While I’m an experienced academic writer and editor, I’m fairly new to managing my own business. That said, I’ve had enough experience to come up with my first dos and don’ts list for the dissertation editor, which I’m sharing below:
- DO complete an initial review of the prospective client’s manuscript before taking on a job. You want to be sure to recommend the right kind of editing (e.g. proofreading vs. copyediting vs. substantive editing). Believe me, it’s very easy to underestimate the amount of work involved in various projects!
- DO send the client a pdf letter of agreement to be signed, dated, and returned to you prior to starting any work. Aside from serving as a contract, it sets the parameters of what the client can expect of you with regard to issues such as deliverables, timeframe, and cost.
- DO value your work enough to charge fees that are consistent with the quality that you provide. Too many people in the writing/editing business chronically undervalue their work and accept ridiculously low pay.
- DON’T take on work unless you are confident that you can do a quality job. While I edit a fairly broad range of academic manuscripts, I’m not a scientist, and therefore would draw the line at basic science manuscripts (e.g. physics, chemistry, biology).
- DON’T take on work at academic editing companies that pay rates that are significantly lower than your rates. You don’t want to waste time working for peanuts for someone else, when you could be building up your own business.
- DON’T be desperate or feel that you are obligated to work with clients who make you uncomfortable. Trust your intuition; if red flags crop up (e.g. awful communication) you may want to say no to a project. It could save you a considerable amount of time and money (if there are issues with payment) in the long run.
No doubt, as I become a more seasoned business woman, I’ll have more to add to this list at a future date. In the meantime, I hope newbie dissertation editors find this helpful!