How To Become An Editor To Become A Better Author

BY Jackie Pearce | Feb 21, 2023 | Writing

If you've ever wondered how to become an editor, you've come to the right place.

Editing is a great option as either a side hustle or even as a full-time gig. If you're reading this article on this site, you most likely have a passion for becoming an author and editing on the side can help you get there.

Not only can it help you improve your writing and grammar skills, it can also help you improve every book you write.

When you can easily spot errors and problems in other people's writing, it's easier to edit your own writing and make it better than before. It's a great option for people just trying to get their foot in the door of the publishing industry in general and network with fellow writers.

Editing is also a good way to make extra cash since there are endless authors and publications that need help with editing.

We will be going over the basics of what editors do, what skills you will need to improve, and how you can start your path today.

What Do Editors Do?

Now, editing is a general term for a lot of responsibilities, but in general it will be your job to make sure writing is error-free, free of any issues, and flows well together.

Depending on where you work or the clients you work with, how in-depth your editing will be is up for debate.

You might only be catching grammar errors or you might be deeply involved with the editing of the pieces to make sure all of the paragraphs and chapters are in the right place.

It might also depend on how comfortable you feel editing at a deeper level or how much time you have to dedicate to editing.

What Kind of Editing Can You Do?

Of course, you can just be a general editor, but you might choose to specialize in a few different areas, depending on the work you like to do.

You could choose to specialize by industry, genre, type of writing, and type of editing (such as copy editing or proofreading).

If you're doing freelance work, you can set your own guidelines, but if you're looking for an editing job you will need to do whatever it is they request.

Skills Needed to Be An Editor

While a college degree in English, communications, or journalism can help you as an editor, it's not always a necessary requirement.

More than anything, you need to know the rules around basic editing and all of the grammar rules that go with it.

Of course, if you want to make it your career you might want to sign up for different training courses and educational opportunities to expand your skill set and knowledge.

Is Editing A Good Side Hustle As An Author?

If you're here on this website, there's a high chance you are interested in book publishing. Doing some editing on the side can be a great way to make some extra money and also improve your writing skills in general.

It also give you the chance to connect with other writers and possibly meet new people in the industry.

When you're simply writing, you are usually focusing on your own sentences and storyline, but editing sharpens your other skills and gives you a way to make sure your own writing is top-notch.

If you choose to do some editing on the side, when you come back to your own book later on, you will find that it's much easier to do than usual.

You might even pick up some new techniques and skills to bring to your own writing to make it even better.

How to Become An Editor

Now that you know what it entails, you are probably wondering how you can get started as an editor.

This isn't a full step-by-step guide, as your path might look different than other people's, based on your past work experience and education, but this is a good general guide to follow to get started.

This is also written with the angle of doing it on the side as an author instead of a full guide on building your whole career as an editor.

Of course, there is some overlap between the two, but it's just so you know.

Getting experience

First and foremost, you'll need to get experience as an editor.

You might want to find an internship, do some freelance work, or find a group full of authors and volunteer your services.

If you are still in school, you most likely have a school newspaper you could work at to get your foot in the door.

You might also want to network with professional editors to get a feel of what they do day in and day out. This can give you a deeper look at what the profession requires and what you need to do to become an edit where people give you their writing to fix.

You might want to consider signing up for an editing class or attend a workshop to start learning what it takes to be a successful editor.

Niche down

It will be up to you if you want to niche down or not, but picking a certain type of book, genre, or style to edit can help you stand out as an editor.

This will also help if you want to become known in an industry.

This is not a required step if you just want to be a standard editor, but it's something to consider. You sometimes can also be paid more if you focus on a certain niche compared to being a general editor.

Outreach and networking

Whether you're just freelance editing on the side or taking it seriously for work, you will need to network.

Clients will rarely come to you and instead you'll have to get out there to find them.

If you develop a relationship with people who need editors, you not only will find work but it will keep you up to date with what's happening in the publishing industry.

As you work on your skills, you will want to keep track of your portfolio pieces so you have something to show people as you network with them.

You could simply start by asking people in your network if they know anyone who needs an editor. That is where you will likely get your first clients before you start to get more clients.

Keep track of your work

As you start to work with clients or when you gain experience, you will want to keep track of what you work on and the results of it.

Building a portfolio will help you in the future when it comes to getting clients.

When possible, keep client reviews and how they like working with your or your overall results. Future clients will love to see not only past projects but also how writers liked working with you.

Keep learning and growing

As you continue to grow with your editing skills, you will want to keep up with what is happening in the editing industry or if there are new techniques you can use.

This will not only improve your work with your clients, but it will also make your own books even better.

What To Do Next

Ready to take your publishing journey seriously? You will want to check out this quiz to get you started:

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