Five Essential Editorial Skills You Learn in College

So you think you might want to work as an editor in publishing? Hothouse is a great first step towards building up your resume and gaining some pretty awesome experience. But did you know that some of the basic skills you learn in your other classes at UT can be just as valuable to the editing world? Here are five classroom skills that you can take with you in your career as a professional editor.

Research

 

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Although you might not be asked to cite 10 sources and hand in an annotated bibliography, being able to research is an essential skill for any editor. Your boss is always on the lookout for what the next Harry Potter or Hunger Games phenomenon will be, and they will be expecting you to find it by searching every corner of the internet for the next big hit.

Reading

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What do editors do? They read! But while you might think you’ll be spending most of your time reading amazing new books that you’ll be publishing, you’re more likely to end up reading comp titles and manuscripts from the slush pile. Some days all you might do is read, but you’re expected to get through books fast and efficiently. You thought getting through Vanity Fair was hard? Try reading someones re-worked Twilight fanfiction.

Write Reports

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Book reports aren’t just for school. As an editor you’re likely going to be required to write reports on all those lovely fanfictions from the slush pile that you managed to get through. Don’t be discouraged! For every 50 crappy drafts there is always one treasure to be found. It is your job to convince your co-workers to take on those gems and get them on shelves!

PowerPoint Presentations

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Thought you’d be done with PowerPoint after college? Think again! Now that you have found your gem of a novel, it’s time to prove it to everyone else in the company. PowerPoint presentations are key for showing all the potential your beloved manuscript has and why that book needs to be picked up by your publishing house. You are a book’s biggest cheerleader, so think of the PowerPoint as your winning routine!

Group Projects

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The dreaded group project. The editorial world is just one giant group project. For each book there is a team of people behind its design. You’ll have managing editors, designers, artists, copy editors, and other editors working on the same title. As an editor, you’re often acting as team leader, and it is often your responsibility to tell your designers and artists how you want the book to look from the front cover to the very last page. So stop groaning when you hear your teacher say you’ll be doing a group project! Those teamwork skills might just come in handy.

~Holly Rice, Managing Editor

(All images courtesy of Giphy)

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