Push Your Scholarship Further: Developmental Editing

Much of the work I do with faculty and recent PhDs is developmental in nature. That means that I’m not tweaking their grammar or even improving their diction on the sentence level. I’m helping authors push their research so that it achieves more for them. Developmental editing produces scholarship that is argumentatively sound. The manuscripts I’ve developed say more—and more effectively—than they were able to say otherwise. All of that is very nice, and better scholarship may indeed be an end in itself. But that’s not all developmental editing accomplishes. It’s not even the most important outcome. Once a project—as a nascent idea, a proposal sketch, or a complete manuscript—is developmentally edited, it is poised to go places. It’s positioned to be accepted by the right academic journal. It’s ripe for an acquisitions editor to pick for his university press’s catalog. A developmentally edited research project has legs. Publishing outlets and funding agencies take a look and know exactly what to do with it. It’s legible to the audiences that matter for its success. Ultimately, having those kinds of projects in your portfolio gives your career momentum. Whether you consider yourself a lifelong professor, independent scholar, or writer of another sort, pushing your ideas will push you toward your professional goals, too. Here’s what I’m helping scholars do when we work together developmentally: Reframe so that the research is addressing a salient, timely concern or question. Reorganize so that the best ideas aren’t buried under scholarly apparatus. Reprioritize so that the reader’s experience—not a chronological recounting of the background research process—is paramount. Rejuvenate the whole project by finding and...

From Common Sense to Winter Genius

One of an editor’s jobs is cultivating in authors the habit of planning ahead. It makes sense: to get the most out of my services, you have to have the time to engage them in the first place. But budgeting time and funds are strengths not necessarily associated with the scholarly lifestyle. That’s why I’m issuing this friendly professional reminder. If you want to work with me to move your manuscript from draft to publishable scholarship, let me know in advance. Put another way, if you want to transform winter into a productive, verdant season for your writing, drop me a line. I have some availabilities in January and beyond. If you’re quick about it, I might be able to sneak you in before the new year (or at least get a start on your project, if it’s a lengthy one). How do you know whether we’d make a good professional team? The clients who make the most of my services have clear research trajectories and real passion for making a difference in the academy and beyond. It’s only fitting, then, that I edit with your broader scholarly career in mind. And I’m delighted to entertain your questions while you’re investigating your options. Again, just drop me a line to get a conversation going. Wishing you the best that winter has to...

Now Booking for August

Need some scholarly editing this summer? Summer 2012 is flashing before my eyes. It’s hardly the end of May, and I’m already thinking about August. University presses, professors, post-docs, and a dissertator or two have already marked up the June and July pages of my schedule. The summer “break” is traditionally a time to get ahead on writing and publishing projects. Do you already know you’ll want some editing—developmental, line, copy, citation formatting, CV diagnostic, what have you—in late July or August? Let me know soon so that I set aside time for you and your project. Even if you don’t need my services, I’d love to hear what you’re working on this summer. Sometimes making these ambitions public really solidifies our resolve, so consider yourself encouraged to comment below or send me an email summarizing your plans. Long story short: now booking for August! I’m booked through the third week of July for major, book-length projects (that includes dissertations), but I can add a few smaller (e.g., article-length) projects here and there in July, too. Thanks for keeping me busy and intellectually engaged, everyone. P.S. Check out the book I opportunistically quoted in the graphic—it’s a publication of the University of Missouri Press, which just announced its upcoming closure. Support a great institution, and expand your mind while you’re at...

Visit Me on Facebook

If you have a minute, come visit me on Facebook, where I post links and tips related to scholarly writing. You can also contact me through the Tweed Facebook page, or just email me. See you...

Style Sheets for Academic Writers

Tweed provides a style sheet with every completed editing job. The writer can use the style sheet as a guide to the edits I’ve made and as a crib sheet for cleaning up future documents even before they’re edited. But What is a Style Sheet? A style sheet is a record of types of changes made during the editing process and often covers the following aspects as they pertain to the document at hand: capitalization hyphenation use of italics spelling punctuation formatting Usually, a style sheet only includes decisions that differ from or are more specific than what can be found in the prevailing style guide (in publishing, it’s often The Chicago Manual of Style). For Tweed’s purposes, however, I include not just a list of terms and ad hoc rules but also some guidelines that I think will benefit the writer as he interprets my edits and goes on to other writing projects. Sample Style Sheet for Academic Editing This is a sample style sheet (PDF), mocked up from work I’ve done on a wide variety of projects. Despite the disparate content, this sample gives you a sense of what a style sheet is and what it can do for you as a writer. I usually phrase entries as sentences so that they are most useful to writers. It must be said, however, that no style sheet is a replacement for a style guide or mastery thereof. I don’t list every editing decision that I make; I focus on the ones most important for the document and hand and that I think a writer could rather easily understand,...

Dissertation-to-Book Guide No. 5: Inquiring Minds Want to Propose

It’s here: the fifth TWEED Dissertation-to-Book Guide, Inquiring Minds Want to Propose. In the previous guide, we discussed finding prospective publishers for book manuscripts. This installment goes through the next two phases of the dissertation-to-book process: initial inquiries directed to presses and then actual book proposals. In this rich guide, you’ll learn etiquette for entering into discussions with multiple publishers and why stressing your manuscript’s originality can damage your chances for publication. Download the PDF here. If you haven’t done so already, check out the first four guides in this series: A Dissertation is an Auspicious Beginning; Envisioning Your Dissertation as Something Else Entirely; Again, for the First Time: Revising Your Dissertation; and The Curious Beasts That Are Scholarly Presses & Acquisitions Editors. Find them in the TWEED resource library. Then sign up for TWEED’s email newsletter so that you stay on top of upcoming tools released for scholarly writers. TWEED can help you navigate the journey from dissertation to book. There’s more information on the page dedicated to crafting your...