How Can I Become an Editor for a Publishing Company?

Find out how to become an editor for a publishing company, including what education and experience is needed to enter the field. Learn about editorial responsibilities, as well as how much you can earn in this position. Schools offering Children`s Book Illustration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does an Editor For a Publishing Company Do?

Editors who work at publishing companies are in charge of reading and making changes to authors' work, requiring them to have both impeccable grammatical skills and an intuitive feel for writing in general. Authors submit manuscripts to publishing houses, and when they have been accepted for publication, editors read through them to check for mistakes, awkward phrasings and inconsistencies. Editors may also read through submitted manuscripts to decide which ones will be considered for publication. Editing is a crucial step in the publishing process - no book makes it to print before being thoroughly vetted by an editor. Depending on your prior experience and level of expertise, you may be a head editor with a team behind you or one of many junior or assistant editors working under someone else.

What Are the Job Duties of an Editor at a Publishing Company?

As an editor in the publishing industry, you wear many hats. You edit writers' work by reviewing, rewriting and making suggestions for changes. You may also assist with the planning process for future publications. This may involve attending editorial meetings, brainstorming ideas, planning content, creating layouts, approving proposals and hiring writers. You may also be required to do some writing, though it will typically be a small part of an editing job.

The business side to being an editor requires that you manage the writing team, which may include a staff of full-time writers, contract writers, proofreaders and other writing staff. You may offer assistance, ensure that deadlines are met, monitor progress and conduct employee reviews. You may also be given financial responsibilities such as meeting a budget.

What Education Do I Need?

Employers usually require some type of formal education for editors. Most often a bachelor's degree in English, literature, communications or writing is acceptable. Some employers may require a master's degree for senior editor positions. You need to have excellent English, writing, communication and research skills. If you are interested in working in a specialty niche, additional training in that area is helpful. For example, if you wish to work for a publishing company that publishes medical textbooks then formal training or experience in the medical field provides you with an advantage and may be required by employers.

Experience is equally as important as education in the editorial sphere. Employers usually prefer editors who are published writers; many available editorial positions ask that only seasoned writers with prior experience apply. You should develop a portfolio that showcases your writing skills. The Internet offers numerous opportunities to become a published author such as publishing your own blog or submitting articles to websites for publication.

What Is My Earning Potential?

You may work with a publishing company as an employee or independent contractor. Most editors at a publishing company start as a junior editor and advance to senior editor positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2015, editors earned a mean annual salary of $56,010 (www.bls.gov). Salary.com reported that as of December 2016, the median annual salary for an editor was $64,265. According to PayScale.com in October of 2016, editors earned a median salary of $49,332.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you want to become an editor, there are many editorial positions that can be found outside of publishing houses, such as for magazines and periodicals. If you are more interested in writing than editing, then you may also want to consider becoming a professional writer or author. This will involve you creating original content for publication as a book, in magazines, for newspapers or for online websites, whereas editors working for publishing houses will rarely get the opportunity to write their own material. Becoming a journalist or news reporter is another similar option. If you have a keen eye for detail and a competent level of knowledge in a highly technical field, you could also become a technical writer. These professionals produce informative and accurate copy for their clients in order to fill manuals, websites, instructions and other content intended to inform readers.

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