This continues our series about editing academic works. These include articles for academic journals, theses, and monographs.
It’s niche work, if you can get it. And you can get it, if you try.
Who Hires Academic Editors
Individuals and corporations hire editors for academic works. All stages of editing may be hired out to freelancers. Editors can look to these sources for clients:
- students (especially PhD candidates) and professors
How to Get Assignments
Working on others’ dissertations while studying is a common way into this field. This route in means that the editor probably has related subject knowledge; clients like that. Clients also like editors with experience writing in academia, which often means they have an advanced degree.
The key to getting assignments is basically hand selling: talk directly to potential clients. Here are ways to do this:
- Send your resume to managing editors. “Letters and emails to managing editors would be just fine. They’ll redirect your letter/email to the right person if there is someone else who deals with freelancers,” says Katharine O’Moore-Klopf, one of the most widely-known academic editors in the US.
- Post flyers in the halls of university departments.
- Email the principal investigator, the professor who runs the lab and supervises all the grad students, postdocs, and technicians. “They hire me to help get papers out, and often that involves working with their trainees,” says Kristin Harper, owner/founder of Harper Health & Science Communications, LLC in Seattle, WA.
- Enlist with agencies that specialize in editing journals and dissertations. Some editors build a resume this way, though most find the conditions and pay to be poor.
- Take out listings in professional groups such as the American Medical Writers Association or the National Association of Science Writers.
- Follow discussion groups where assignments are advertised. Start with the professional groups. General editorial groups that are public can be sources of work as well.
In the next post, we’ll talk about how to get repeat work.