Developmental editing services for authors

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Ideas on Fire offers interdisciplinary scholars the developmental editing services and support they need to write and publish groundbreaking books and articles.

When you’re deep in the weeds with the writing process, it can be hard to zoom out enough to register whether your argument is working or your analysis makes sense.

Our global team of developmental editors can help you build a strong and cohesive argument, strengthen your scholarly analysis, and craft a manuscript structure that lets your unique ideas shine.

Whether you’re working on your tenure book, a crossover book aimed at broad audiences, a proposal for your top-choice press, or a journal article you’re hoping will make a big splash, we’re here to make your publishing journey easier.

We specialize in interdisciplinary scholarship that reaches across disciplinary borders and often beyond the academy itself—helping you write and publish the kind of research that can spark social change.

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 Kapadia

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

“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 and gave me important direction for revising and reorganizing chapters. They are wonderful readers who offer exactly the right amount of critical feedback and positive nudging forward.”

Minh-Ha T. Pham

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

“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, Unexpected Pleasures: Parody, Queerness, and Genre in 20th-Century British Fiction

Academic developmental editing services

Books and book chapters

Academic developmental editing is big-picture editing of your book or chapter’s content, including argument, methodology, analysis, organization and structure, engagement with sources, and narrative arc.

Our book and chapter developmental editing service includes one round of in-text edits using Track Changes in Microsoft Word and a report addressing the manuscript’s key audiences and interventions, the manuscript’s strengths and areas for improvement, our detailed revision recommendations, and ways to address peer review reports.

We can developmentally edit your book or chapter before you submit the manuscript to a publisher—ensuring you put your best foot forward when you send it in for review.

We can also developmentally edit your book or chapter after you’ve received peer review reports—helping you implement those recommendations.

USD $0.10/word

Book proposals

Academic developmental editing is big-picture editing of your proposal’s content, including market viability, primary audiences, comparable titles, argument and stakes, methodology, analysis, organization/structure, and narrative arc.

Our book proposal developmental editing service includes one round of in-text edits using Track Changes in Microsoft Word and a report addressing the proposal’s key audiences and interventions, the proposal’s strengths and areas for improvement, our detailed revision recommendations, and ways to address the current publishing landscape to give your proposal the best chance possible at landing you a book contract.

We can developmentally edit just your proposal draft or your proposal draft + 1–2 chapters you plan to submit to presses.

USD $0.10/word

Journal articles

Academic developmental editing is big-picture editing of your article’s content, including argument, methodology, analysis, organization and structure, engagement with sources, and narrative arc.

Our developmental editing service includes one round of in-text edits using Track Changes in Microsoft Word and a report addressing the manuscript’s key audiences and interventions, the manuscript’s strengths and areas for improvement, our detailed revision recommendations, and ways to address peer review reports.

We can developmentally edit your article before you submit the manuscript to a journal—ensuring you put your best foot forward when you send it in for review.

We can also developmentally edit your article after you’ve received peer review reports—helping you implement those recommendations.

USD $0.10/word

Dissertation-to-book projects

Academic developmental editing is big-picture editing of your manuscript’s content, including argument, methodology, analysis, organization and structure, engagement with sources, and narrative arc.

Our dissertation-to-book developmental editing service offers guidance on revising the manuscript to transition from a dissertation format to a book manuscript suitable for today’s publishing market.

It includes one round of in-text edits using Track Changes in Microsoft Word and a report addressing the manuscript’s key audiences and interventions, the manuscript’s strengths and areas for improvement, and our detailed revision recommendations.

This service is available for postdocs and early-career faculty who are revising their already-filed dissertations into books. If you’re a grad student looking ahead, we recommend filing your dissertation first and then we would love to hear from you!

USD $0.10/word

How developmental editing works

SEND

You send us your manuscript on the contracted start date, along with any reader reports, publisher instructions, or specific elements you want us to focus on for your developmental editing service.

7

EDIT

Your editor(s) dive in: reading through the manuscript multiple times, adding in-text edits and revision recommendations, and writing up the editorial report.

7

REVIEW

The in-text edits and editorial report are thoroughly reviewed by two members of our senior editorial team. If additional work is needed to ensure the edit meets our high IoF standards, our team dives back in until the text truly shines.

7

RETURN

We return the edited manuscript and editorial report to you. You then incorporate the edits and revisions you choose and go forward with your publication plans, confident you have a fantastic manuscript!

Recent developmental editing projects

Cover of Anthroposcreens with a closeup on ice
Cover of Afrosonic Life, with a person holding a tape player on a beaded chain
Cover of Breaking the Gender Code, with abstract painting of people walking in a city street
Cover of The Cybernetic Border, with drone footage of the US-Mexico border arranged in a checkerboard pattern
Cover of Cooling the Tropics: Ice, Indigeneity, and Hawaiian Refreshment, with a child eating an ice cream cone
Cover of Ambivalent Affinities, with a blurred black and white photo of a Black femme person wrapped in the US flag

“When I came to IoF, I was feeling stuck and not sure what I needed to do to my book manuscript and proposal to make them suitable to send to presses. IoF made excellent suggestions to help me strengthen and clarify my argument and also gave me confidence with positive feedback on the things I did well. My book was accepted by Duke University Press thanks to Ideas on Fire’s editing.”

Lex Lancaster

author, Dragging Away: Queer Abstraction in Contemporary Art

After getting developmental editing by Ideas on Fire, I feel much more confident about my project. The questions, suggestions, and probes are so helpful that I feel a sense of buoyancy about my project. I have more direction and clarity.”

Shanté Paradigm Smalls

author, Hip Hop Heresies: Queer Aesthetics in New York City

“Like many academics, I struggled with conceptualizing my second book project and getting it in motion. I felt like I was spinning my wheels in a sea of wonderful, scattered ideas that would take forever to sift through and synthesize into a completed manuscript and book proposal. Working with Ideas on Fire, I gained a pragmatic game plan for completing my proposal and project, and academic writing feels fun again.”

Heath Fogg Davis

author, Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter?

Frequently asked developmental editing services questions

How do I know which type 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 of editing, whether you do them yourself or hire a professional.

Manuscript reviews and developmental editing address content. If you are still hammering out your ideas and want feedback on what makes sense, how your argument lands, how to organize your chapters/sections, or what needs to be cut or added, you are at the manuscript review or developmental editing stage (the difference between these is largely determined by whether you already have a book contract).

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.

Proofreading addresses lingering errors in the typeset page proofs issued by a publisher. It is a last-chance review of your proofs for typos, formatting inconsistencies, citations, and inaccuracies before the manuscript gets sent to the printer. If you are expecting typeset page proofs from your publisher, you are at the proofreading stage.

For more info, check out our article on When to Hire and Academic Editor or Indexer.

Can you help me turn my dissertation into a book?

Absolutely! 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 already begn revising, we recommend our developmental editing service.

Developmental editing includes the process described above, identifying exactly where and how you can revise the text to transition from a dissertation manuscript to a book manuscript. We also pay particular attention to what needs to be cut, what needs to be added or expanded, and what needs to be rearranged or reframed for this transition.

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 holistic 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. It also includes detailed advice on how and where to implement revisions.

The difference between developmental editing and manuscript review is in-text edits: with developmental editing you get in-text edits and a report, and with the manuscript review you just get a report.

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What kind of manuscripts do you edit?

We edit academic books, book proposals, and book chapters aimed at scholarly presses.

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

We specialize in academic editing services for the interdisciplinary humanities and social sciences. See our full list of fields here.

We do not edit manuscripts in STEM fields, business, or marketing. 

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

Which developmental editor will work on my manuscript?

We match your manuscript with the Ideas on Fire developmental editors whose editorial specializations, experience, availability, and expertise best align with your project.

You can read more about our developmental editors on our about us page.

Every manuscript (and every edit!) receives a thorough review by two members of our senior editorial team before it is returned.

What happens if I need to reschedule my developmental editing service?

No problem.

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.

How does payment work? Are you already a registered vendor with my university?

We are a registered vendor with hundreds of colleges and universities, so the process is streamlined for payment. If we are not already on your institution’s vendor list, we will register to enable direct payment.

We will send you an invoice with the edited manuscript; payment is due 30 days later.

We accept payment by credit/debit card and bank transfer only. We do not accept paper checks.

Will you ghostwrite my manuscript?

NO.

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.

Developmental editing should never include ghostwriting or producing original content for an author.

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

Do you have any additional resources on scholarly publishing?

Tons! Check out our resource library on scholarly publishing.

Take the stress out of publishing

Make your book or journal article stand out with the help of our developmental editing services
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