This course is currently closed for enrollment.

To receive updates about future sessions, please subscribe to the Manuscript Works Newsletter.

Providing editing services to academic writers can be a great source of income and even a full-time career, but there's little guidance out there about how to get started.

Scholars who edit journals, anthologies, and book series want to help authors improve their submissions, but have never learned effective techniques for offering this kind of support.

Many scholars offer writing feedback to colleagues and students, but receive no formal training on how to do that well.

This course fills all of these training gaps to help you edit more effectively and feel more confident in your work with scholarly authors and texts.

This self-study course will teach you the practice of developmental editing for academic texts, explain how to work with academic authors as a supportive professional editor, and outline the nuts and bolts of setting up a successful academic editing business.

Who is this course for?

This course is for anyone who wants to learn how to improve academic texts and support the authors who write them.

The curriculum is explicitly addressed to:

People who want to launch a freelance developmental editing business serving academic authors

People who are already freelancing and want to sharpen their developmental editing skills or learn more about the needs of academic authors

In-house acquisitions editors, series editors, and journal editors at scholarly publishers seeking to hone their developmental editing skills

Full-time academics who work with writers, whether they be advisees, mentees, colleagues, or friends

The course also welcomes academic writers who want more insight into their own texts and a framework for self-editing.

This course is not designed for fiction editors or those who are looking for training in line editing, copyediting, or proofreading. The focus is developmental editing of scholarly texts.

This course is currently closed for enrollment.

To receive updates about future sessions, please subscribe to the Manuscript Works Newsletter.

What's in this course?

When you enroll, you will get lifetime access to the course and all included materials.

The current version of the course is a self-study option, meaning that there will be minimal participant and instructor interaction and you can complete the six modules entirely at your own pace.

The core curriculum is a series of lectures in video, audio, and written formats.

The modules are as follows:

Module 1: The Why, When, and What of Developmental Editing for Academics

Module 2: Approaching the Text

Module 3: Assessing the Text

Module 4: Editorial Letters and In-text Edits

Module 5: Working with Authors

Module 6: Running an Editorial Business

Practical assignments will be provided for each module, but you will not be submitting them or receiving feedback -- they're purely for your own independent practice if you choose to complete them.

To supplement the curriculum, you will also get access to a library of sample documents, including real editorial letters and edited texts.

Two live discussions will be held for course participants on July 12th and September 27th at 10am Pacific. These discussions will be held on Zoom and are completely optional to attend. They are intended to give you an opportunity to meet your instructor and fellow participants and to ask any questions you may have about developmental editing, supporting academic authors, or running an editorial business. The discussions will be recorded and posted in the course for anyone who isn't able to attend live.

Your Guide

Hi, I'm Laura Portwood-Stacer, developmental editor and publishing consultant for academic authors. I've run my own business, Manuscript Works, since 2015, and have served thousands of scholarly authors through my 1-1 editing services, workshops, and group programs.

This course on academic developmental editing originated in 2019 as an offering through the Editorial Freelancers Association; I have offered it independently since 2021. The curriculum has already helped over 100 emerging and established editors build their skills and launch their freelance editing practices.

I've completely updated the course for 2023 to make it more inclusive for not just aspiring freelance editors but also in-house editors, academics who want to give more effective feedback to colleagues and mentees, and scholarly writers who want to up their self-editing game.

What past participants have said

"The whole course was excellent. I was finally able to articulate what services I wanted to offer in addition to coaching in a way that makes sense. Developmental editing is part of my business that I'd like to grow and now I have a much clearer way to pitch myself. The notes from the course will be extremely helpful to me for a long time."

--Career coach for academics, Canada

“I learned so much not only about academic developmental editing (which I had already been doing, but not with confidence) but also about marketing and pricing my services appropriately. I was able to apply this course to my next job just a few weeks later, and *I* was just as impressed as the author.”

--Academic editor and proofreader, United States

"I took Laura's course during my first year working full-time as a DE and found it to be extremely helpful. I appreciated Laura’s smart, accessible overviews of various topics, and I found the material on practical aspects of running an editing business to be invaluable. The course left me feeling empowered to figure out models for writing manuscript assessments and for pricing my services that truly worked for me."

--Developmental editor and book proposal consultant, United States

"This course is perfect for academic copyeditors and former academics seeking to offer developmental editing as a new service. I took the course alongside completing my first developmental editing jobs. I'm so glad I did – I now have several satisfied customers and the first book project I completed sailed through peer review!

The course materials offered me a map through this new terrain. I particularly liked:

1) the focus on accessibility – having the option to listen to the materials really helped the concepts sink in.

2) the sample editorial letters – these helped me 'level up' and shift from a more distanced writing style to one that engages more directly with the client.

3) Laura's open approach, including discussing thorny issues such as rates and what emotions come up when you send your editorial letters to clients."

--Social science editor, Europe

"As someone finishing up a PhD, the DE for academics course gave me the resources and confidence to launch a career in academic editing.

The course expertly breaks down each aspect of academic developmental editing, providing supplemental readings and samples that guide you through each stage of the process. Laura has a particular talent for explaining the most important things in a lucid and concise manner so that you feel you have a grasp on the often mysterious world of academic publishing.

As far as I am aware, it is the only course of its nature out there, so it is truly a rare insight into the field, especially into the workings of an expert like Laura. If you take advantage of all it has to offer, you’ll obtain the necessary tools and knowledge to confidently approach your first developmental editing job and learn a thing or two about academic presses and the business of freelancing along the way. I wholeheartedly recommend the course to all of those interested in learning more about DE or debating adding developmental editing to their services."

--Humanities scholar, United States

"Laura's Developmental Editing Course for Academics was outstanding and I give it 5 stars! As a former tenured professor, I have plenty of experience editing academic manuscripts. Nevertheless, I found the course to be an invaluable experience that offers helpful strategies for approaching both the text and author. The course really broadened my knowledge of developmental editing and honed my content editing skills. The pre-recorded lectures and assignments were really well-organized through comprehensive modules, which were very easy to navigate. I found Laura to be a delightfully engaging and responsive instructor; I highly recommend this course to those who are considering launching a freelance editing career and also academic writers who are hoping to enhance their self-editing skills."
--Freelance developmental editor and former professor, United States

This course is currently closed for enrollment.

To receive updates about future sessions, please subscribe to the Manuscript Works Newsletter.