Can you recommend decent, cheap editing help?
February 12, 2019 6:33 PM   Subscribe

Someone has come to me for editing help, and I want to steer her to someone else. Suggestions?

I write for a living. I interviewed "Anne" about a year ago for a nonprofit fundraising piece I was writing. She was a client of the organization, and I wrote about her story. She has just emailed me because she has written something personal and she wants some editing help. For a variety of reasons I don't want to take this on, but I'd like to help her find some decent, inexpensive editing assistance. Her written English isn't great, and I suspect she doesn't have much money. Can you suggest places I might steer her?
posted by swheatie to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You might try emailing the chair of the English (or, if she's a non-native English speaker, ESL) department at a local college or university to see if any of their instructors would be interested.
posted by wintersweet at 11:08 PM on February 12, 2019

I'm a freelance editor, and we tend to want to dissuade people from imagining that there's such a thing as "decent, cheap editing help" since we're all trying to make a living here! That said, "Anne" can place a free ad at the Editorial Freelancers Association website and see what happens.
posted by wisekaren at 5:59 AM on February 13, 2019 [4 favorites]

in response to Wisekaren, I too have done a lot of editing, and I know what you mean. But this person is writing a piece about her experiences with domestic violence, hoping to uplift and inspire others. Thus, it's the kind of project where someone might agree to do it cheaply or pro bono. I feel like I should do it myself, but I can no longer stand to edit anything.
posted by swheatie at 6:47 AM on February 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

I bet she can find someone on EFA—there are many there who do editing only part-time and/or do not need to make a living at it and would be eager to help her get her story out.
posted by wisekaren at 6:48 AM on February 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Concur that a local university or college might be a great place to start. Grad students who work in the writing center might be willing to do a round of editing, particularly because of the nature of the piece. Also, I'm not quite sure if the writer is looking for content editing compared to more grammar/style editing?

I'd also suggest that depending on where she's thinking about having the piece published she might want to get in touch with their editorial staff to see whether they'd be interested in helping with even a fairly rough draft. I think folks often waaaaay overestimate the quality of a lot of professionally submitted writing and just how much editing can go into a piece before publication.

If there are mostly concerns about things like grammar/punctuation I've found that the free Grammarly download for Word is great, particularly for ESL students.
posted by forkisbetter at 12:00 PM on February 13, 2019

I was able to find someone thorough EFA who did it pro bono. Thanks for the suggestion, wisekaren.
posted by swheatie at 4:57 PM on February 16, 2019

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