What are transferable skills and why do you need them? What does it mean to be employable today and in the future?...
- Requires excellent levels of concentration, accuracy, and attention to detail
- Option to become a features writer, chief sub-editor or production editor
- As a freelance copy editor you'll usually work from home and will have more freedom to decide your own hours
As a copy editor you'll prepare text for publication by checking the author's manuscript (or 'copy'). You'll work on books, journal articles and text for brochures, instruction manuals and online publications.
- Correcting spelling, grammar and punctuation errors
- Checking the length of the text fits in with publisher requirements
- Making sure the text is in the right style
- Making sure the meaning of the text is clear
- Checking that references are quoted correctly and pictures have the right captions
- Checking for legal issues like libel or breach of copyright
- Talking to the author about queries or revisions
You'll do most of your work on a computer, but you might also work on a hard copy of the manuscript.
You'll agree your fee with your client. The Society for Editors and Proofreaders suggests minimum hourly rates, but publishers don't have to pay this. As an in-house copy editor, you'll usually work normal office hours, Monday to Friday. Your days may be longer at busy times or when you have tight deadlines.
You'll usually work from home and will have more freedom to decide your own hours. You'll still need to meet publishing deadlines.
This role is ideal for someone with excellent levels of concentration, accuracy, and attention to detail.
There are no set requirements for this role, but many employers prefer you to have a degree. Most subjects are accepted, but a degree in publishing, media or a related subject may give you an advantage. To work in a specialist area, like engineering, employers will prefer you to have a subject-related degree.
It may help if you have paid or unpaid experience in the publishing industry, gained from job shadowing, editing and proofreading student magazines and websites, admin work in a publishing company or working as an editorial assistant. You could start as an editorial assistant in a publishing company and build up your experience of proofreading and text editing. This would also allow you to build a portfolio of work, to showcase your skills to potential employers.
You could also use social media or a website to promote yourself online, build a network of contacts, attend book fairs and join a professional organisation like The Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) or Women in Publishing.
Taking a proofreading or editing course, like the ones offered by The Publishing Training Centre or the Society for Editors and Proofreaders would also increase your chances of a job.
Alternatively, you can work towards this role through an advanced apprenticeship as a publishing assistant or some publishing houses run graduate training schemes and internships.
You could become a features writer, chief sub-editor or production editor. Some sub-editors go freelance.