Ten questions may seem like a lot. But you've worked hard on your manuscript, and if it's a complete dissertation or thesis, novel or memoir, you're probably going to spend in excess of $1,000 to have it edited. You need to know that it's going to be money well spent, and that you're entrusting your precious work to someone who has the ability to give it the quality treatment it deserves. The following ten questions will help ensure you're in the right hands—so don't be shy about asking them!
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How do you choose the right editor? If you are preparing to navigate the world of online editors, perhaps it would help to see them as fitting into one of three main categories: aggregators, independents, and teams. In brief, aggregators are companies that aggregate a number of freelance editors in one website, but with little supervision or coordination of efforts; independents are freelance editors who operate completely on their own; and teams are companies that utilize the services of multiple editors, but with supervision, review of their work, and coordination of their efforts. For some of the key pros and cons of working with each of these groups, read on.
If you’re writing nonfiction, and especially if you’re writing an academic book of some sort, an index is usually a must. Beyond the sheer dollars and cents value of helping book buyers to see that your book has what they need, you wrote the book because you thought it would be useful to people. And when it comes to your book’s usefulness, a good index can make all the difference in whether or not a reader is able to find the information s/he really needs. A really good index analyzes words and concepts, and it shows the connections between them, all while distinguishing substantive discussions of those concepts from merely passing mentions. In short, indexing is a work that requires analysis, judgment, and creativity—which is why it can’t be done by a computer.
While, as a rule, it is always considered unethical for professional editors to directly carry out research on behalf of the student or to make direct changes to the content or structure of a thesis, dissertation, or any paper being submitted for a grade, there are at least three key areas where professional editing may make important contributions to the thesis or dissertation writing process and remain entirely within the bounds of academic integrity. The end result will be your own research and ideas presented in the clearest and most effective way possible--and that's a recipe for academic success!
After years as a professional editor, following upon nearly two decades as a college professor, I’m astounded by the number of papers I’ve read that have involved plagiarism—even at the doctoral level, where the stakes are extremely high. I like to think that most of it is unintentional. That, in itself, is rather unnerving, however, since it means that you can fall into this trap, too! If your intention is to pass off someone’s work as your own, there’s no advice I can give other than, “Proceed at your own risk, and be prepared for the consequences; any professor who cares to catch you probably will.” If your intention is to avoid plagiarism of the unintentional variety, however, here are a few tips that might help.
If you’ve been working in APA-5 and now must switch to using APA-6, certainly one of the most obvious changes will be the formatting of headers. Both editions of the APA Manual of Style provide for up to five levels of headings and subheadings, and both direct that numbers and letters should not be used. But the details of each of those levels have changed. The academic editors and coaches at Edits Made Easy can help you to navigate these changes with each and guarantee that your thesis or dissertation is in full compliance with the latest version of APA style.
If you're used to working in APA-5 and now must switch to APA-6, one of the notable differences is the number of spaces that follow final punctuation (periods, question marks, exclamation points) in sentences. Reverting to an earlier practice, and setting itself apart from Chicago, Turabian, MLA, and many other style sheets, the newest version of the APA Publication Manual specifies the use of two character spaces between sentences in draft documents. If you're having trouble with the formatting of your thesis or dissertation, the team of editors and coaches at Edits Made Easy can help ensure that your work is in full compliance with current APA standards.
At Edits Made Easy, one of the problems that our academic editors encounter rather frequently in all genres of writing is confusion over the use of hyphens vis-à-vis dashes. I’d venture a guess that most writers aren’t even aware that there is a distinction between these two kinds of punctuation marks, so it’s a mistake we find ourselves correcting quite often. And if that distinction doesn’t cause enough confusion by itself, there’s also a further distinction that has to be made—between two kinds of dashes: the em-dash and the en-dash. (Minus signs, negative signs, figure dashes, 2-em dashes, and 3-em dashes all complicate the matter further, but they are of lesser importance and will be mentioned only briefly in this post). Since the uses of the hyphen, the en-dash, and the em-dash are clearly distinguishable, my hope is to clear up some of the confusion here.
As a professor of composition and rhetoric, I’ve read countless college essays. I’ve read students’ thoughts about everything from justice in Plato’s Republic to salsa dancing at the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. What I’ve discovered in these essays is that while students often struggle with choosing a topic and sticking to it, their biggest difficulty in writing is finding their voice. By “voice” I mean the expression of their thoughts in a mode that fits both the assignment and its intended audience. Conquering this much-dreaded hurdle, however, requires only three simple things: thought, a clear grasp of the assignment, and an awareness of the reader.
APA-6 is the result of a thorough re-working of the widely used style manual. The entire structure of the book has been reorganized with the intention of more closely following the process writers actually follow in their writing. Since APA-5, online research has grown by leaps and bounds, and changes in both computer technology and the publication process have had profound effects on academic writing. With modifications of the guidelines in earlier versions, and with the addition of entirely new sections, APA-6 addresses these changes. If you've been working in APA-5 and must now switch to APA-6, this article will help you to quickly identify the things that are new. And as always, the team of academic editors and coaches at Edits Made Easy are available to help ensure that your thesis or dissertation is in full compliance with the latest APA standards.