can't figure out what you mean.
- Copy: You're at the polishing stage and you need someone to format your paper and check grammar and punctuation before you submit to a journal.
- Proofreading: This is the final read-through to check for errors before publication.
I tend to work with folks in categories 1 and 2, and rarely in categories 3 or 4. That means that I'm focused on making sure that your writing is logical, persuasive, and clear. You’re hiring me to assess your manuscript and advise you on clearly conveying your research to your audience.
Think about what else you want to get out of working with an editor: more time, less frustration, expert opinion, peace of mind...? Those factors are important, too.
Okay, I think I need an editor.
do you really want to work with me?
I work with clients who see the value in having an 'outsider' review their work. I'm there to focus on the writing, not to make sure that your stats are right or that you used the proper analytical technique. By the time you come to me, I expect that you've done your due diligence and that you have colleagues or co-authors who can verify that your work is sound. And this should go without saying, but I can't guarantee that working with me will get your paper published.
Chances are I'm not a subject matter expert in your field. But, I do know what good scientific writing looks like. I can help make sure that your writing is accessible not only to the handful of people who specialize in your area, but to a broader audience of educated readers.
If you’re worried that I won’t understand your topic…that’s legit! Ask me questions so that you feel comfortable about working with me. But if you’d feel more comfortable working with someone who has experience in your field, I *highly* recommend that you seek them out. I might even be able to refer you to someone. I can't guarantee that I'll know anyone I can refer you to, but I'll do my best.
If it ain’t broke, I don’t fix it. I want your writing to sound like YOU. (But, um, better. No offense.) And that means using the lightest possible touch.
My one-on-one clients tend to be:
Early career researchers, Clinician researchers, Postdocs, and the occasional grad student (looking for a free writing group? Check this out!)
Mostly academics in health/clinical sciences, but I've worked across a bunch of disciplines including social work, anthropology, and political science.
People who find academia kind of stuffy, but LOVE talking about their research over beers. Or they're usually too busy to have a beer because they're changing the world.
FYI, my training is in population and public health research, with an interdisciplinary undergrad degree in Arts & Science. I'm an occasional reviewer for several peer-reviewed journals. You can read my fancy-pants bio here.