“University researchers may have funds for editing in their department budgets,” write the authors of the academic editing chapter in Editing Canadian English, 3rd ed., Lenore Heitkamp and Christa Bedwin. “Often [they] will maintain relationships with favorite editors for decades. They will also pass along the names of favorite editors to their colleagues. This is a big market, and it is worth developing these client relationships.”
Repeat work is one of the better aspects of academic editing. Not only does the editor grow her client roster, but there’s enormous efficiency in working with the same journal style repeatedly.
“Always, always follow up with clients to find out how things went after you finished their project. It’s a way of building your image in the client’s mind as someone who gives a damn about the person or company behind the manuscript. Yes, clients want great work from us, but if they realize that we care about outcomes too, they’ll fall all over themselves to work with us again. I do this with every single project, and because of it (and other marketing efforts), I haven’t lacked for work in years,” says Katharine O’Moore-Klopf, one of the most widely-known academic editors in the US.
Get Referrals, Too
Once you edit for an academic client, ask them for referrals. When you return the manuscript, or send a thank you for payment, say: “If you like my work, it would mean a lot to me if you would recommend me to colleagues who could use my services.”