How To Become An Editor In 2024: Beginner’s Guide

Jan 15, 2024 | Personal Development, Professional development

If you are passionate about reading, writing, and just making sentences better and are wondering how to become an editor in 2024, You’re in the right place.

Ever catch yourself lost in a story, wondering how the magic of words comes together? That’s the job of an editor. While the author creates the words, an editor makes them come to life and make sense.

This guide is your companion on becoming an editor, helping you weave your love for language into a fulfilling profession in print, media, or online work.

Ready to take the first step? Let’s go into the nitty-gritty details of how to become an editor this year.

What Does A Book Editor Do?

A book editor is a watchdog of written words. These professionals ensure that books meet industry standards and leave a lasting impression on readers. It’s a role that demands a sharp eye, a deep appreciation for storytelling, and a commitment to transforming raw manuscripts into literary gems. Book editing might come more naturally to some, but to refine your skills, you can take courses on how to become an editor for books.

To provide more context, picture this:

A manuscript arrives on your desk; what’s the next step? As a book editor, your role is not just fixing typos. You’re the architect of storytelling, the one who transforms a good story into a literary masterpiece.

You take a microscopic look at the manuscript to understand the author’s voice, the nuances of the plot, and the heartbeat of each character. It’s more than grammar and punctuation; it’s about refining the narrative flow and ensuring the story resonates with its intended audience.

Editing Vs Proofreading

Editing and proofreading are two sides of the same coin. Let’s take a closer look.

Editing is all about crafting the narrative. As an editor, you’re reshaping paragraphs for maximum impact, ensuring characters are vivid, dialogue resonates, and the plot unfolds seamlessly. It’s a creative journey where you breathe life into words, transforming a manuscript into a captivating experience. Whether it’s a novel or a motivational book, the goal of an editor is for the words on the pages to resonate with the intended audience.

On the other hand, proofreading is the final check, where every comma, period, and spelling error is closely examined. The role of proofreading is to catch those elusive typos, ensuring the manuscript comes out clean. It is fine precision that guarantees the manuscript meets the highest standards of grammatical clarity and correctness.

How To Become An Editor Without A Degree – 7 Easy Steps

Nothing stops you from learning how to become an editor for books or how to become an editor at a publishing house without a degree.

Although having a journalism degree is advantageous and can propel your career, it can be quite expensive. You can take an editing and publishing course to start your journey as an editor, whether for books, media, or online platforms.

Here’s a clear roadmap to begin your journey as an editor or publisher.

1.   Start Reading And Writing A Lot

The famous quote by Richard Branson says, “The best way of learning anything is by doing”. This fully applies if you want to learn how to become an editor. You start by reading more with a keen eye, and writing becomes your ally. You can start by immersing yourself in written words. Read voraciously across genres and absorb diverse writing styles. With writing, craft your narratives, experiment with different tones, and learn from the process. This is how to build a solid foundation for an editing career.

2.   Take An Editing And Publishing Course

While a traditional degree might not be your path, specialized courses in editing and publishing can be your shortcut to gaining expertise. Editing and publishing courses allow you to dive into practical exercises, working on actual manuscripts and projects. These online courses often include insights from industry professionals. You don’t just learn from textbooks; you take on the experiences of those who have navigated the editorial field successfully. It’s a chance to understand the varying modulations of the profession from those who’ve walked the path—also, the certificate you receive after the course authenticates your career as a professional editor.

Explore the best courses in publishing and editing here.

3.   Get An Internship To Practice Your Skills

When you’re just starting, many employers may not be keen on giving you full employment as an editor, but you still need to gain experience. A great place to start is through internships, even if they are unpaid initially. Practical exposure sharpens your skills and builds a network within the industry. It’s your chance to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios and gain insights that no classroom can provide.

4.   Choose a Niche.

When it comes to becoming an editor, choosing a niche isn’t just a suggestion; it’s a strategic move that can redefine your career trajectory. You can decide whether to work as a book editor, in journalism, or online. Niching down transforms you from a generalist to an expert and lets you focus on building the specific skills needed in your chosen field. For example, you can build skills to learn how to become an editor at a publishing house. When you choose a niche aligned with your interests, editing stops being a job; it becomes a journey you genuinely enjoy.

5.   Freelance

Freelancing allows you to control how you work and who you work with. It creates flexibility in your work field. As an editor, you can offer your editorial services independently and work on diverse projects. It’s a chance to build a portfolio while exploring different niches. As you grow as a freelancer, so does your reputation, and it opens doors to more significant opportunities. Several websites allow you to sign up as a freelance editor and define your profile to your specific niche. Some websites you can explore are Upwork and Fiverr.

6.   Build Your Portfolio

Your portfolio is your professional showroom. This is the best way to showcase your versatility and style to people meeting you for the first time. Put together your best works, including edited articles, refined manuscripts, or polished online content on a document or website.

A compelling portfolio speaks louder than a degree because it demonstrates your capabilities and shows experience to potential clients or employers.

7.   Network As You Grow

In most industries, networking is a secret weapon to get around. It shows competence and allows people to know you enough to vouch for you professionally. You can start building your network by attending industry events, connecting with fellow editors online, and engaging with online communities for editors. Remember the saying, “Your network is your net worth.” It isn’t always about the numbers but the quality of people in your network. A great network introduces you to opportunities and mentors who can provide guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to become an editor with no experience

You can become an editor or publisher without experience by taking an online editing and publishing certificate course at Australian College.

How much do editors make?

Managing Editors can make up to $107,000 annually. However, the majority of salaries range from $50,000 to $72,500.

Can you learn editing by yourself?

Yes, You can sign up for an editing and publishing course to learn all you need to know about the career path.

Final Thoughts – How to Become an Editor

Becoming an editor is more than a career choice; it’s a commitment to the power of words. Whether you work to shape narratives as a book editor, crack the truth as a journalist, or in the digital realm as an online content editor, each learning step gets you closer to learning the craft.

As an editor, every edit refines not just a manuscript but also your expertise; hence, becoming an editor is a continuous growth process.

Sign up for a flexible online editing and publishing course at Australian College, get your certificate, and begin a fulfilling Editing or Publishing career.

Enrol Now

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