Editing, Consultation, & Coaching


Business ethics is a tricky thing, and the creative industries provide unique challenges. For example, how do you avoid a hostile climate while working on a song or a performance designed to be sexy? How can you maintain expectations about professional ethics in a context where many workers are amateurs and/or para-professionals? How can artists, labels, and other industry professionals navigate the ethical conundrums posed by streaming and other new technologies? I can help! (Believe it or not, I have a background in business ethics and used to teach such classes regularly at several institutions across the Chicago area. I have a culture-based approach to professional ethics that focuses on establishing a culture of not “punching down”–that is, of trying to minimize the possibilities for exploitation inherent in business.)

I offer a range of solutions that can be specifically tailored to your company, union, or other organization. I can do half-day or full-day workshops, needs assessments, or ongoing consultancy retainers. Get in touch and we can figure out what’s best for you.


I’m a music scholar whose actual Ph.D. is in philosophy. Music faculty, this makes me the perfect person for you and/or your students to come to with the philosophy questions that come up in your research. For departments, I’m happy to come spend a day meeting individually with your grad students about their use of philosophy or philosophers in their research, and/or to have half- or full-day crash courses in music and philosophy/here’s the philosophy you need to know as a music scholar/here’s the history of the philosophy of music/etc. The crash course can be designed for grad students or undergrads. For these services I charge travel plus a negotiable honorarium. I’m also available for this sort of consultation on an individual basis via videoconference or email.


I have over 15 years of experience as a writer and an academic. I’ve advised projects of all sorts (from dissertations to MFA shows), and been on all sides of the academic job search and promotion and tenure process. Let me put my experience and expertise to work for you.

My base rate is $100/hour, but I am happy to negotiate student and underemployed rates on a case-by-case basis. If you just need an initial email consultation, that’s free. If you’d like an initial virtual consultation (Google Hangout, Skype, etc.), I’ll pro-rate my base fee for 15 or 30 minute sessions.

Contact me at my personal gmail account, which has robinmjames7 before the at.

Editing Services

  • Developmental Editing: Developmental editing focuses on big-picture issues like framing, organization, voice, and outcome. If you need help figuring out the scope of your project, narrowing down a topic, articulating the structure of your argument–or WTF you’re arguing in the first place–you need a developmental editor. I specialize in helping people take a bunch of information and figure out what they’re trying to say about that information. I really love helping people clarify their ideas and projects, and my training in philosophy and as a philosophy teacher gives me just the tools I need to be an amazing developmental editor. Developmental editing includes reading and commenting on what you have and one or more 30 or 60 minute Google Hangout/Skype/phone/face-to-face workshopping sessions. We’ll negotiate a rate based on the size of the project; I can bill either by hour or on the whole project as a package.
  • Review Your Work: Need another set of eyes on your article, chapter, proposal, or other document? This is where I go in and leave lots of line comments and write an overall feedback report at the end. It’s like having a peer reviewer who’s on your side and really wants to make your work as strong as it can be. I can bill by hour or by project.
  • Virtual Studio Visit: So you don’t write, but you make some sort of creative work, and you have a creative idea or problem that you need help thinking through. Or, maybe you just need feedback on a song or series of artworks. Or, maybe you need help developing your artist statement. Think of it as developmental editing for artists and musicians. This includes looking or listening to what you send me and one or more 30 or 60 minute Google Hangout/Skype workshopping sessions. This starts at $100/hour.

If English isn’t your first language, I’m happy to help you polish your prose. However, it’s best to             do a free email consult to see if I’m a good fit for your needs.


  • Dissertation, Thesis, or other big student work: I’ll help you navigate the process–proposal, defense, etc.–and do developmental editing. This includes both reading your work and virtual consultation. We can negotiate specifics, but the base package here is one read-through with extensive comments and a one-hour virtual consult. For a doctoral dissertation the cost is $300, due in installments. We can add additional read-throughs and virtual consultations. This is the student rate (no further discounts). Shorter works like MA or Honors theses will be pro-rated from the doctoral rate.
  • Job Applications/Job Market: There’s so much conflicting advice about how to work the academic job market, it can be really confusing to know what YOU should do. I’ve been both a candidate and a search committee member, so I can answer your questions, give you concrete advice, and look over your application materials. We’ll negotiate a package suited to your needs, whether it’s a quick read of your cover letter or more extensive coaching about the overall process.
  • Tenure & Promotion Files: Applying for tenure is a high-stress, high-stakes thing. Whether you need help crafting and strategizing your personal narrative, interpreting institutional guidelines, a set of eyes from someone outside your discipline to read your file as your dean or college/university committee would, or just advice from someone who’s committed to your success, I can coach you through the tenure & promotion process. I’ve obviously done this myself, and I’ve chaired my department’s tenure & promotion committee, so I know what these committees expect and how you can make their job as easy as possible. We can negotiate a package to meet your needs.
  • Book Proposals: I’ve published with both academic and trade presses. If you need help navigating the book publishing process, either by itself or in addition to developmental editing, I’ll guide you through it. We can negotiate a package to meet your needs.


  • Need assistance with something I haven’t listed here, and you think I’m the person to give you that help? Send me an email and we’ll see if I’m your person.


Because I commute to work between Connecticut and North Carolina, I regularly fly with a small dog who comes in the cabin with me. I offer Skype/Google Hangout/FaceTime consultations for best practices and hacks to make both you and your dog comfortable on a flight. I have tips about carriers and other products, as well as non-pharmacological ways to calm your dog while in air. This summer, I hope to compile a guidebook for purchase. $25 for a 15 minute consult, $50 for half an hour.