Take free career test
$56k $56k
117k 117k
-5.3% -5.3%
3.9/5 3.9/5
Bachelors Bachelors

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.

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.

How to Become an Editor

Think you might be interested in becoming an Editor? Here are your next steps.

  1. Take the Sokanu Career Test

    Would you make a good editor? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

    Take the free career test
  2. Get the Education

    • Delaware Technical Community College-Terry | Dover, DE
      Offers: Certificate
    • Delaware Technical Community College-Stanton/Wilmington | Wilmington, DE
      Offers: Certificate
    • Delaware State University | Dover, DE
      Offers: Bachelors
    • University of Delaware | Newark, DE
      Offers: Associates, Bachelors
    • Goldey-Beacom College | Wilmington, DE
      Offers: Bachelors
  3. Get Hired
    • Loading jobs...
    View all jobs →

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!

Take the free career test

How to Become an Editor

An editor will spend their time running their eyes over text looking for errors and changes that can be made to better enhance the material. It is extremely important that they have patience and pay attention to every detail. It takes a lot of focus and time to be able to read a document through an editor's eyes and to make it publishable. They need to have an excellent use of language and should be knowledgeable and updated on current affairs. This makes their job easier if they already know a bit about what they are reading. Editors do not need to know every rule about grammar, punctuation or spelling, but they do need to know how to use resources that will help them make those decisions.

An english or journalism degree is recommended in order to get into the publishing world as an editor. A master’s degree is also something that may be considered. Like many careers, editing is something that is learned on the job. Starting at an entry-level position and learning the job by simply doing the job is the best way to move up in a publishing house.

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.



Title Company Location Info

Further Reading

  • A day In The Life Of An Editor bluerosegirls.blogspot.ca

    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...

  • A Day In The Life: Book Editor www.vault.com

    By the time I finished college, I'd already begun selling my short fiction and working as a freelance editor...

  • What Editors Do - Newspaper Editor journalism.about.com

    Just as the military has a chain of command, newspapers have a hierarchy of editors responsible for various aspects of the operation.

  • What Are The Qualifications Of The Editor Of A Newspaper? work.chron.com

    Newspaper editors enjoy writing and are good at it. In fact, many start as newspaper reporters and move up to the editor position.

  • What Do You Major In If You Want To Be A Magazine Editor? everydaylife.globalpost.com

    Communication and journalism majors find work in all areas of publication.

  • Skills A Magazine Editor Needs everydaylife.globalpost.com

    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.

  • Becoming An Editor crazyindustry.blogspot.ca

    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.

Similar Careers

Collections With This Career

Careers for Writers
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
Jobs for people who like Quality Control Analysis
Discover careers that are good for people who like Quality Control Analysis. Read More
Jobs for people who like Writing
Discover careers that are good for people who like Writing. Read More
Jobs for people who like Reading Comprehension
Discover careers that are good for people who like Reading Comprehension. Read More
Careers for Art History majors
The most common careers people pursue after attaining a Art History degree. Read More
Careers For Introverts
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
Careers for English Literature majors
The most common careers people pursue after attaining a English Literature degree. Read More
Careers for Book Lovers
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
Jobs for people who are interested in Creative Writing & Journalism
Discover careers for people who are interested in Creative Writing & Journalism. Read More
Careers for Journalism majors
The most common careers people pursue after attaining a Journalism degree. Read More
Careers for History majors
The most common careers people pursue after attaining a History degree. Read More
Careers for ADHD
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
Careers for Linguistics majors
The most common careers people pursue after attaining a Linguistics degree. Read More
Careers for Public Relations majors
The most common careers people pursue after attaining a Public Relations degree. Read More

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!

Take the free career test


Become an Editor

Find schools and get information on the program that's right for you (it's fast and free)

STEP 1 of 3