What is an Editor?
Also known as: Production Editor, Line Editor, Developmental Editor, Aquisitions Editor, City Editor, Assignment Editor, Features Editor, News Editor, Sports Editor, Newspaper Copy Editor, Copy Editor.
Table of Contents
An editor is someone who is a critical reader, and a lover of words. They will prepare a client's manuscript for publication by polishing, refining and enhancing it. An editor is seen as a gatekeeper between the writer and audience, and they have to take a dual sided point of view in order to keep both parties happy.
Authors know their stories inside and out and have had a strong relationship with their manuscript for months or sometimes years. Audiences, on the other hand, have no emotional attachment to books that they have not read yet and are quick to judge any novel that they pick up to read.
An editor needs to edit a manuscript from both points of view. Changes that are to be made must feel like the author's authentic voice to keep him or her happy with the new and improved manuscript. The manuscript may also need changes that will keep the audience pulled in and interested for the length of the novel. One of an editor’s many challenges is to find a balance between the two.
What does an Editor do?
An editor supervises a range of functions in a publishing house and has many tasks that need to be accomplished before a book is ready to be launched. When people hear the word “editor” they usually imagine someone who spell checks and is a stickler for grammar. While this is true, a lot more goes into editing a manuscript. When a manuscript is picked for publication there are many alterations and decisions that need to be made before the book can go to print. These alterations are made by different kinds of editors.
The first editor a manuscript goes through is the Acquisitions Editor. This is the editor that picks out the manuscript and decides if it would be a profitable choice for the publishing house. He or she makes a pitch to the house to publish the manuscript and figures out all the budgeting, marketing, and contractual decisions. This editor also facilitates communication between publisher and writer.
When a manuscript has been chosen it may need a heavy amount of editing. This work goes to the Developmental Editor. This editor works very closely with a writer as they try to develop the work to be its best. Content, organization, and presentation are all considered. He or she assists the writer in developing material including characters, setting, and plot, if needed. The editor may suggest additional research to be done to “flesh out” certain parts of the material for clarity and to create better flow. Comments are made on style, structure, and flow of information. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are also checked along with URL links, captions, graphics, footnotes, references, photos, tables, quotes, bibliography, and citations. This type of editing is the most invasive, so the editor works closely with the writer to be sure that he approves changes and the author's original voice is preserved.
Next in line is the Line Editor. They will go through a manuscript line by line and find grammar and spelling errors that compromise the quality of the material. The editor will also make sure that word choice contributes to the overall tone of the book. In some publishing fields the Line Editor and Copy Editor positions are combined into one.
The Copy Editor goes over a manuscript before it is ready for print. He or she will examine the document for inconsistencies in theme, style, and factual information. Permission is checked for copyright material, ensuring there will be no legal conflict. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation are also scanned again. The main purpose of a Copy Editor is to make sure the import of text is clear and will maintain the interest of the reader.
In the home stretch, the edited manuscript goes to the Production Editor who oversees the transition between manuscript and published book. This is the last person to review the material before print. This editor manages the typesetting, artwork, and budgeting and ensures quality is met in all other areas of editing.
Find your perfect career
Would you make a good editor? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!
What is the workplace of an Editor like?
An editor's hours are generally determined by the production schedule, and by the type of editorial position they have.
Advances in electronic communications have changed the work environment for writers and editors alike. Editors are able to do a lot of their editing from their homes, but most salaried editors work in-house, dealing with production deadlines and the pressures of trying to produce accurate work. This is advantageous because they get to learn how the production works from the inside. With experience, editors will know what they can handle and what projects might be too much.
Schedules and budgets are tight in a publishing house so a lot of employers don't want to risk new freelancing editors. They may be less likely to hire someone with no in-house experience.
Erin Brown - Professional Book Editor
Inside Random House: Bringing Our Authors' Books To Life
Newspaper Editor, Career Interview From drkit.org
How A Book Is Made - Episode 3: Editing The Book
The Editing Process, Presented By David Farland
Simon Sinek On Working With A Book Editor To Refine Your Writing
Becoming An Editor
Because it comes up frequently in my various editorial forums, I've decided to put all the tips I have for breaking into the editorial profession in one place.
Skills A Magazine Editor Needs
Magazine editors write articles, commission articles from other writers on subjects the magazine's target audience wants to read about, and edit articles for sense, substance, style and grammatical correctness.
What Do You Major In If You Want To Be A Magazine Editor?
Communication and journalism majors find work in all areas of publication.
What Are The Qualifications Of The Editor Of A Newspaper?
Newspaper editors enjoy writing and are good at it. In fact, many start as newspaper reporters and move up to the editor position.
What Editors Do - Newspaper Editor
Just as the military has a chain of command, newspapers have a hierarchy of editors responsible for various aspects of the operation.
A Day In The Life: Book Editor
By the time I finished college, I'd already begun selling my short fiction and working as a freelance editor...
A day In The Life Of An Editor
I'm a little bit stressed these days--it's been a busy summer that is just going to get busier. So, here’s my typical work day...
Collections With This Career
- Careers for Writers
- Jobs for people who like Quality Control Analysis
- Jobs for people who like Writing
- Jobs for people who like Reading Comprehension
- Careers for Art History majors
- Careers For Introverts
- Careers for English Literature majors
- Careers for Book Lovers
- Jobs for people who are interested in Creative Writing & Journalism
- Careers for Journalism majors
- Careers for History majors
- Careers for ADHD
- Careers for Linguistics majors
- Careers for Public Relations majors
- There are many paths to a writing career that you may not have thought of. The following list is a collection of jobs that involve writing everyday. Read More
- Discover careers that are good for people who like Quality Control Analysis. Read More
- Discover careers that are good for people who like Writing. Read More
- Discover careers that are good for people who like Reading Comprehension. Read More
- The most common careers people pursue after attaining a Art History degree. Read More
- An introvert is a person who is energized by being alone, whose energy is drained by being around other people, and who prefers to focus on one task at a time. Read More
- The most common careers people pursue after attaining a English Literature degree. Read More
- A passion for reading can translate into a career in fields that value your literary penchant. Strong language skills and a love for books lend well to many fast-growing careers. Read More
- Discover careers for people who are interested in Creative Writing & Journalism. Read More
- The most common careers people pursue after attaining a Journalism degree. Read More
- The most common careers people pursue after attaining a History degree. Read More
- People with ADHD need careers where they can think on their feet, be creative problem-solvers, and multitask like crazy. Here are some examples of careers that harness the innate skills and strengths of ADHD minds. Read More
- The most common careers people pursue after attaining a Linguistics degree. Read More
- The most common careers people pursue after attaining a Public Relations degree. Read More