Frequently Asked Questions

How much do you charge?

I charge a straight $40 an hour for all services, with a 10% discount for graduate students and independent scholars, or $36. To make a very rough calculation of your final costs, figure between 1200 and 1800 words per hour for a typical ESL paper, and somewhat higher for a native speaker. Papers already in good shape might be closer to 2200/wph, while those needing the most work might be around 1000 to 1100/wph or lower. Factors detemining final costs include level of editing desired, document length, initial writing quality, turnaround time (rush jobs are 25% extra), and formatting requirements. See Fees & Payment for more information on rates, and Editorial Services for more information on editing levels.


Are there any additional charges?

Rush jobs are billed an additional 25%. There are no other fees or hidden costs.


When and how do I pay you?

Unlike many editing services, I do not require prepayment before I begin working on your document. Only after I’ve completed my work will I request payment, and I will return your edited document to you immediately upon receiving it in full. The quickest and easiest way to pay is through PayPal using a credit card or bank account transfer, which is how nearly all my clients pay; in some cases a certified check, cashier’s check, money order, or bank or credit union draft may be arranged.

For more information or to make payment, see the Fees and Payment page.


How long will it take to edit my document?

Turnaround time depends on a variety of factors, including the length and complexity of your document, the level of edit you desire, your own writing skills, and how many projects I’m already working on. As a rule of thumb, figure on one day, or 24 hours, for every 15 pages. If after reviewing your document I think it will take longer, I will let you know right away. My goal is to provide you with as quick a turnaround as possible without sacrificing quality.


Do you accept rush jobs?

Rush service is available at an additional 25% fee. A rush job is defined by its due date, length of document, and my schedule at the time. A 25-page document due the following day would be a rush job, whereas a 5-page document likely would not, unless my schedule were already full. Similarly, a 150-page document needed in five days would be a rush job, whereas a 25-page document would not. If in doubt, just ask.


Do you offer any guarantees? Your satisfaction is my first and foremost concern. If you are not completely happy with any part of my editing, please let me know as soon as possible. I will continue to work until you are satisfied at no additional charge.

Are there any subjects you don't edit? Although I specialize in the humanities, arts, and social sciences, I also welcome undergraduate papers in the natural sciences and mathematics. Graduate students and professors in these latter fields should consult with a specialist in science editing.

Do I have to submit a lengthy document all at once?

For lengthy projects such as theses, dissertations, and books, I will gladly work in installments, such as chapter by chapter. This allows you to see my work before committing yourself to my services for the long haul. You may then pay me at the end of each installment, and you are always free to discontinue my services for any reason.


How do I send my text to you?

I do most of my editing by computer in Microsoft Word, which has a special Track Changes feature under the Tools menu that highlights all edits. Simply send your text already formatted in MS Word to me as an e-mail attachment; when I've completed my work I will return it to you in the same way. You can then view your document with or without the edits highlighted; you can even view the original document before editing. The highlighted version allows you to accept or reject the changes individually or all at once, although I strongly recommend you examine each edit to see what I’ve done and then accept or reject it.


What is your policy on confidentiality?

Your privacy is of the utmost importance to me and I maintain a strict confidentiality policy. I will never sell or share your name, e-mail address, or other personal information to anyone under any circumstance. Neither will I sell or share any part or all of your work to anyone for any reason. I will never use your document for any purpose other than editing.


Why should I choose you over other editors?

You will in fact find many fine copyeditors out there who can and will do a good job of editing your document. But most freelance copyeditors also work for publishers, magazines, corporations, or other businesses and may not be as familiar with the needs and expectations of academic writing. For instance, academic documents often contain many diverse elements that must be cross-checked against one another, such as page number references to maps, tables, and charts. Likewise, text citations to footnotes or endnotes must be cross-checked, and these in turn must be checked against bibliographies or reference lists. Copyeditors accustomed to editing novels, magazine articles, trade books, and the like might overlook these tasks. Their knowledge of the different academic styles might not be as thorough as that of an academic specialist. 

Because I specialize in academic editing, I am aware of the problems and needs specifically associated with academic writing and know how to handle them. In addition, for many years I was on the other side of the desk actually grading student papers and evaluating student performance. I have graded literally thousands of papers and I know what is needed to improve them to get a better grade. And as a former academic myself, I fully understand the lifestyle and pressures under which students and faculty alike operate.

Because I run my own small business, I can offer a level of personalized service that many other editing services don’t. With many services you don’t even know who your editor is or what his or her background might be. You simply pay your money up front and hope for the best. It's important to me, however, that you be completely satisfied with my work, and I am willing to work until you are.

And while editing doesn't come cheap, you will find my rates highly competitive. It may be helpful to know that about half of what any independent contractor makes is quickly gobbled up by taxes (besides IRS taxes, we pay full Social Security and Medicare taxes--you may not be aware that your employer pays half of your own SS and Medicare tax), health insurance costs, and the everyday expenses of operating a business. In addition, we receive no paid holidays, vacation leave, or sick leave.

And finally, I am committed to your academic success. I want to help you get that A on your paper, get your thesis approved, get that book or article published. And to that end I pledge to you the highest quality of service I am capable of delivering.


What's in it for me?

You will discover many advantages to hiring an editor for your academic documents, whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student, faculty member, or independent scholar.

For undergraduates, it’s an opportunity to improve your GPA while learning valuable research, writing, and thinking skills that will serve you your whole lifetime. The sad truth is that many undergraduates lack the necessary writing skills to meet the demands of college coursework, and many will simply drop out of school in frustration. Some will even resort to cheating by buying ready-made papers from term paper mills. Not only is doing so dishonest, but it is also risky, since getting caught can lead to course failure or even expulsion from school. Other undergraduates have reasonably good writing skills but could still benefit from some polishing to their documents. As an academic editor, I do not and will not write or rewrite your papers for you. What I will do is polish what you have already written by correcting grammar, usage, and punctuation errors while improving style. I also point out and help resolve any other problems of structure or clarity. By studying my changes, comments, and suggestions, you will sharpen your own research and writing skills. And such skills are just one more asset in today’s highly competitive job market.

If you are an ESL student, you may feel at a special disadvantage because you have to cope with the challenges of writing in a difficult foreign language. But by using an academic editor, you'll be able to compete more easily with your fellow students while improving your own mastery of the language. As a result, your grades will likely improve as well.

For graduate students working on a research or seminar paper, thesis or dissertation, an academic editor can provide you with valuable feedback on your research while speeding up the completion time for your degree. This in turn can save you both time and money. And those of you desiring to pursue a career in academia may already be under pressure to publish just to be in the running for that all-important tenure-track job. An academic editor can help improve your odds of getting published and getting that job.

If you are already a faculty member, you know that conducting research and publishing is vital to your career: tenure, promotions, and peer recognition all depend on it. An academic editor can be a valuable asset by helping you prepare your manuscript to make the best presentation possible to a journal or book publisher, thereby improving the chances of its acceptance. 

And if you are an independent scholar, securing recognition may at times be more challenging without an academic affiliation. Publications thus become all the more important in establishing your reputation.

And because editing can lead to higher GPAs, finished dissertations, and publications, it can help increase your own earning potential. Just like a good interview suit or a resume writing service, academic editing can be a smart investment in your future success.

To learn more about my services or to submit a document, please contact me at editor@myfinaldraft.com.