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How difficult is it to find a job in publishing that allows you to afford the cost of living in New York?

I have always wanted to be an editor, however my concern now is in being capable of comfortably supporting myself. This newfound concern has led me to question whether my choice path will be realistic enough to pursue. writing editing books publishing magazines new-york newspapers

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Kate’s Answer

Hi Emily,

This is a great question - it's definitely good to be thinking about cost of living when you're considering different careers!

You're correct that the cost of living in NYC is very high and publishing is not a high-paying industry. It could definitely be financially challenging to work in that field in NYC. However, there are editor jobs in other areas in addition to publishing, including nonprofit and other types of for-profit companies. For example, I used to work for a human rights nonprofit which had an editor position; that person edited all written materials that the organization put out, including website content, printed materials, blog posts, emails, and newsletter articles. She also uploaded new content to our website, wrote articles, managed the newsletter and annual report production process, and sometimes filled in on social media. If you're open to considering editing jobs in various industries, that would definitely help. Of course, it would also help if you might consider moving to another area to work - but it's definitely possible to be an editor in NYC!

I would suggest that in addition to working on your writing and editing skills, you also:
1) search for editor job descriptions on websites like or, so that you can see what qualifications are required and what specific tasks you'd be doing, and
2) seek experience with social media, website updates, the print production process, graphic design, or other areas which could be part of an editor or communications job and which are interesting to you.

If you are able to do internships, volunteer work, or school activities which relate to editing and writing, this will really increase your chances of finding a job in editing or a related area, as well.

Good luck!


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Stefania’s Answer

Hi Emily,

Your question is a very valid one and probably one that affects anyone living in NYC and starting at entry level in many different industries. First, know it's not impossible. If your heart is set on the publishing world, then you should pursue that route. I would start by checking both job search sites (,, etc) to get a feel for what offering and requirements may be, and pay offerings. Secondly, I'd check to get an idea of what entry level salaries may look like in NYC. Finally, consider where you'd want to live. Queens or New Jersey areas just outside the city are more affordable and only a hop, skip and jump away from the city by subway.

I lived in NYC for many years (lived in Queens, but worked in Manhattan) and started my career there as an entry level media research professional at an ad agency. Oddly enough, I ended up writing newsletters and it eventually led to other editorial/content management positions in other types of companies and industries. Publishing is an obvious route, but don't dismiss other potential avenues. Consider what is it about being an "editor at a publishing company" that you like? Is it the culture? Is it because there is an inner author in you and you are a lover of books? Or is it that you like to write/edit? If it's the third option, there are MANY ways to be an editor today. For instance, most websites hire content marketing firms to help populate blogs or social media presence (google a few content marketing agencies) to get a feel for what they might involve.

Good Luck , hope this was helpful!

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Susan E.’s Answer

New York is a pretty tough market and an expensive place to live. Are you sure you want to start there? Why not start in your hometown first to see if this is kind of career you want? It could take you a while to get a good reputation in New York

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Brian’s Answer


Most entry-level positions in NY, not just those for editing, are going to be challenging in terms of making ends meet. To get a sense for what you're in for, browse through some of the web sites that list salary ranges for the region such as Glassdoor. Then take a look at some real estate sites and see what the average rental rates are in the area, as that will more than likely be your largest monthly expense.

After someone has revived you, start planning ways that you'll be able to get by on less. As has been mentioned in other answers, living in NYC proper is expensive--Manhattan will be at the apex of cost, the boroughs less so, and rates getting less astronomical the further out you go. Similarly, getting a place all to yourself may not be realistic, at least not at first--you'll probably want to split a place with at least one other person. And aside from taking care of your basic necessities (e.g., eating), a lot of your other expenses should be prioritized accordingly.

But while living and working in NY is challenging, it's far from impossible. People are doing it right now!