One day my boss at the publishing house where I worked asked me, “Would you be interested in following a production editor's career path?”
“I don’t think I have the patience for it,” I told him. "And I'd prefer to stick with the path I'm on."
Why did I make that decision? I liked what I was doing—editorial process management. I worked with editors, interacted with other disciplines like sales, marketing, production, and design, and created workable publishing plans for books and Bibles. I also wasn't sure I had the patience to sit at a computer all day . . . yet. I was enjoying learning about nearly every aspect of traditional publishing.
Eventually, I was an executive managing editor, supervising coworkers in both editorial and marketing-related positions along the way.
But again, that didn’t mean I didn’t want to edit full-time at some point. I did! I took an editing course and did well. I soaked up everything I could from the experienced and skilled editors I worked with, in both production and acquisition. At one time I led an in-house team that provided editing services to the PR, sales, and marketing teams as well as to the company's CEO, and I tackled some of that work myself. I trained editorial assistants. And I loved all those aspects of my job and those experiences. In addition, I was permitted to freelance edit books on a non-compete basis.
Fast-forward to 2011, and it was time to not only move closer to family in another state, which in those pre-pandemic days meant giving up my long-time job, but to…wait for it…sit at a computer most of every day. I was finally ready to edit full-time; I do have the patience for it!
I launched Bloom in Words Editorial Services in fall of 2011, and I love it. I continue to learn—to "become"—through each experience, by reading books on writing and editing, by occasionally attending writers' conferences, and from in-house editors who send me projects. And all those years learning so much about not just editorial but also marketing processes in publishing makes a difference in relating to publishing professionals now.
I’m sometimes asked how to become an editor. The path is different for everyone. Mine launched when I was given a temporary job at a publishing house that turned into a decades-long career.
But this is my advice today: start by searching the internet with phrases like How to become an editor. You’ll find scores of articles. And if you want to take some courses, look for sites like The Christian Pen.
If you have an aptitude for editing (or proofreading, a great way to start), I believe you will uncover it with every effort and opportunity you take.
photo image: https://publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=150062&picture=laptop-man