Become a Professional Editor or Proof Reader
This course provides a solid foundation to become a freelance editor, or to seek work as a proof reader.
Good editors are always in demand and with greater access to the internet you can work from virtually anywhere in the world.
Graduates of this course may well start with part time work editing web sites, newsletters or low circulation magazines; but over time (and perhaps with further study) can work up to full time employment as a proof reader, sub editor, book or magazine editor, copy editor, freelance editor, or even publishing assistant or publisher.
Editors work for publications both in house (eg. in a magazine, newspaper or web development office), or outside as contractors (eg. self employed from home).
Alone, this course does not make you a professional editor, but it can lead to valuable career opportunities when combined with other courses that develop your knowledge and skills in publishing and journalism.
Comment from a Student: "With regard to my tutors, I thought they were excellent and gave me great support" - Marlies.
There are 8 lessons in this course:
Introduction to Editing
- The role and scope of editing
- Tools for editing
- Editing skills
- The production process
- An overview; who does what in publishing
The Mechanics of Clear Writing
- Word length
- Consistencies and inaccuracies
- The reader’s report
- Substantive editing
- The author’s responsibilities
- The author/editor relationship
Copy Editing I
- What the copy editor does
- The procedure
- House style
- Style sheets
Copy Editing II
- Marking up
- Parts of a publication
- Editing non-text material
Preparing Copy for Printing
- Type design
- Page layout
- Proof stages
- Proof Reading
The Final Stages
- Checking final proofs
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
- To gain an understanding of the role and scope of editing.
- Explain the importance of clear, effective writing, throughout all stages of the publishing process.
- Describe the procedure of manuscript assessment.
- Describe the procedures used by copy editors.
- Explain procedures used to prepare copy for printing.
- Describe the checks and procedures used in the final stages of preparing and printing publications.
Course Duration - The average student will take around 100 hours to complete all lessons and assignments in this course. You can work at your own pace, when and from where you want.
Editing has always required specific skills. “Highly developed written and verbal communication skills”, “an eye for detail”, “a logical and enquiring mind”, “an ability to meet deadlines”, “a comprehensive knowledge of publication processes” are just some of the skills required in the editing profession.
Today’s editors still need those important foundation skills but, with the advent of computer technology and in the face of increasingly competitive markets, editors must be prepared to diversify, and to acquire a new range of skills. Although today’s editors are still expected to review manuscripts, mark up copy, check proofs, and liaise with writers, printers and publishers, they may also be expected to be highly proficient in a whole range of areas that didn’t exist a decade or two ago.
The minimum ‘new’ skill required by all editors is computer proficiency, mainly in the use of Microsoft Word, email programs and Internet searches, but possibly also in desktop publishing software such as QuarkXpress, Adobe PageMaker, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Editors involved in marketing and sales may also use accounting and spreadsheet software.
Text and graphics, previously supplied as ‘hard copy’, are now submitted as ‘electronic manuscripts’, making the job of editing both easier and more complex. Easier because text does not need to be marked up on a hard copy and re-keyed by a typesetter; harder because the editor and designer have taken over the task of typesetting.
In most cases editors are not directly involved in pre-press design, and would not be expected to be proficient in the use of complex DTP software – in quality publishing this is still the domain of trained graphic artists – but, for effective liaison and supervision of the production process, all editors must be familiar with the capabilities and general operation of the commonly used programs.
Other facets of publishing, such as distribution, stock control, and accounting and finance, also use new, more efficient technologies and, as part of the production team, editors should be aware of how the new systems operate.
The most recent, and certainly the most complex, development is the introduction of multi-media publishing. Still in its infancy, this technology brings together text, video, audio and graphics, stored on CD-ROM or accessed through the Internet. Almost all commercial publishers have a website, but few have successfully ventured into ‘online publishing’, although this will almost certainly change in the near future.
Other areas, old and new, that involve the skills of editors include:
Setting budgets and schedules
Overseeing the production process
Legals – including contracts, copyright clearance and permissions for use of quotations and reproduction of pictures