How I edit

In my approach, owing to the high extent of responsibility I take for a document (as if I were the co-author), the lines between copyediting (the reading and amending of text for grammar, logic, style, consistency and appropriate expression) and manuscript editing (which involves a deep engagement with the content and includes rewriting) blur.

Owing to problems of sentence structure, among others, very few of the documents I look at are simply a matter of proofreading.

My editing method, as you will know if I have done work for you, is condensing without over-condensing, on the assumption that author sentences can generally be shortened by, say, 10% to sometimes 25%.

Most authors who are not first-language English-speakers for instance use the long possessive (e.g. ‘the pen of my aunt’ instead of ‘my aunt’s pen’) as well as indirect and passive.

Depending on the density of the subject matter and the state of the English, I can generally edit between 2 and 5 pages per hour (Times New Roman 12, double spacing).

The cleaner the work is to begin with, the cleaner it will emerge.

I am sometimes asked to cap my time; for instance, I may provide a cost estimate for, say, 8 to 10 hours, upon the client’s request I may then agree to cap it at 8 hours.

I provide formal cost estimates on final drafts, not on work in progress.

Client confidentiality is assured. I do the work; no one else sees it or has access to it.

There is only one ‘live’ document. You e-mail this to me, I edit it – generally in Word in Track Changes (I do not edit documents in PDF or Latex) – and you accept/reject my changes and address my comments, and so on.

As a rule, I have work in progress and work scheduled. Kindly plan so as to allow me both sufficient time.

I ask that you take full responsibility for your work – especially the formatting, in-text referencing, references section and the journal’s style guide – before e-mailing me.

I work on the content (grammar, style, sense and meaning), rather than the format.

I have much respect for clients who are not first-language English speakers, yet write it courageously and without resorting to (search engine) translation.

Some clients apologise about their English when they e-mail me work. I do not shout at anyone about poor language use – this is non-professional and counter-productive behaviour on the part of any editor.

I do not edit Reference sections, although I tend to spend five minutes or so pointing out errors and inconsistencies in it.

Kindly specify whether the language requirement is UK or U.S. English.

Document types and academic fields

Besides papers, theses and case studies, book chapters, books, white papers, proposals and theses, I also edit PowerPoint presentations and lectures, CVs, MBA applications, job applications, research proposals, summer and winter school courses, funding applications, research posters, faculty program overviews, institute brochures, course outlines, teaching notes, activity reports, exams, accreditation eligibility applications, speeches, cover/recommendation/referee letters, and nominations for best paper awards.

The fields I work in include, broadly, organisation studies and management, behavioural economics, business models, digitalisation, entrepreneurship, cognition, structured finance, geography, accounting and auditing, fashion, cryptocurrencies, branding and marketing, human resources, voting, trust, cloud, news, benchmarking, best practices, innovation, urban studies, architecture, information sciences/systems/technology, earth sciences, conservation, family firms, aging, statistics, education, art, anthropology, philosophy, policy, social media, education and the humanities/social sciences.


Kindly indicate who will pay for the editing (e.g. you or your institution) and send me the person in question’s name, e-mail and physical address.

My rate as at January 2020 is 34 euro per hour.

I invoice upon completing of a document, not at month-end. Unless otherwise agreed, payment is within three days of invoicing.

If your department or university is responsible for payment, kindly submit my invoice to them on the day I send it to you.

Bank charges are to be included in client payment.

I will generate a unique payment reference code for your work.

According to South Africa’s tax laws, no VAT is payable on academic editing. I pay income tax in South Africa.