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Monday, October 23, 2017

How to get a Job as an Editor




Anonymous said: Hi September, do you have any suggestions for someone who wants to get into the field of editing but currently has a full-time job (in a not-related field) and can't drop it to take up an internship? Are there other ways to build up experience in hopes of getting a paid editing job? Thank you!

Sure, I have some ideas!

So, I’ve said before, the tricky thing about the writing industry is that there are pretty much never set paths to do something--which can be great, because it means there are many ways to get there, but it can also be bad, because it’s hard to figure out what will work. Also, keep in mind that because there are so many different paths, a different person in the industry may have very different opinions than me, but I speak from my own perspective and experiences of course.

I’m not sure how involved you are in the writing community, but I’d start with getting active in the writing community outside of your work time obviously. Often you can find writing groups or events in your area, but you can also join online groups. I realize this is a question about editing--but who are you going to be doing editing work for? Other writers. You can also look at going to conferences and conventions.

Like most things in the writing world, a lot of the education is something you need to take the initiative to do yourself. I don’t know where you are at in the area, but definitely start learning about writing and storytelling (I’m assuming you want to do fiction editing). There are different types of editing, but the two big ones are content editing and line editing. I’d suggest working at learning how to do both. There is also proofreading, which is one of the last edits, if not the last edit, where the editor goes through and fixes typos, dropped words, misspellings, punctuation errors, things like that. Learn what makes a good story, how to fix a broken one, and learn all the grammar and punctuation rules too.

To get better at editing, probably the best thing to do is to start reading unpublished fiction (in addition to the published fiction you've read). Joining a good writing or critique group would be great for this. Maybe you don’t participate by writing, but you participate by reading and giving feedback. Obviously the more you do this, the better you’ll get at developing an eye for what works and what doesn’t.

Being involved in the writing community is also helpful because it helps you network. I hate thinking about the concept of “networking,” but really, in the writing industry, it’s not that hard. Just start meeting and interacting with people in the writing community and industry. You don’t need to be desperate, just friends. Networking/friendships can lead to other opportunities, and other people telling others about you.

As you start learning and growing and gaining experience and getting better at critiquing and editing, you might want to ask for a few testimonials or endorsements from people you have worked with, or make a list of solid references.

From there, you have two paths. You can start looking for editing positions at publishers, and try for those, or you can try doing freelance editing. You can even try for both. Thank heavens for the internet, because it’s revolutionized the freelancing world. Build a nice freelance website--and you can look at other editors’ sites to see how they did theirs. If this is your first job in the industry, you might want to start at like $10-15 per hour, and then work on getting some clients. As you get better and better and your business grows, you can increase what you charge. Unless you are a celebrity in the writing world, the top editors hit their ceiling at $60 per hour. I’m sure like any business, this takes a lot of work, because it’s all on you to find your clients, market yourself, etc.

You do not need an English degree to become an editor--but you need to have a lot of same expertise that someone with an English degree has. You can take the initiative to learn that on your own, or you can consider taking a journey through an English program at a University, and maybe getting a degree. I have an English degree, and I know other editors who have degrees also.

On a final note, I wanted to say thank you to everyone who helped my with my Thunderclap campaign! With your help, I was able to reach my goal, and I have had plenty of visits to my new editing website at FawkesEditing.com.  If you haven't shared it yet, I'd appreciate it if you did. If you haven't looked at it yet, click here and check it out. Thank you!


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