An editor writes, edits and commissions pieces of work in a variety of industries and carry out a variety of tasks. Whatever project you're working on, the final goal is always the same: to improve communication quality. The editor, together with the writer, ensures that a text is suitable for readers, whether in the shape of a news release, report, blog, article, website, book manuscript, blog or news release. In this article, we discuss what it takes to be an editor and how to become one.
How to become an editor
Here are six steps that you can follow to help you become an editor:
1. Earn your bachelor's degree
Editing jobs usually require a college degree and most major in communication, English, or journalism. If you are still pursuing your degree, consider taking modules relevant to editing while you're in school. These modules include composition, proofreading and literary critique. Alternatively, you can pursue classes in the skills above to build your resume.
However, the majors mentioned are not the only ones you can pursue. Most publishing organizations demand an editor with the work ethic and capabilities to generate the work they need. Therefore, a bachelor's degree in a non-editing-related field can suffice.
2. Gain experience
This is something that you can do while pursuing your degree. Signing up to write for your high school newsletter or newspaper can also help you get editing experience if you're still in high school. If you're a college student, seek internship opportunities for the field you want to pursue. An internship in editing allows you to broaden your horizons and get valuable experience in researching, writing and editing.
Doing so will create a network with other editors, making it easier to navigate the professional world and finding a job will be less stressful. Gaining some experience under your belt also gives you that extra edge employers look for, as most jobs now require a certain degree of expertise to be employed.
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3. Acquire skills
Outside of the profession, employers may need specific talents, just like in any other career. These skills include typing computer skills or web content management, which you can gain through classes or certification. These skills are suitable for the editorial position you want to pursue. For example, those interested in radio can take courses in mass communication to meet the job requirements.
4. Find your niche
Choosing an area to specialize in as an editor can help you better understand where you want to go with your career. This may become clearer to you through assessing the skills that come naturally, and the type of work you enjoy working on and reading. As you're starting, try to work in as many sectors as possible and as you are working, observe whether that area is a potential career path for you. Talk to multiple editors in various fields and get their point of view of their work.
The three major categories of literary editing are developmental, copy and proofreading editors. Multiple types of editors arise from these three primary fields, so do your research into what you aim to become.
5. Chase better editing jobs
Once you've gained some broad experience and identified your specialization, it's time to go after that niche work with everything you've got. You may now discover that you have the option of accepting employment that is appropriate to your skill set and aspirations. You should also tailor your applications to the publications where you want to work.
Build your portfolio that will better enhance your editorial skills. You can do this through your own website, where you can showcase your services and skills. This will show clients or any future employers that you are a dedicated professional.
6. Read as much as you can
The most practical and essential thing you can do to prepare for an editorial career is to read. It is best to read articles or pieces of work centred around the type of work you'll pursue. For example, if you want to become a lifestyle magazine editor, subscribe to lifestyle magazines. As a result, you'll get more familiar with the writing style required for your job and the trends that magazine subscribers are interested in reading.
What does an editor do?
Editors prepare information for publication in newspapers, magazines, books and online by planning, revising and coordinating it. They look over story ideas to see what information is most likely to appeal to readers and they make suggestions for improving the product, including headlines and titles.
Editors work in various locations, such as newspaper publishing companies' offices or online freelancing services. Some editors have backgrounds in communication or journalism and do not have an English degree. They get enough experience over time to become proficient in language, spelling and story structure.
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Types of editors and their roles
Different editors have different roles and responsibilities. Here is a list of a few examples:
- Commissioning editor: Known as an acquisition editor, they search articles and books while monitoring trends in the market and seeking concepts, book proposals and authors for the interest of hungry readers. A commissioning editor is who you pitch to if you want your article or book published.
- Developmental editor: A developmental editor helps authors prepare a story for publication. A developmental editor also works to help the editorial team maintain the publication's house style. They also ghostwrite novels and other projects.
- Content editor: Content editors examine all aspects of the writing. They go through the story and adjust where needed. This may be with the characters, setting, or plot, in. publications, whether online or in print, the content editor verifies that the article's scope is appropriate and accurate for the subject and readers. As an editor, your role may involve a firm's marketing strategy when editing an organization's marketing material.
- Copy editor: also called line editors, a copy editor reviews everything and focuses on punctuation, facts, grammar and understands various writing styles.
- Associate editor/a segment editor: Newspapers and magazines usually employ associate editors. With responsibilities similar to an acquisition editor, they find content or articles for publication. Associate editors evaluate material before being published. They frequently collaborate on themes that readers could be interested in and they change the title and content to make it more appealing. When selecting and editing content, they keep the general aim of the newspaper or magazine in mind.
- Chief editor: the chief editor, often known as an executive editor, is the person in control of a piece of content and its narrative. The chief editor inspects the completed work to ensure that it fulfills company requirements before approving its publication. This role requires many years of experience and they typically have the final word on the piece or project.
- Editor-in-chief: The editor-in-chief is usually the person in charge of the company's editing department and other editors. They oversee larger projects and give work to the editing staff. This type of editor is also in charge of maintaining the company's voice and preserving the company's philosophy and objectives.
Editor's duties and responsibilities
Editors prepare information for publication in books, newspapers, periodicals and websites by planning, coordinating and revising it. Editors look over narrative ideas and assess whether the material will appeal to the audience. A single editor may handle all editorial responsibilities in smaller businesses or delegate them to a few others. Editors' responsibilities include:
- Correcting spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors as you read the content.
- Rewriting the text to make it more understandable for readers.
- Verifying facts cited in published literature.
- Examining writer submissions to determine what to publish.
- Assisting writers in making their ideas and stories a success.
- Creating narrative and content concepts under the publication's style and editorial guidelines.
- Making room for the text, images and drawings that go into a story or piece of content.
- Approving the final versions that the staff has submitted.
Related: Understanding Entry-Level Jobs
Frequently asked questions
Here are some questions typically asked about being an editor
Which skills do you need to be an editor?
To qualify as an editor, you need writing, communication, listening and attention to detail abilities. You also need to be curious, meticulous and inventive. You also need to be comfortable working with computers.
What are the typical working hours?
This depends on the type of editor. Freelance editors work for various clients to generate their income, so their working hours vary individually. In-house or employed editors typically work 49 hours per week.
What is the average salary for an editor?
In Canada, the average editor income is $49,586 per year. This figure varies with years of experience and different types of editors and companies.