Where did you learn how to give feedback?
Happy Almost December, Manuscript Workers,
Several weeks ago I shared a personal post about deciding what to prioritize in my life and in my business. I really appreciated hearing from so many of you in response to that post, and I was able to do some good thinking in the intervening time. Since then I made a couple significant decisions which I want to share today.
The first decision was to streamline my process for booking institutional workshops. To that end, I’ve joined PUP Speaks, the speaking agency within Princeton University Press. From here on out, Katie Stileman at PUP will be handling my workshop bookings, which I hope will be a win-win-win for me, the press, and the institutions that want to bring me in for workshops. (If your institution would like to do this, have a look at my workshop FAQ. Katie’s contact information is on that page too.)
The second decision happened when I had a stroke of inspiration regarding my course on developmental editing. I initially designed the course in response to a request from the Editorial Freelancers Association back in 2019, and I offered it through the EFA twice, working with over 60 freelance editors in that time. I agreed to create the course because of the lack of training options for developmental editors who wanted to work specifically with academic texts and authors.
In 2021 I started offering the course through my own website as a self-paced program and something interesting happened. I still had participants who were aspiring freelancers and academics who were contemplating a career shift to professional editing, but also more and more people wanted to take it who weren’t freelance editors!
I had people enroll who worked in-house at scholarly publishers and journals. I had people enroll who wanted to learn how to give better feedback to their graduate students and colleagues. I even had academic authors enroll to learn developmental editing techniques to apply to their own manuscripts in progress.
While I was very happy to have these unexpected participants join the course, I’ll confess it made me a little nervous. Would they actually find it valuable? Would they be disappointed that it was too geared toward freelance editing? Would the lessons be applicable to those other situations?
These questions sort of gnawed at me for a while until that stroke of inspiration hit. A few weeks ago, I finally figured out how to reframe the course so that I could be sure it would provide value not just to freelancers but also to all those different types of participants.
That reframing is what I’ve been working on these days. I’m completely overhauling the previous curriculum which also means building a new course in my course platform. It’s a substantial amount of work because I need to write all new lectures and record all new videos, but it will be ready to go in early 2023, and I’m delighted to share the details with you now.
If you’re interested in learning more about the new course, keep reading! If you’re not, I’ll see you next week (but maybe you’d like to forward this newsletter to a friend who could benefit from the course?).
Knowing how to provide constructive, practical feedback on scholarly writing is a core competency for both professional editors and academic faculty. And yet there are few opportunities to learn how to do it well. Even those who work full time as editors (whether freelance or in-house) may find themselves isolated from others in the same profession and eager for feedback and mentoring on their editorial skills. This online course aims to fill those gaps.
This 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.
The course includes video and audio lectures, lecture transcripts, a library of sample documents, live office hours, and practical assignments with instructor feedback.
Who is the 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 or series editors at scholarly publishers seeking to hone their developmental editing skills
Full-time academics who work with writers, whether they be students, 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.
What’s in the course?
The core curriculum is a series of lectures in video, audio, and written formats. Each lecture module includes a practical assignment that participants can submit for instructor feedback.
Participants will join as a live cohort starting February 1 and will have the opportunity to interact in the online forum and during three live Zoom "office hours" sessions.
To supplement the curriculum, you will get access to a library of sample documents, including real editorial letters and edited texts.
The modules will be released on the following schedule:
February 1: Module 1: The Why, When, and What of Developmental Editing for Academics
February 8: Module 2: Approaching the Text
February 15: Module 3: Assessing the Text
February 22: Module 4: Editorial Letters and In-text Edits
March 1: Catch-up week
March 8: Module 5: Working with Authors
March 15: Module 6: Running an Editorial Business
March 22: Catch-up week
All assignments and live sessions are completely optional. You may participate actively with the group or work entirely on your own.
What is the expected time commitment for this course?
There will be three optional Zoom meetings throughout the course each lasting one hour. You can come and go as your schedule permits. These will be held from 10–11am PST on:
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Wednesday, March 1, 2023
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Each week during the course you will get access to a set of lectures and an optional assignment to complete. It may take you an hour or less to watch, listen to, or read the lectures each week.
The assignments will vary in intensity. Some of them will give you opportunities to practice the skills explained in the lectures on real academic texts. So the amount of work involved will depend on the manuscript you're working with and how much time you choose to spend.
You will be responsible for obtaining a manuscript to practice on for the assignments. It can be a journal article, book manuscript, or any other type of document you would like to practice developmental editing on. You may want to ask a friend, colleague, or client for a manuscript in progress or use one of your own. You can also choose any published text to practice on (most could benefit from further developmental editing). The manuscript may be from any scholarly field.
You might spend just an hour or two per assignment or you might decide to devote several hours to the more involved assignments. There will be two catch-up weeks built into the course to give you extra time to complete the longer assignments if you choose to.
All assignments are optional and you are welcome to turn in partially completed work or not to submit your assignments for feedback at all.
There are no specific due dates for the assignments, so you can complete them at your own pace, however, the last day to submit work for instructor feedback will be Wednesday, March 29, 2023. You may opt to extend your assignment feedback period until August 31, 2023 (the extended feedback option carries a higher enrollment fee).
You will have lifetime access to the course materials, so you can complete any modules and assignments on your own, even after the live course and feedback period end.
Participants may also opt to form small groups for post-course peer feedback and professional networking.
When does enrollment open and how much will it cost?
Enrollment for the course will open at 10am Pacific on Monday, January 2, 2023. You can bookmark the registration page here.
The cost for regular enrollment in the 8-week course will be $886.
You will have the option to choose enrollment with an extended feedback period. This option will allow you to submit work for instructor feedback until August 31, 2023. The fee for this option will be an additional $300.
If you have previously enrolled in my self-paced developmental editing course, please email me directly before January 2nd to receive a personalized code to discount your previous enrollment fee when you sign up in January.
Past students in my live course through the EFA are welcome to enroll in this new version of the course but are not eligible for a discount.
What questions did I miss?
Is there anything else you’d like to know about this course? You can reply directly to this email to ask!