Which to use: a small or a large editorial service?

There has been a constant push from some larger academic editing services to market themselves as the best to universities and research institutes. Let’s compare a small one or two person editing operation to a larger one which contracts out your work at piecework rates in the gig economy.

So what do you get when you approach a small editing business??

A more direct and personal relationship

Direct attention and communication

The opportunity for a relationship to develop over time

Your writing will not be edited by someone you have no connection with

You know who edits your work.

A closer connection with your particular needs

More familiarity with your subject when you work together repeatedly

Closer attention to your specific needs through the personal touch

For a larger work like a thesis or book, you know the same person is with you all the way.

Financial considerations

Your research will not be checked by someone who is paid about half of what you pay for the service.


In a one or two person editing service, your editor may not be available for urgent document editing.

I can’t think of any other disadvantages, can you?

In conversations with other editors, I’ve noticed their generosity of spirit, their diversity, their positivity, their practicality and their passion. I value these personal relationships. I value the personal touch. This is what you access when you approach a small editing business of one or two people.

If anyone would like to pass on these ideas to your head of department or chief financial officer, please go right ahead.