References & Resources for “Quantifying Your Editing Impact”

In my land acknowledgement, I mentioned the intellectual debt that my thinking in today’s presentation owes to the words & work of Chris Rattray, who I met through my affiliation with and learning from Groundswell Alternative Business School. I am grateful for, and work to begin to repay, the substantial debt that I owe to the Indigenous Peoples on whose land I live. One way that I work to make reparations is through financial contributions to organizations like Indspire. If you aren’t sure whose territory you live on, consider visiting

My column for University Affairs, “Ask Dr. Editor,” has lots of advice on writing effective grant applications. I’ve also published a number of blog posts for Editors Canada, including:

01 | The Subversive Copy Editor

I learned how to edit from a number of different courses, books, resources, and mentors, but, primarily, I learned to be an editor from Carol Fisher Saller’s excellent The Subversive Copyeditor. Its one of my recommended books for editors. If you purchase from, I’ll make a small commission; purchasing from rather than from Amazon also helps support your local independent book shops.

Here’s the template text that I use in emails to authors when I’ve been hired by their university to edit their research grant applications:

“Because we’ve not worked together before, I want to emphasize that my comments and suggested edits for your proposal are only suggestions. You are the expert here, and you know best what your reviewers want and need to see. So please feel empowered to reject any changes you don’t agree with, or ask me questions if you don’t understand any changes I’ve proposed making.”

Want to share your email template text with me? Please contact me! If I get enough responses, I’d be happy to put together a short post on this topic (and credit you, of course).

02 | Credence Goods

I learned about the concept of credence goods from the book How Clients Buy. I discuss this concept in depth in my webinar “Anti-Hustle: Marketing Against Greed.”

03 | Writing Well is Hard

I created as a free resource to help people to compare the writing patterns that underlie two different texts. Here are some more details on how the tool works:

I made because I’m not persuaded there’s only one way to write well, and I don’t like that the norms of “good” writing are too often white, cis, male, and dead. I want academics to be able to edit their own work strategically and with intentionality, modelling their work on whatever writer or writing they decide is good.

So while, like other digital tools, aspires to help you to write clearly, persuasively, and succicently, it also allows you to set the bar as to what constitutes clear, persuasive, succicent, and good for your audience and your context.

I’ve written about this tool for a few different publications:

04 | Sales Psychology & Behavioural Insights

I showed you a screenshot from the homepage of Sarah Dobson & Co.

Behavioural insights were kickstarted with the publication of Nudge in 2008. Nudge: The Final Edition was published in 2021.

The article “How to nudge drivers to reduce speed: The case of the left-digit effect” is available at

The full list of 98 cognitive biases is available at While their list is substantial, it’s missing the left-digit effect, meaning that it’s an incomplete list–still, its one of the most comprehensive out there. The image of the status quo bias that I shared comes from their site.

05 | Q & A & C

My questions for you are:

  • Do you have introductory template blah-blah? Or template blah-blah that you use at a different point in the editing process? Would you be willing to share your template blah-blah? (If so, please email it to me!)
  • What goals do you have for your template blah-blah? Does your template achieve these the two goals of increasing transparency and reducing information assymetry? Or does it achieve just one of them? Or is it doing something else?
  • Do you ever share metrics when you tell a writer what you’ve done to their text? What numbers ought we include include in our template blah-blah, if any?
  • Do you want to get really into the weeds in this stuff with me? Do you want to get together a group that meets for, say, four months, and together we each develop our own template blah-blahs? (If your answer to that question is “yes,” then I ask you to please complete my little survey by, say, end of day on Monday April 3, please and thank you.) The survey:

If you enjoyed today’s presentation, you might also like the small but growing collection of resources I have available through I’d also be happy to chat with you about your business practices in one of my free virtual coffees–scroll down to find a time in my calendar.

If you don’t want to share your template text and don’t want to get into the weeds of this stuff, but you are interested in seeing the blog post I’m hoping to write about template blah-blahs, then consider signing up for my monthly-ish email newsletter, The Shortlist, because that’s how I’ll tell people when the blog post is available:

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