Freelance academic developmental editors

Grow your academic developmental editing career with Ideas on Fire

We are looking for social justice-oriented developmental editors with a minimum of 2 years professional experience developmentally editing academic books, journal articles, and/or book proposals in the interdisciplinary humanities and social sciences (see our portfolio for the types of projects we work on).

Ideas on Fire developmental editors are responsible for ensuring client manuscripts have strong and well-proven arguments and subclaims relevant to the authors’ academic fields, clear and logical manuscript structure that supports those arguments, the right amount and type of engagement with scholarly sources and debates, and consistent authorial tone.

Further, our developmental editors ensure manuscripts fit well with US academic publishers’ lists and audiences as well as advise clients on changes they can make to their manuscripts to best fit existing and emerging interdisciplinary conversations in their fields.

Minimum requirements

  • You are committed to interdisciplinary, social justice-oriented work and want to help our clients build more just worlds.
  • You have a minimum of 2 years professional experience developmentally editing academic books, journal articles, and/or book proposals in the interdisciplinary humanities and social sciences. You may run your own editing company, be a freelancer working directly with authors or publishers, or have worked in-house at an academic press.
  • You understand the US academic hiring and tenure process and how it shapes and is shaped by academic publishing.
  • You keep up with and are able to advise our clients on current texts, debates, and methodologies of the interdisciplinary humanities and social science fields we specialize in (see our portfolio for examples).
  • You are comfortable working on multiple concurrent projects in a fast-paced work environment.
  • You are professional, organized, and thorough. You always meet deadlines.
  • You love getting detailed feedback on your work and are eager to make adjustments based on that feedback.
  • You have fantastic US English writing and oral communication skills.
  • You work well independently; go out of your way to learn new tools and systems; research solutions when faced with unknowns; and structure your time, tools, and communication practices to ensure you do your best work.
  • You have your own computer, Microsoft Word 2010 or later, and regular and reliable internet access.


  • You’ll developmentally edit interdisciplinary academic books, journal articles, book proposals, and the occasional dissertation (carefully adhering to academic integrity requirements).
  • For each manuscript, you’ll provide page-by-page, in-text edits using Track Changes in Microsoft Word and fill in the accompanying editorial report addressing the manuscript’s strengths and areas for improvement, detailed revision recommendations, and section-specific advice on strengthening the text.
  • You’ll ensure your edits fully address the project brief provided to you at the beginning of each project.
  • The vast majority of the time, you’ll be the primary editor on a manuscript but occasionally you’ll be one of several editors providing different services on the same manuscript.
  • You’ll add additional edits based on feedback to ensure developmental edits are comprehensive and complete before manuscripts are returned to clients.


This is an independent contractor position and you can work remotely from wherever you are.

IoF has always been a fully remote company and we stay connected with digital tools like Slack, Zoom, and Notion.


You’ll use your own copies of Microsoft Word 2010 or later and Adobe Reader or Apple Preview.

Additionally our team uses Google Drive, Slack, Zoom, and Notion for project management and communication.


Pay is per word and based on turn-around time.

IoF editors are pitched specific projects based on their editing skills, subject matter expertise, and availability. Each pitch includes all project logistics so you can decide whether you want to accept the project.


Earlier in your editing career?

Check out Introduction to Professional Academic Editing:

our online, self-paced course.

Learn more

Pin It on Pinterest