Academic editing

For interdisciplinary scholarship

Academic Editing - Glasses and laptop on wood desk

Editing of books and articles

You’re working on your next big writing project.

Maybe it’s your tenure book and you need a meticulously researched monograph placed with a top press. Maybe it’s a journal article you want to make a big impact. Or maybe it’s your second (or fifth) book and you’re looking to shake things up and get a wider public audience.

You have a great idea, but you’re stuck. The writing isn’t flowing, you’ve gotten conflicting feedback, the citations are a mess, and you forgot what your point was fifty pages (and six months) ago.

Our team of professional academic editors is here to help.

“Ideas on Fire’s advice to maintain rather than resolve the tensions embodied by the fraught position of my research subjects helped to draw out my book’s critical framework. They are wonderful readers who offer exactly the right amount of critical feedback and positive nudging forward.”

Minh-Ha T. Pham

author of Asians Wear Clothes on the Internet: Race, Gender, and the Work of Personal Style Blogging

“Working with Ideas on Fire was an oasis, an opportunity to receive affirming, consistent, and constructive academic editing feedback on my writing. I trust my scholarly voice more consistently, have discarded the perfectionism that comes with long writing projects, and have more confidence with my capacity as a writer and thinker from their edits.”

Ronak K. Kapadia

author of Insurgent Aesthetics: Security and the Queer Life of the Forever War

Academic editing services

Academic book proposal editing - Stack of books on their sides, tinted blue

Book proposal editing

WHAT: Developmental editing (editing of content) and copyediting (editing of writing) of your book proposal draft.

You get one round of in-text developmental edits and copyedits on the proposal; one style sheet; one editorial report addressing the proposal’s fit with the book proposal genre, strengths, and areas for improvement; and one publisher research report identifying 5 US academic presses that we recommend you pitch your book to, complete with each press’s relevant areas of acquisition, proposal submission requirements, review process, series your book would be a good fit for, and acquisition editor contact information.

WHEN: Before you submit the proposal to publishers

TURN-AROUND: 15 business days

COST: USD $1295.00 flat fee

Academic manuscript review - Stack of books on their sides, tinted green

Manuscript review

For books only

WHAT: One manuscript review report that outlines the manuscript’s key interventions and primary audiences; provides big-picture revision advice for the book’s narrative arc, argument, structure, and scholarly engagement; and offers chapter-by-chapter revision advice.

One publisher research report identifying 5 US academic presses that we recommend you pitch your book to, complete with each press’s relevant areas of acquisition, proposal submission requirements, review process, series your book would be a good fit for, and acquisition editor contact information.

WHEN: Before you submit the full manuscript to publishers

TURN-AROUND: 25 business days

COST: USD $1895.00 flat fee

Academic developmental editing - Stack of books on their sides, tinted orange

Developmental editing

WHAT: Big-picture editing of your content—argument, analysis, organization/structure, engagement with sources, and authorial tone. Developmental editing helps you foreground your argument and assemble all the pieces in a clear narrative arc.

You get one round of in-text edits on the manuscript using Track Changes in Microsoft Word and a separate editorial report addressing the manuscript’s strengths and areas for improvement, large-scale revision recommendations, and section-specific advice on strengthening the text. 

WHEN: When you’re still hammering out the manuscript content. This can happen before you submit the manuscript to a publisher or after you’ve received reader reports and want help implementing them.

TURN-AROUND: Determined by manuscript length. Books are usually 30 business days; journal articles/book chapters are usually 15 business days.

COST: USD $0.09 per word

Academic copyediting - Stack of books on their sides, tinted yellow


WHAT: Detailed editing of your writing—sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, consistency, typos, and citation formatting. Copyediting helps you polish a draft to ensure your ideas are what shine.

You get one round of in-text edits on the manuscript using Track Changes in Microsoft Word and a separate style sheet that we use to ensure consistency across the manuscript. You can keep the style sheet for your records or forward it along to your publisher as needed.

WHEN: After you’ve finished the content. Copyediting can happen before you’ve secured a book contract or article acceptance (when you’re creating a full draft to submit) or after (when you’re polishing the final manuscript for production).

TURN-AROUND: Determined by manuscript length. Books are usually 30 business days; journal articles/book chapters are usually 15 business days.

COST: USD $0.08 per word

Academic proofreading - Stack of books on their sides, tinted pink


For books only. If you have Microsoft Word files, you need copyediting not proofreading.

WHAT: Detailed editing of publisher-issued, typeset page proofs for typos, formatting errors, citations, and inaccuracies.

You get one round of in-text edits on the page proofs using PDF markup tools and a separate style sheet that we use to ensure consistency across the proofs. You can keep the style sheet for your records or forward it along to your publisher as needed.

This service does NOT include copyediting or large-scale edits as publishers do not allow these at the proofreading stage.

WHEN: Last stage of the publishing process, when you receive page proofs from your publisher. Proofreading happens at the same time as book indexing.

TURN-AROUND: Determined by manuscript length, usually 20 business days

COST: USD $6.50 per page

“I am so very grateful to Ideas on Fire for their expertise, professionalism, and prompt assistance. They get right to the heart of a chapter’s workings, and I’ve found their suggestions again and again to be absolutely on point. My manuscript is so much stronger for their excellent reading and advice. I feel I have a smart, subtle reader in my corner; it’s like a superpower.” 

Lauryl Tucker

author of Unexpected Pleasures: Parody, Queerness, and Genre in 20th-century British Fiction

“Through working with Ideas on Fire, my manuscript has a consistent feel across chapters; it is cleaner and ready to be sent to the publisher. IoF helped to highlight grammar and narrative flow issues; edit my citations/bibliography; renumber the figures; point out gaps in argumentation; and allowed me to see my own writing in a new light. IoF was precisely what I needed.”

Dotun Ayobade

author of The Afrobeat Queens: Gender, Play and the Making of Fela Kuti's Music Subculture

Meet your editors

Cathy Hannabach

Developmental editor & copyeditor

Rachel Fudge wearing a black shirt and glasses, in front of green trees

Rachel Fudge

Project manager & copyeditor

Summer McDonald wearing a blue blazer and button-down shirt

Summer McDonald

Developmental editor

Shazia Iftkhar wearing a green shirt and glasses in front of a brick wall

Shazia Iftkhar

Developmental editor

Micha Rahder wearing a grey sweater and glasses, in front of a bookcase

Micha Rahder

Developmental editor

Jean Lee Cole wearing a black shirt and necklace

Jean Lee Cole

Developmental editor

Megan Milks wearing a black shirt

Megan Milks

Developmental editor

Akiko Yamagata wearing a blue shirt and yellow scarf

Akiko Yamagata


Michelle Velasquez-Potts wearing a black shirt

Michelle Velasquez-Potts

Press researcher

Emma Warnken Johnson wearing a beige sweater and glasses

Emma Warnken Johnson

Developmental editor & copyeditor

Amber Riaz wearing a red shirt and black blazer

Amber Riaz

Developmental editor & copyeditor

Candida Hadley wearing a black sweater and glasses, leaning against a brick wall

Candida Hadley

Developmental editor & copyeditor

Rachel Fudge wearing a black shirt and glasses, in front of green trees

Ayesha Chari


Morgan Genevieve Blue wearing a black blazer and red shirt

Morgan Genevieve Blue

Developmental editor

Sofía Jarrín wearing a black blazer and teal and silver earrings

Sofía Jarrín


Ursula Arends wearing a peace shirt and glasses

Ursula Arends


E. Gale Greenlee wearing teal glasses, resting her chin on her hands and smiling

E. Gale Greenlee

Developmental editor

Sheryl Kaskowitz wearing a red shirt, black sweater, and glasses

Sheryl Kaskowitz


Dana Johnson wearing a white sweater and gold earrings

Dana Johnson


Jacqueline Harvey wearing a black shirt and glasses

Jacqueline Harvey


Anna Gasha wearing a grey shirt

Anna Gasha


Elen Turner wearing a black shirt and multicolored vest

Elen Turner


Stephanie Malak wearing a black blazer and white shirt

Stephanie Malak

Developmental editor

Marieke Krijnen wearing a black sweater and floral shirt

Marieke Krijnen


Greta Moran wearing a grey blazer and glasses

Greta Moran

Developmental editor

Laura Poole wearing a purple shirt and glasses

Laura Poole


Our unique three-level edit and review

Your manuscript receives a thorough three-level edit and review by our expert team before it is returned to you.


On the project start date, you email your manuscript to project manager Rachel Fudge, who prepares the manuscript for your editor(s). Rachel reviews the full manuscript and any accompanying peer review reports or publisher style guides you provided, writes the project brief, notes areas the editor(s) should pay particular attention to, and prepares the IoF editorial report, publisher research report, and/or style sheet.


Full edit

Your editor(s) dive into the manuscript. For developmental editing, your editor adds in-text revision recommendations using Track Changes and writes up the editorial report. For copyediting, your editor adds in-text edits using Track Changes and fills out the document’s style sheet. For proofreading, your editor adds in-text proof corrections using PDF markup tools. For manuscript reviews and book proposals, your press researcher investigates publishers and writes up the publisher research report.


Project manager review

Your editor(s) sends their work to Rachel, who provides a thorough review of the manuscript, in-text edits, and accompanying style sheet, editorial report, and/or publisher review report. She adds additional edits as relevant. If more work is needed, the manuscript gets sent back to your editor(s) for that, then comes back to the Rachel for more review. After Rachel has confirmed all edits, it moves to the next review stage.


CEO review

After Rachel has finished her review of the edits, IoF founder and CEO Dr. Cathy Hannabach begins the third level of review. She reads through all of the edits and revision recommendations, adding additional edits and publication advice as needed. She proofreads the editorial documents and confirms all edits meet our high IoF standards.


Rachel returns your edited manuscript and accompanying documents via email or Google Drive. You can then incorporate the edits and revisions you want to and go forward with your publication plans, confident that you have a fantastic manuscript!

“I’ve had to lean on editors much earlier in my second book project than I did in my first because of the pandemic. I’m fortunate to have the good feminist editors at Ideas on Fire. I used them for accountability, which I think scholars need so much more during the pandemic. We need to know that somebody is waiting for a draft, someone’s interested in your goals for that day.”

Delores Inés Casillas

author of Language and Power: Immigrant Media Practices Across Generations

“I was looking for assistance on how to turn a dissertation into my first book proposal and did not know where to start. As a result of working with Ideas on Fire, I now have a better understanding of what is needed and have specific action items to clarify my argument and make sure that it runs throughout the book. I recommend IoF to other first-time authors in the arts and humanities, especially those working interdisciplinarily.”

Mara Frazier

co-author of Women of the Dance Notation Bureau

Recent editing projects

Cover of micha cárdenas's book Poetic Operations - Performance artists with a blue overlay and yellow symbols
Cover of Mark Capbell's Afrosonic Life - Person holds a boombox toward the camera
Cover of Nitasha Tamar Sharma's Hawai'i Is My Haven shows a person covered in pink flowers smiling blissfully
Cover of Christopher Ali's Farm Fresh Broadband: The Politics of Rural Connectivity: Broadband tower in a hay field
Cover of Shanté Paradigm Smalls's book Hip Hop Heresies - Abstract painting of a person's head wearing a hat

“My manuscript gained consistency and clarity after it was copyedited and quote-checked by the IoF team. English is not my first language and this was my tenure book so the stakes were high. I wanted another set of eyes and minds looking at it before it went to external reviewers and it paid off. I’d recommend IoF to any scholar working on a first book and I will certainly be returning to them for my own future projects!”

Julie Burelle

author of Encounters on Contested Lands: Indigenous Performances of Sovereignty and Nationhood in Québec

“I was pretty nervous about my manuscript and overwhelmed thinking about the work of copyediting it. Ideas on Fire cleaned up the formatting, specified specific areas for improvement, and indexed the book—making my life a whole lot easier. Their services have improved my productivity immensely. I’d recommend Ideas on Fire to any colleague on tenure-track looking for more productivity and academic editing.”

Aymar Jean Christian

author of Open TV: Innovation Beyond Hollywood and the Rise of Web Television

Frequently asked questions: editing

How do I know which kind of editing I need?

Developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading are the stages a manuscript progresses through as it moves toward publication. All manuscripts will need all three types, whether you do them yourself or hire a professional.

Stage 1: Developmental editing (which includes manuscript reviews) addresses content. If you are still hammering out your ideas and want feedback on what makes sense, how your argument lands (or whether you actually have one), how to organize your chapters/sections, or what needs to be cut or added, you are at the developmental editing stage.

Stage 2: Copyediting addresses writing. If your content is all set but you need help fixing the sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and citation formatting, you are at the copyediting stage.

Stage 3: Proofreading ONLY happens on typeset page proofs issued by a publisher. It is a last-chance review of your proofs for typos, formatting errors, citations, and inaccuracies before the manuscript gets sent to the printer. If you are working on Microsoft Word pages, you need copyediting, not proofreading.

I have an unrevised dissertation that I want to turn into a book. How can you help?

Many of our clients are in exactly your shoes, and we LOVE helping scholars write and publish their first book (you can see a bunch we’ve worked on at our portfolio page).

If you have not yet started revising or have only done so lightly (perhaps you’ve sketched out a new chapter or have an idea for some things to cut), we recommend our manuscript review service.

The manuscript review provides a thorough overview of the entire manuscript as it is now and offers specific recommendations for what needs to be revised to transform it into a book manuscript that publishers would be interested in—including detailed advice on how and where to implement revisions.

We focus on what needs to be deepened, updated, trimmed, expanded, reorganized, moved around, redistributed, or left for another project—and how to do that.

The manuscript review also includes a publisher research report, which lists out the US academic publishers who we recommend you pitch your book to. This is tailored to your specific manuscript and reflects the audiences your project is aimed at, scholarly and public interventions it can make, and goals you have for the text.

The publisher research report provides all the relevant information you need to submit your book proposal to presses, including each press’s relevant acquisitions editor’s contact information, proposal submission process (including what your proposal needs to include), and relevant book series and lists your project would be a good fit for.

What kind of manuscripts do you edit?

We edit academic books (monographs, coauthored books, art books, and edited collections), book chapters, and book proposals aimed at scholarly presses.

We also do a lot of scholarly journal editing: full journals (all issues), individual articles, and special issues.

We specialize in the interdisciplinary humanities and social sciences, particularly the following fields:

  • activism
  • American studies
  • anthropology
  • area studies
  • art, architecture, and visual culture
  • communication studies
  • critical race studies
  • cultural studies
  • dance studies
  • disability studies
  • environmental studies
  • ethnic studies
  • film/media studies
  • gender and sexuality studies
  • geography
  • history
  • Indigenous studies
  • literary studies and comparative literature
  • music and sound studies
  • philosophy and theory
  • political science and politics
  • postcolonial studies
  • science and technology studies
  • sociology
  • theater and performance studies

We do not edit manuscripts in STEM fields, business/marketing, or law. We also don’t work on CVs/resumes, applications, or other professional documents, although we’re happy to refer you to other editors who do.

For examples of some of our editing work, see our portfolio page.

Can you format my citations in Chicago, APA, MLA, or another specific format?

Yes. Our copyediting service includes citation formatting for in-text parenthetical citations, endnotes/footnotes, and bibliographies.

Our editors are well versed in the latest formatting styles used in the interdisciplines, humanities, and social sciences, including those set by the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), Harvard, Associated Press (AP), and others.

Which editor will work on my manuscript?

When we confirm the editing schedule with you and sign the contract, we will match you with the Ideas on Fire editor(s) whose subject-matter expertise, editorial specializations, and schedule best align with your project.

You can read more about our editors by clicking on the photos above.

Every manuscript receives our unique IoF three-level edit and review before it is returned. You can read about this process above.

What happens if I miss my manuscript send date or need to reschedule editing?

When we sign the editing contract with you, we set all editing due dates and block time off for your manuscript in your editor’s calendar. Our team works on a large number of simultaneous projects and having clear deadlines (both yours and ours) is vital to ensuring we can provide you with quality feedback on your manuscript.

That said, we are currently living through an ever-changing global pandemic and even if we weren’t, life happens.

Sometimes the writing isn’t coming along the way you planned for, sometimes family or other obligations need to take priority, and sometimes your project changes in ways you didn’t anticipate. This is totally fine.

If you need to reschedule your project, we are happy to do so. We ask you to get in touch with us as soon as possible to set a new start date.

Please do not just send the manuscript whenever you finish it. Instead, we will coordinate the new start date with you in accordance with your writing schedule and the next available spot in our client calendar.

How does payment work?

We will send you an invoice with the edited manuscript. Payment is due in full 30 days after the invoice is sent.

We accept payment by credit/debit card, PayPal, and ACH bank transfer only. We do NOT accept paper checks. 

If you are using university funds, you must confirm with your university before the project begins that they will pay via credit/debit card, PayPal, or ACH bank transfer.

We are a registered vendor with hundreds of colleges and universities. If we are not already registered with your school, we are happy to get registered, which allows your institution to pay us directly.

Will you ghostwrite or rewrite my manuscript?


We have a strong ethical and political commitment to academic integrity. For scholarship to have credibility, it needs to be researched and written by the person whose name is on it. Thus, we do not ghostwrite or rewrite material.

Further, we will not edit any manuscript that contains plagiarized material.

Do you have any additional publishing resources?

Tons! Check out our publishing resource library for courses, videos, articles, and podcast episodes on the ins and outs of scholarly publishing.

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