Academic editing for authors

Helping interdisciplinary scholars change the world
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Ideas on Fire provides interdisciplinary scholars like you the academic editing needed to sucessfully navigate the writing and publishing process.

Like you, we know how challenging it can be to produce innovative work that improves the lives of those in your community while also meeting the professional expectations of the contemporary university.

But those intersections—between activist and academic, between culture and the classroom—they’re our jam.

Read on to find out how we can help you write and publish powerful interdisciplinary scholarship that can spark new worlds.

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 editing services

Click below to learn which type of editing is right for you

Developmental editing

WHAT IT IS: Big-picture editing of your content, including argument, methodology, analysis, organization and structure, engagement with sources, and narrative arc

INCLUDES:

  • One round of in-text manuscript edits using Track Changes in Microsoft Word, including identifying exactly where and how you can strengthen the text
  • One editorial report addressing the manuscript’s key audiences and interventions, strengths, areas for improvement, revision recommendations, and ways to address the peer review reports (if you provide them)
  • Included for dissertation-to-book projects: Our advice on how and where you can revise the manuscript to transition away from the dissertation framework/voice and instead craft a book manuscript that fits what publishers are looking for

MANUSCRIPT STAGE: When you’re working on the manuscript content and figuring out what you’re trying to say in the piece

  • We can edit your manuscript before you submit the manuscript to a publisher or journal
  • Or after you’ve received peer review reports and want help implementing them

TURN-AROUND TIME: Determined by manuscript length

  • Books begin at 30 business days
  • Journal articles, book proposals, and book chapters begin at 15 business days

COST: USD $0.10 per word

OPTIONAL ADD-ON (books only): Publisher research report (USD $395 flat fee) identifying 5 US academic presses that we recommend you pitch your book to. Includes for each press:

  • Relevant acquisition lists/fields
  • Book proposal submission requirements
  • Book proposal review process
  • Series your book would be a good fit for
  • Acquisition editor contact information

Get a developmental editing quote

Copyediting

WHAT IT IS: Detailed editing of your writing and language, including sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, consistency, spelling, document formatting, and citation formatting

INCLUDES:

  • One round of in-text manuscript edits using Track Changes in Microsoft Word, including identifying exactly where and how you can strengthen the text
  • One style sheet to ensure consistency across the manuscript—you can keep the style sheet for your records or forward it along to your publisher as needed

MANUSCRIPT STAGE: After you’ve finished the content

  • We can edit your manuscript before you’ve secured a book contract or article acceptance—when you’re creating a full draft to submit
  • Or after you’ve secured a book contract or article acceptance—when you’re polishing the final manuscript for production

TURN-AROUND TIME: Determined by manuscript length

  • Books begin at 30 business days
  • Journal articles, book proposals, and book chapters begin at 15 business days

COST: USD $0.09 per word

OPTIONAL ADD-ON (books only): Publisher research report (USD $395 flat fee) identifying 5 US academic presses that we recommend you pitch your book to. Includes for each press:

  • Relevant acquisition lists/fields
  • Book proposal submission requirements
  • Book proposal review process
  • Series your book would be a good fit for
  • Acquisition editor contact information

Get a copyediting quote

Manuscript review

WHAT IT IS: A holistic evaluation of your full book manuscript, focusing on revision recommendations to make the manuscript fit with what current academic publishers are looking for and how you can best reach your desired audiences

INCLUDES: One manuscript review report outlining:

  • The manuscript’s key interventions, argument, and unique qualities
  • The manuscript’s primary audiences and how to revise the text to reach them
  • Our revision recommendations for the book’s narrative arc, overarching argument, methodology, chapter structure/organization, and scholarly engagement
  • Our revision recommendations for each chapter’s sub-argument, section structure/organization, and case studies
  • Included for dissertation-to-book projects: Our advice on how and where you can revise the manuscript to transition away from the dissertation framework and voice and instead craft a book manuscript that fits what publishers are looking for

DOES NOT INCLUDE: In-text edits on the manuscript

MANUSCRIPT STAGE: Before you submit your book proposal to publishers

TURN-AROUND TIME: Determined by manuscript length, begins at 30 business days

COST: USD $2495.00 flat fee

OPTIONAL ADD-ON: Publisher research report (USD $395 flat fee) identifying 5 US academic presses that we recommend you pitch your book to. Includes for each press:

  • Relevant acquisition lists/fields
  • Book proposal submission requirements
  • Book proposal review process
  • Series your book would be a good fit for
  • Acquisition editor contact information

Get a manuscript review quote

Proofreading (books only)

Our proofreading services is only available for publisher-issued, typeset, book page proofs. If you have Microsoft Word files, you need copyediting, not proofreading.

WHAT IT IS: Detailed editing of your book’s page proofs for typos, subject/verb/number agreement, punctuation, document formatting errors, and citation formatting errors

INCLUDES:

  • One round of in-text edits on the page proofs using PDF markup tools in Adobe Acrobat
  • One style sheet to ensure consistency across the proofs (if your publisher provides their own style sheet, we can also add to that one if they prefer)

DOES NOT INCLUDE:

  • Copyediting or large-scale edits that would alter the pagination, as publishers do not allow these at the proofreading stage

MANUSCRIPT STAGE: Last stage of the publishing process, after you receive typeset page proofs from your publisher

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

COST: USD $7.00 per page

Get a proofreading quote

How academic 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.

7

EDIT

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

7

REVIEW

The edited manuscript and accompanying reports 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 accompanying reports 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 academic editing projects

Cover of The Latinx Guide to Graduate School, with people wearing graduation hats and one person holding a diploma up triumphantly
Cover of Queens of Afrobeat, with repeated image of a smiling Black femme person in a blue flowered dress
Cover of Invited to Witness: Solidarity Tourism Across Occupied Palestine, with two people arranging photo wall against a military wall while birds fly overhead
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

Working with IoF has cut the time I will have to spend preparing my book for production in half. This frees me up to be able to focus on polishing the manuscript itself as I work toward my final submission. I recommend Ideas on Fire to everyone, especially junior colleagues with manuscripts to prepare for submission before tenure.”

Jennifer Lynn Kelly

author, Invited to Witness: Solidarity Tourism Across Occupied Palestine

“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 academic editing 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.

Can you help me turn my dissertation into a book?

Absolutely! Many of our academic editing 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 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.

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.

Get a manuscript review quote

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 for the interdisciplinary humanities and social sciences, particularly the following fields (click on a field below to see our recent projects in that field):

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

For more examples 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 formatting styles used across the interdisciplines, humanities, and social sciences, including those set by the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), American Sociological Association (ASA), Harvard, Associated Press (AP), and others.

Additionally, we can format your citations and manuscript to fit the style required by a particular scholarly journal or publisher.

Which editor will work on my manuscript?

After confirming the editing schedule with you and signing the contract, we match your manuscript with the Ideas on Fire editor(s) whose editorial specializations, experience, availability, and expertise best align with your project.

You can read more about our 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 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 and project manager’s calendars. 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 your project manager 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 and bank transfer only. We do not accept paper checks. 

If you are using university funds, please confirm with your university before the project begins that they will pay via credit/debit card or bank transfer (most will).

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 so there is no need for you to wait for reimbursement.

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.

Academic editing should never include ghostwriting or creating 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.

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