References & Resources for “Ask Dr. Editor: How can I become a better editor of my own work?” – Congress 2021

My slides from today’s training are available here.

The monthly column that I write for University Affairs is called Ask Dr. Editor. Please feel free to send me a question!

Step 1: Count Wordsworth – set the baseline

Step 2: HemingwayApp – look at your use of the passive voice

Step 3: The Writer’s Diet – seek out clusters of prepositions and of both “to be” verbs and zombie nouns

Step 4: Your Actual Human Brain – use it! set your writing in an unfamiliar font, space it weirdly, and then dig into the content.

Step 5: Count Wordsworth again – compare to your baseline and to the best in your discipline

Resources recommended in today’s webinar include:

  • Stylish Academic Writing by Helen Sword: chapter 6 is on “tempting titles.”
  • The Writer’s Diet: A Guide to Fit Prose by Helen Sword will help you to make changes based on the results of their “test.” Unfortunately, the governing metaphor of this book is a body-shaming metaphor. The writer’s diet test is nonetheless useful and Sword is good on academic writing.
  • Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace by Joseph M. Williams is a wonderful resource. Look for older editions for a lower cost. One resource for used book stores online is; however, abebooks is owned by Amazon, so if you are the kind of person who refuses to use Amazon, then abebooks might not be the resource for you.
  • The Elements of Academic Style: Writing for the Humanities by Eric Hayot is good on structure, and is relevant (in my opinion) for writers in the humanities and the qualitative social sciences.

I was asked about reasonable rates for editors. I charge $80/hr + GST, but I think that anything between $60/hr to $120/hr can be reasonable. I charge lower rates for graduate students because you are underpaid by your institutions, but I also do very little editing of graduate student work. The Editorial Freelancers’ Association in the U.S. has a rate chart (in USD).

I wrote about how to hire an editor in my most recent column for Ask Dr. Editor, which is published each month by University Affairs.

Was I unable to answer your question during today’s webinar? Please get in touch. I’d be happy to chat.

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