Welcome to our guide on how to become an editor!
In this guide, we’ll cover the different types of editing, provide tips and strategies for getting started in the field, and discuss the differences between freelance and staff editor roles.
Editing is a rewarding career that requires strong language skills and attention to detail.
Whether you want to work as a freelance editor or pursue a more traditional job with a publishing house, it’s important to understand the different types of editing that exist.
Different types of editing require different levels of knowledge and expertise, so it’s important to choose one that fits your skill set.
By following this guide you’ll be well-equipped with all of the knowledge you need to launch your career as an editor!
- Different Types of Editing
- Areas of Editing
- Staff vs. Freelance Editing Routes
- How to Break Into Editing
- Wrapping Up
Different Types of Editing
Editing is a wide and varied field with quite a few different avenues to specialize in.
A professional line editor is a type of editor who works with authors to improve the clarity, accuracy, and consistency of their writing.
Line editors are tasked with reviewing manuscripts for typos and grammatical errors, ensuring that facts and figures are accurate, making suggestions for structural improvements, and ensuring that the text flows smoothly.
The goal of a line editor is to help make an author’s work as close to perfect as possible while still maintaining their original voice.
A developmental editor is an editor who specializes in working with authors to help them develop their writing.
The developmental editor works closely with the author to create a cohesive story, identify and strengthen the main themes, refine characters and plot points, determine appropriate pacing and structure, and ensure clarity of language and overall readability.
In addition, they also resolve any inconsistencies or technical issues with grammar or syntax, fact-check research materials for accuracy, provide feedback on content and style, as well as suggest strategies for marketing the work.
Copy and Content Editors
A professional copy and content editor is responsible for ensuring that all written content is accurate, well-written, and grammatically correct.
They are responsible for making sure that the text adheres to the style guide of the company, as well as checking for accuracy and consistency throughout the text.
The editor will also be expected to work with writers to ensure that their copy meets the desired standards.
They may need to come up with editorial solutions when needed and make suggestions on how best to improve a piece of writing.
Additionally, they may review incoming material from other sources such as press releases or other marketing materials in order to ensure that it meets quality standards before publication.
A proofreader is responsible for examining written materials to ensure accuracy, clarity, and readability.
This can include books, magazines, websites, marketing materials, and other written documents.
Proofreaders must have an excellent eye for detail and a strong understanding of grammar and punctuation rules to identify potential errors or inconsistencies.
In addition to finding spelling mistakes or typos in text, proofreaders also check for incorrect facts or formatting.
Areas of Editing
Along with the different types of editing work, there are also a variety of career paths that you can pursue in the editing world.
Books and Publishing
An editor at a publishing house is responsible for reviewing and evaluating submitted manuscripts, making recommendations to authors on how to improve their work, copyediting the material, organizing the book’s structure, researching potential markets for the book, negotiating contracts with authors and agents, overseeing production of the book from manuscript to print form.
Editors are also typically responsible for selecting titles that are suitable for publication as well as managing budgets and schedules.
Blogs and Websites
Online blogs and websites need editors to guarantee the quality of content and accuracy of information.
Editors ensure that all posts meet the standards of grammar, style, and accuracy.
They also review each post for typos, formatting errors, SEO, and factual inaccuracies.
They also help to develop a consistent voice for the website or blog in order to create a cohesive brand identity.
Finally, editors can identify opportunities for improvement within website or blog posts as well as provide constructive feedback to writers in order to help them improve their work in the future.
News and Journalism
News and journalism publications need editors to ensure the accuracy, objectivity, and quality of their content.
Editors review stories for grammar, spelling, punctuation, tone, style, and factual accuracy.
They also help reporters develop story ideas that are interesting and relevant to readers.
They provide valuable feedback on structure and organization of stories as well as offer insight into potential legal issues that might arise from their publication.
Ultimately, editors play an essential role in ensuring the integrity of news and journalism publications by helping produce accurate information that is both engaging and informative for readers.
Academic and Technical
Students and businesses need academic and technical editors to ensure the accuracy, clarity, and flow of their written work.
Academic editors can help students with their papers, articles, dissertations, theses, or any other written project.
They are trained in academic writing conventions such as grammar and style rules as well as formatting conventions.
Technical editors have expertise in a particular field such as engineering or medicine; they can help businesses create clear documents that are free from errors.
Staff vs. Freelance Editing Routes
Working as a staff editor typically involves being employed full-time or part-time by an organization, such as a publishing house, magazine, or newspaper.
This work often requires editing multiple pieces of content at once and meeting strict deadlines for each piece.
Staff editors may also be responsible for managing other editors and providing feedback to writers.
Freelance editing is generally done on a contractual basis with individual clients or organizations.
Freelance editors are usually hired on a project-by-project basis and have more flexibility in terms of the types of projects they take on and the hours they work.
They are also responsible for their own marketing and promotion to find new clients, as well as managing their own time and workloads so that deadlines can be met while still giving each project the highest quality of attention possible.
How to Break Into Editing
Follow these steps to launch your new editing career.
Read a Lot and Write a Lot
Reading and writing are essential skills for editors.
It is important for an editor to have a strong grasp of the English language and to be able to read quickly and accurately.
Editors must understand how to craft sentences, paragraphs, and entire documents in a way that is concise, accurate, and clear.
Editors need to be able to write effectively so they can provide feedback on written work.
Reading extensively helps editors develop an understanding of the different styles of writing used in various publications as well as knowledge of current trends in the publishing industry.
Earn Your Degree or Certificate
If you plan on going the staff editing route, you will almost certainly need a degree in English, literature, journalism, communication, or a related field.
If you’d rather start out as a freelancer, than you can get away without a degree, but you will greatly benefit from taking professional editing courses and earning a certificate from a reputable source, such as Coursera or Udemy.
Here are five ways you can initially start building experience so you can get a job as an editor:
- Take classes and gain formal education: Taking courses in editing, writing, and grammar can help you understand the fundamentals of the craft and give you a better understanding of how to execute your skills.
- Get an internship: Internships provide hands-on experience that can help you develop your skills in editing while giving you exposure to the industry.
- Volunteer: Volunteering to edit for small organizations or publications is a great way to gain experience without getting paid. You’ll learn valuable lessons about editing while also building relationships with potential employers or colleagues in the field.
- Join professional organizations: Professional organizations offer opportunities for networking, attending conferences, and taking specialized classes related to editing that will help expand your knowledge base and give you more job opportunities in the future.
- Apply for entry-level positions: Once you have some basic experience under your belt, start applying for entry-level jobs as an editor at various media companies or publishing houses so that you can gain more practical work experience in a professional setting.
Establish A Niche and Portfolio
Focusing on a niche and building a professional portfolio as an aspiring editor is important because it helps you to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
It also allows potential employers to quickly and easily identify who you are and what you can bring to the table.
A professional portfolio showcases your skills, experience, qualifications, and work samples in one place so employers can quickly determine if they want to hire you or not.
Having a well-defined niche allows editors to specialize in specific areas of expertise which may be highly sought after by certain employers or publications, like academic or technical writing.
Becoming an editor requires a combination of knowledge, skills, and dedication.
Editors must be able to offer thoughtful critique, communicate effectively, and work independently.
If you have the necessary qualifications, taking on the role of an editor can be a rewarding experience that offers job satisfaction and professional growth.
Do you have extra tips for starting an editing career? Let us know in the comments!