4 answers

i want to work in an editorial department of a publishing house and I would like to know what majors I should take in college?

Updated Fernley, Nevada

so I know I have 5 years left of school but I just like things planned out and I really want to start looking into the subjects I need to know. From what I've heard I think its communication, english, and journalism? I would like to know which one would fit. Thank you <3 #college

4 answers

Jenna’s Answer

Hi Jennie,

It's great that you're planning ahead and know what you want to do. English is a good major to pursue if you're interested in this career, but it can also be very broad. As you plan your courses at college, you'll want to make sure you choose some electives that will help you specifically in editing. Take as many writing courses as you can within your English major, but you'll also want to be able to interpret and understand what you are editing. What type of editing do you want to do? If you think you'll be editing textbooks, you may want to also take some courses in those subjects. Medical texts (biology, microbiology, anatomy) for example, will have lots of jargon specific to that field so having a base knowledge of those subjects will also help you.

Being a planner myself, I do suggest being open to life happening to you that may change your path. I went to school for English education and assumed that I would teach public school for 35 years in the same school, then retire! That just didn't happen - now I work with international students at the college level and I really love it. As you have various experiences, make sure you're open to changing your plan. Good luck!

Jenna recommends the following next steps:

  • If you aren't already a college student, take a look at a university website and check course plans for what courses an English, Journalism or Communications major has to take and see what appeals to you.

Ashley’s Answer

Hi Jennie,

As others have mentioned to you already, English, Journalism, and Communications are all solid choices for your major if you want a career in editorial work.

I would urge you, though, not to simply focus on your major if you are hoping for a career as an editor. The most important thing is to start getting practical experience through internships at either literary agencies, publishing houses, magazines, etc. I started interning at an agency my freshman year of college and it was so much more insightful into the publishing world than my English classes.

The other important thing is, even outside of your English degree - just read, a lot! If you're interested in being an editor for YA or children's publishing, just for example, make sure you are up to date on the latest books, and know your market. Read the news, read magazines, anything you can get your hands on.

Ashley recommends the following next steps:

  • Read, read, read!

Igal’s Answer

Updated California, California

Editors I've worked with were usually English majors. And that makes sense, because as an English major you'll spend a lot of time focusing on the language and do a lot of writing, and editing of your work and possible that of others.

Communications majors I've know have usually gone into journalism, but not always. Journalism itself is a profession, so it sets you up to be a writer, though of course there editorial positions as well. Journalism majors I've known have gone to work at newspapers or some other publication, sometimes gone to work in television news, or become writers for web-based publications.

I'd call English the most general of those 3, since it can lead to many careers. Journalism is probably the most specific, since it's likely to lead to a writing (reporting) career. Communications is kind of between those 2.

thank you so much for your answer Igal. I very much appreciate it :)

Alexis K.’s Answer

Updated Lexington, Mississippi

The best courses to take to work in an editorial department of a publishing house are Linguistics Literature, journalism and even marketing or business management to know the business side of publishing. But if you already know a lot about how to edit, review and critique books and different genres of literature that is good. You have to know how to be able to interpret what you're reading as well as look for editing mistakes in a written text.

Alexis K. recommends the following next steps:

  • I suggest practicing by looking up book reviewer or editing websites that allow you to be able to edit books now so you can gain experience in the field.