Developmental Editing for Cultural Anthropologists
My main service here is a detailed manuscript evaluation. This gives you detailed feedback on what works in your manuscript and what doesn't. You'll receive a report full of tips and actionable feedback to improve your manuscript, and there'll be plenty of opportunities to discuss your project and the feedback with me too.
Manuscript evaluations are for:
scholars in cultural anthropology and adjacent disciplines (narrative social sciences and humanities) who feel they are stuck with a manuscript
scholars excited by the fact that I also work on fiction and am able to give feedback on your manuscript as a piece of creative non-fiction too
scholars who want editorial feedback on their work's structure and ideas before they send the manuscript off for peer review
scholars who want their manuscript to appeal to wider audiences outside of their discipline
scholars who want to learn and grow from editorial feedback and input
My aim is to leave you feeling well-supported, aware of what you do well and what could be improved, and with a clear plan of what to do next.
Before you read on, check that your project fits these criteria:
you need feedback on a journal article, book, book proposal, or popular magazine submission
your work will not be assessed at postgraduate/PhD level
Please note: I do not work on research proposals, job applications or assessed work
If everything's okay so far, here are more details about what I deliver:
The main thing you will receive is an editorial letter with a report on:
Problems with your manuscript
Things you do well
Ideas and content
Structure, cohesion, and organisation
Timeline and pacing
Culture and representation
The report will also include a possible revision plan, links to relevant resources, and next steps.
I specialise in cultural anthropology and am a great fit for academic projects close to creative non-fiction.
My editorial approach
I focus on collaboration and building supportive relationships with authors. Some coaches and editors will tell you how to make your book fit in the Anglo-American publishing market. If this is your goal, I can advise you on that. But many authors want a more careful, sensitive approach that pays attention to other ways of writing and publishing. With this in mind, I'll ask you a few questions about your goals, and will then give you options rather than tell you that you must write in a certain way to be successful. Take a look at my blog for more info on this socially sensitive approach.
Leandra Bias, Political Scientist, University of Bern
What services do I offer?
I offer two services for academics: 1) a detailed manuscript evaluation (for books), and 2) developmental editing (for chapters, journal articles, and book proposals)
1) Detailed manuscript evaluation
two close read throughs of your manuscript
a detailed report of twelve to fifteen pages on the issues listed above
some comments on your manuscript (not exhaustive!)
an hour of online coaching or support via Zoom.
Cost: $20 per 1000 words (minimum 50,000 words)
2) Developmental editing
Detailed feedback on a writing sample, chapter, or book proposal
You can choose one of these two options:
Developmental feedback: This includes a short report highlighting the main issues, then a second round of editing where I mark the text with detailed MS Word comments offering actionable feedback, and a short Zoom call or email discussion of the feedback. For this service I do not edit the text at sentence level.
Line editing: This is a heavy edit of the text at sentence level with extensive educational feedback and comments. I do two passes: a main edit and a final read through. I’m also trained in fiction editing, so the line-editing option can apply to ethnography/academic writing that would fall under creative non-fiction too. This also includes a short Zoom call or email discussion.
Cost: $45 per 1000 words. Minimum length is 1,000 words
Need some more info?
Why pick me?
I am highly trained in cultural anthropology and worked in this field for over ten years. This means I've been through the book proposal and writing process several times. For more information about my background check out:
my ResearchGate and Google Scholar pages
this Winter School for anthropologists at Freie Universität Berlin
my post on the difference between peer review and academic developmental editing
Check out my testimonials above, too, for comments from authors I have worked with.
Academic training teaches you to think and write in a way well-suited to exploring ideas and concepts, but it's a writing style at odds with what's required when publishing for a popular audience or writing a book proposal (which is effectively you pitching a product and asking a publisher to invest in it).
Feedback from a publishing professional with a background in academic writing and publishing can help you get this format right.
More generally, critical, helpful feedback on a project from somebody outside of academia's system of gatekeeping can help take your writing up a level.
The postdoctoral phase can be a tricky one to navigate too. I've worked with scholars who have wanted to shift disciplines, or who haven't received enough support or help from supervisors in the past.
Academic feedback within disciplines is often focused on the details and it can be helpful to get an overviw of big-picture issues in your writing too.
What if I don't like your vibe?
I usually begin with a short, free online consultation (a discovery call). If you don't think I'm the right fit for your project, I will offer you a full refund after the call, no questions asked.
If I start work and either of us feels like the collaboration won't be a productive one, I will only charge for the number of hours I have worked on your project so far.
If you're a cautious buyer – I can totally relate to that! In this case, I recommend starting with a developmental edit of a book proposal or chapter.
How long will it take?
You should expect me to take one or two months to return a book manuscript. This all depends on my schedule and how long your book is. I'll give you a firm deadline before starting work. For any shorter projects, just get in touch to discuss.
If you have any more questions, feel free to ask! Otherwise, you can book a chat with me to discuss your project here: