What Do Editors Do Anyway?
When I got my first job as an editor, I had no idea the kinds of things I would be doing. Nor did I have a clue how hard it would be to answer this question.
What is it that editors do? And what’s a proofreader?
When I’m asked in passing, my answer is usually not too helpful.
I tell my mother-in-law I write mystery novels and that the proofreader checks that the solution really works.
Then I quickly change the subject. Explaining what editors do is like trying to tell a nonblogger about blogging.
The secret is that editors edit about 35% of the time. They also write, rewrite, check changes, go to meetings, discuss with authors, writers, and other editors, problem solve, and work with illustrators, photographers, and designers, among a variety of other things, such as keeping track of the incredible paper trail a single volume can create.
On top of that not every editor does the same kind of editing. Quite frankly it’s a bit of a wonder that other editors can explain exactly what it is we all do.
Still, if you’re looking to publish a work with your name on it, you’ll want a professional editor to look the piece over for you. It’s a matter of credibility — for you and your brand.
So maybe knowing a little more about editors —
More than just the fact that editors were good at term papers in high school.
— isn’t such a bad idea.