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From academic journals and magazines to advertisements and movie scripts, various fields require editors to ensure written materials are of the highest quality. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that most editors work full time and face strict deadlines, and their median pay, as of 2010, is roughly $51,000 a year. If you plan on breaking into the editing field, it’s important to know the various types of editing positions and their responsibilities.
Copy editors improve written works by keeping a watchful eye on the text's spelling, grammar, format and overall style. In addition to proofreading the text for common errors, a copy editor may also need to fact check the material for erroneous information. When working for newspapers or magazines, copy editors may work alongside photographers or page designers to create a suitable page layout for the text. So, in addition to a sharp eye for detail, a well-rounded copy editor must also have a sense of style.
An editor-in-chief, or executive editor, is often in command of a publication, such as a newspaper, magazine or publishing company. Depending on the size of the company, the editor-in-chief may fill the same roles as a copy editor; however, in most cases, the editor-in-chief plays a more managerial role. Duties such as building the editorial team, assigning writers and editors to specific projects and approving final drafts are part of an executive editor’s regular responsibilities.
Developmental editors are common in the publishing industry, where they offer to help writers restructure manuscripts. Most of a developmental editor's tasks revolve around content editing. For example, he may suggest that the writer remove or relocate chapters, expand upon sections of the manuscript or even handle character development in different ways. In the absence of a line editor or copy editor, the developmental editor may also examine the manuscript on a sentence level, checking for spelling and grammar errors.
Acquisitions editors, or commissioning editors, are essentially the gatekeepers within a publishing company. Their job is to review submitted material and then send the approved scripts onto the other levels of editing. If the company doesn’t receive a large amount of submissions, the acquisitions editor’s job may involve finding contributors. According to YourFutureJob.com, this part of the job will require great communication skills as it involves reaching out to potential writers.
Mitch Reid has been a writer since 2006. He holds a fine arts degree in creative writing, but has a persistent interest in social psychology. He loves train travel, writing fiction, and leaping out of planes. His written work has appeared on sites such as Synonym.com and GlobalPost, and he has served as an editor for ebook publisher Crescent Moon Press, as well as academic literary journals.